I am asking because I was in a long-distance relationship and my girlfriend was feeling very ill and went to the ER and found out it was cirrhosis of her liver and she didn't know anything prior to this that she had it. She spent 10 days in the hospital and one day in hospice care and then she passed away she was only 57 years old. I would like to know what her last weeks were like because I was not there with her and she downplayed her illnesses so that I wouldn't worry because there was so much distance between us. I know over the last couple of years she was sick with different things but refused to see a doctor but I told her you're getting ill an awful lot. The last month all she would say was that her back was 'tired' but I now know it was her liver failing. I wish she would have seen a doctor a couple years ago then maybe she would have known what was happening and maybe stop her from drinking alcohol. I'm really struggling with this cause I feel like I could have helped her had I known. I need to know just what was happening to her the last month of her life because I'm sure she wasn't telling me everything that was going on. I know it won't change anything or bring her back but I want to know how she really felt. I'm so empty and alone now and feel as tho I failed her.
What are the last few weeks like for someone with end stage liver disease?
Question posted by Dolphin13g on 20 Aug 2015
Last updated on 9 June 2022 by elizasloan
It does hurt. Please make no mistake about that. There are just no words for me pain.
I think it is different for everyone. It's a very complex condition. My fathers health and well being went down like steps... A slow descent. He was very tired. He had weekly drainings which put stress on the kidneys... Skipped his albumin because he heard a doctor say it didn't really do anything. In the end he had a near kidney failure, he didn't eat much at all, he said food tasted horrible. It was a slow starvation. It wasn't until he was hospitalized that he began to eat three meals a day... By that time the ammonia built up in his blood, from the food that his liver could not clear away, he became encephalopathic. He was moved to palliative care. He always seemed to be getting better, then there would be a crash... To a step or two below, where he never regained himself fully. He went into a coma one day... And left us one week later at sunset. He once told me that he felt like he had the worst hangover everyday... Rest in peace dad... Sept 21, 2015. There wasn't extraordinary amounts of pain.
So very sad for you but possibly my story will ease your mind a bit. I have a brother who died in his late 50's, also from cirrhosis. In his case he had had that major surgery on his stomach to lose weight many years before, which was successful, but he did not follow directions. He was told to stop drinking and take vitamins to replace nutrients. (That surgery causes severe diarrhea... food passes through quickly not leaving time for body to absorb nutrients) At his yearly checkup over the years with surgeon, the Dr was amazed at how well he was, considering he didn't follow directions!
But it finally caught up with him. I don't remember exactly but the first symptom was swelling in legs and feet in January of 2003. Seems to me he was in the hospital once during the spring of the year. After that I think drinking was a thing of the past. Then in late June he was in the hospital for a week or 10 days... he remained cheerful in spite of situation. My family.. all 5 married children & 14 grandchildren were heading for a first family vacation. I hated leaving but was torn & decided I must go, with plans to keep in touch with him in hospital. The morning we left, all packed for a week in cabins, we stopped to pick up prescription for husband... and I called the hospital to say goodbye. Discovered to my shock, he was in a coma. We headed home & I took the other car & headed to the hospital. Thankfully, after I arrived & they were saying nothing they could do, but his gastro Dr. came in. He immediately ordered an enema of some sort which brought him out of the comma... thank heaven. I'll be forever grateful to him as that gave us another week to spend with him! Even at that point he was cheerful! Could not believe he had fallen into a comma! The next day his family Dr.came in and took me aside, as I had power of attorney. Said they could do no more and would release him tomorrow... I had to decide whether he would go home or hospice. He was what I would call a controlled beer drinker... 9 times out of 10 he could be in control, but occasionally he would go overboard. His wife on the other hand could not control drinking except at work... the reason for my P of Attorney. His wife wanted to take him home but she had been drinking through all these days, barely making it to the hospital... so I had to over rule and he went to hospice. When the Dr told him, I was there with our favorite cousin... so sad. Tears came into his eyes and he asked what hospice was? When he finally realized this was the going to be the final days he was incredulous. Just could not believe the spot he was in!
Our Hospice is a lovely bldg with gardens surrounding... and he was so brave. Still full of good humor... he spoke with my brother in laws, that I had call him long distance. Just recently we talked about this... my brother in law said, that he asked him, "Do you believe this... how could this be happening?" Then they talked about old times. On the night before the 4th of July, I spent the night with him, watching movies, laughing & joking. My family came home from vacation and all made it to hospice a few days before my sleep over. Two day later he fell into a comma & died. I'm crying as I write... but wanted you to know that it is possible your girlfriend might have been like my brother. It seemed to be a painless death, so when she said she was doing fine... she possibly was telling the truth. Hospice may have given him something to ease the transition but it didn't effect his love and humor. I pray this was some help to you. Ann
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