Good morning! Not trying to answer for Ziff, but I was already here and saw your question so I figured I may as well answer it! No, shortness of breath is not a symptom of H.E. The excess ammonia causes mental changes. It's possible that your Dad might be having a bit of ascites around one or both lungs - it does happen, but this is only a suggestion of a possibility. (Is that even correct wording? Lol) I'm sure they'll check it out when he goes to his appointment. But if it gets any worse - take him to the 'big' hospital, even if you have to drag him. Ok, I know you can't drag him, but you know what I mean.
The problem with waiting too long before doing a paracentesis, is that there is always the chance of bacterial infection setting in. This doesn't happen often, but if someone has a large amount of fluid in the abdomen for a long period of time, it can definitely occur. Usually, a person feels better after draining, not worse. Your Dad had 9 liters drained last time? He should have received an albumin infusion afterwards. Do you remember if he had an IV hooked up for a couple of hours after the paracentesis? Symptoms of low albumin include muscle weakness, cramps, fatigue, and loss of appetite.