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Thread: Caring for a dying loved one

  1. #1
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    Default Caring for a dying loved one

    My father passed away at home from emphysema in December of 1991.

    9 years ago my younger brother (by two years, 62) moved to Louisville and we have shared an apartment since. Wednesday afternoon I took him to University of Louisville Hospital’s ER. He was admitted to their ICU. He is still there this morning. He has advanced cirrhosis of the liver. He has been a heavy beer drinker his entire adult life. He is much improved this morning... which is not saying much as he was at death’s door Wednesday. I expect he will eventually be discharged from the hospital and I will care for him. They’ve indicated that at that point he will require out-patient care. His attending physician told me the odds are north of 60% that he be dead within 3 months.

    So I’ve been through this before. But it is hard nevertheless. I just wanted you all to know.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  2. #2
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    I'm very sorry for your troubles Tom.
    Pet photography, the degree you get when you fail aromatherapy - Duck D.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Thnk you Katherine. I am in a restaurant trying to eat a little. I am leaving in a moment to return to the hospital. He wants me there when they serve him lunch. Today is the first time he has had any appetite in 2 weeks.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  4. #4
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Hang in there an do the best you can at being a loving sib. The situation is out of your control, as you surely understand. I'm sorry that you are in this predicament, and sorry also that your brother never developed a strong will to be and do something with his life, but there are millions of people like that, and, cynically, they figure out how to self destruct. It may drive their loved ones nuts, but personally I think it best to accept their choosing that life and be as generous as possible when the inevitable conclusion is in sight.

    If there's anything we can do here to help you and your spirit, I hope you let us know. We are, by and large, despite some of our real differences, a good bunch for that sort of thing.
    A society predicated on the assumption that everyone in it should want to get rich is not well situated to become either ethical or imaginative.

    Photographer of sailing and sailboats
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Hang in there Tom.
    You will know that you should be talking with your Bro as much as you both can stand.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Very sorry to hear that Tom. That's a hard row ahead of you.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  7. #7
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Your brother is lucky to have you in his corner, Tom!
    I'm wishing both of you as smooth a trip as possible through this tough time.
    You have friends here...don't hesitate to share with us.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Tom, that is a hard road. You have my respect, and you each have my prayers
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Tom, I wish you and your brother peace.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    You are a good man.

    As things progress, remember that even the most dedicated caregiver needs a break once in awhile.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    My thoughts are with you.
    He is your brother and realise that many do feel obliged to help family members.
    He is very fortunate to have a brother like you.
    Hopefully the medical fraternity will be able to lend adequate support and advice.
    You can share any problems on here and get feedback of other forumites that have traveled this road and give you the benefit of their experiences to help you and your brother.
    Enjoy a good rum on the rocks at sunset.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    I love my brother. He is a good person. He is simply an alcoholic. It is sad. But there it is.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  13. #13
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Thast's got to be tough, Tom. God bless.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    I love my brother. He is a good person. He is simply an alcoholic. It is sad. But there it is.
    My brother was not a good person: self-centered, self-righteous, a lifetime sponge, two marriages (two kids and no child support whatever) and a diabetic from his 30s on. Some diabetic people are active and do very well. But over the years he worked our mother for thousands for his alternative medicine, rent, vehicles, etc. When she died, she had very little money left, so he turned to us and tried the same stuff.

    I was inclined to let him move in, but made it a condition that he take his insulin. Flat no. He tried my sister: same deal. His alternative healing pursuits had led him to believe that Western medicine (insulin) was evil and that he could heal himself with his mental powers. So he refused a doctor's care, and my wife said absolutely not. If he chooses to to die, he's not doing that here. (We live in a remote area, 50k from medical care.)

    A year later, I went to Seattle to sit with him as he died of kidney failure, with the two sons he hadn't been in touch with for many years.

    It still gnaws at me that I couldn't take him in.

    I hope you have a bit easier time with your brother.

    Chip
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    I love my brother. He is a good person. He is simply an alcoholic. It is sad. But there it is.
    Tom, I can only wish you both well and keep you both in my prayers. Alcoholism is a terrible killer and a lousy way to die.

    However, emphysema has to be among the worst. I watched my mother-in-law go that way and I would not wish it on anyone. It was just awful.

    Make sure to take time for yourself. It will do no good to run yourself down in the process of caring for your brother.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Thank you everyone for your concern and supportive words.

    My my brother will leave the ICU sometime this evening. Once he is discharged from the hospital ( he’ll be here at least through the weekend) he will be placed somewhere for physical therapy. They want him stronger to reduce the risk of falling while I am away at work. I’ll have to arrange for someone to look in on him a couple of times during the day when I am away.

    I have friends and family to talk to & cry with as necessary. I will do my best to take care of myself as I care for him.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  17. #17
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Tough times. Best wishes.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Praying for you Tom. It is certainly hard. Will pray for your brother also.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Do you have Hospice where you are? I'm fairly sure Seattle does. The attending Doc can authorize Hospice for a patient, and it truly helps the process. Especially the family care givers.
    PaulF

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Very sorry to hear about your brother Tom. Look after your self whilst you are looking after him.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Thanks for the hospice suggestion. I’m sure they have it in Louisville. My father died at home and hospice came to the house regularly the last six weeks. They were extremely helpful to all of us. After he passed we all agreed that we should have arranged for them sooner.

    Thanks for for the reminder. I’ll be sure to speak to his attending physician about hospice.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  22. #22

    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    When my mother was dying from cancer the hospice people were incredibly supportive and helpful, do reach out to them.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    no better prognosis for your your brother if he were to stop drinking?
    do you think he continues to drink when he returns home?
    addiction is a real son of a bitch
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Sorry to hear Tom.
    "Please be more specific or we'll choose to order a cheaper bilge-rat to replace you."

    ~seanz

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Best wishes, Tom. Take care of yourself first and foremost, and the rest will follow.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless
    no better prognosis for your your brother if he were to stop drinking?
    do you think he continues to drink when he returns home?
    addiction is a real son of a bitch
    He has stopped drinking before. He gave up alcohol for Lent in 2017. This year he did not drink from Christmas Eve until St. Patrick’s Day.

    An alcoholic can stop drinking. The problem is when they pick up the next drink they are on a roll once again.

    We’ve been talking about this issue all day. He is completely aware of the consequences if he drinks again. The Drs. have made it clear that he would not even be considered to be put on a liver transplant list unless they are convinced he has been completely sober for at least 6 months.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  27. #27
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    I love my brother. He is a good person. He is simply an alcoholic. It is sad. But there it is.
    He is fortunate to have you.

    I wish you both well.
    \"A little too tall, coulda used a few pounds...\"

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    He has stopped drinking before. He gave up alcohol for Lent in 2017. This year he did not drink from Christmas Eve until St. Patrick’s Day.

    An alcoholic can stop drinking. The problem is when they pick up the next drink they are on a roll once again.

    We’ve been talking about this issue all day. He is completely aware of the consequences if he drinks again. The Drs. have made it clear that he would not even be considered to be put on a liver transplant list unless they are convinced he has been completely sober for at least 6 months.
    Two of my colleagues at work were alcoholics, oddly (or perhaps not knowing the lifestyle) both were full time union conveners. One went on the wagon when he retired, and as far as I know is still dry. The other went dry (again) when his daughter came along, but has said that he will start drinking again when he retires from work. Meanwhile he satisfied his craving by betting on the gee gees.
    Here is hoping that your brother decides for living and trying for the transplant. That at least means that there is the chance of a good outcome.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    You're a good man, Tom Montgomery.
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    You're a good man, Tom Montgomery.
    Agreed.
    "Simple minds discuss people, Average minds discuss things, and Great minds discuss ideas".

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Lew Barrett View Post
    You're a good man, Tom Montgomery.
    +1,000

    Nick

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    I love my brother. He is a good person. He is simply an alcoholic. It is sad. But there it is.
    Hang in there Tom, these last few days or weeks can be the most special time in a relationship for both parties, its a time when all the inconsequential annoyances are stripped away and when love and caring is the most important thing of all.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    So at the moment I am once again in the U of L Hospital ER with my brother. I took him to his first appointment with a new personal Dr. this morning at 9:30am. It ran long because he is a new patient, they wanted do do labs, etc. Around 10:30am he became light headed and began visibly shaking. They ran an EKG and found him to be in AFib. He was transported to this ER and I have been here since. Don’t know yet if he will be admitted for the night or not. 30 minutes ago they put an IV in his arm to deliver meds for the AFib intravenously. Judging by the amount of fluid remains in the IV bag we are going to be here a while longer even if they do send him home today.

    This really sucks.
    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.
    Trump is doing beautifully.

    "OK. Fine. So he exaggerated a little on that."





  34. #34
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    So at the moment I am once again in the U of L Hospital ER with my brother. I took him to his first appointment with a new personal Dr. this morning at 9:30am. It ran long because he is a new patient, they wanted do do labs, etc. Around 10:30am he became light headed and began visibly shaking. They ran an EKG and found him to be in AFib. He was transported to this ER and I have been here since. Don’t know yet if he will be admitted for the night or not. 30 minutes ago they put an IV in his arm to deliver meds for the AFib intravenously. Judging by the amount of fluid remains in the IV bag we are going to be here a while longer even if they do send him home today.

    This really sucks.
    Hang in and hold on Tom.

    Your brother may not be around for too long.
    Remember that once he is gone there is no having a chat or visiting him and getting a reply.

    There are many on this forum, myself included, that wish you both the very best and you have our support.
    Enjoy a good rum on the rocks at sunset.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Caring for a dying loved one

    Hang in there Tom.

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