Unfortunately, my husband died yesterday from complications due to cirrhosis. He had been a heavy drinker for most of his adult life. He felt well and was working full time right up to the day he got admitted to hospital at the end of August. Even for the first couple of weeks in hospital, he felt reasonably well and was annoyed at being there. However, his bilirubin level kept climbing and by the time it started to decrease, the complications started to show. A serious infection pulled him right down. After fighting that, he seemed to recover somewhat and was sent home with ascites that they refused to drain in hospital. He was incredibly weak and I had misgivings about him being sent home before he was ready. When he was home, he simply got weaker despite all my efforts. When I called an ambulance, they insisted on talking to my husband who claimed he was okay and would refuse to go back to hospital. They didn’t come out even to check him over. The next day, my parents-in-law came to take my husband into their care because they have an easier home setup with a bed right next to the toilet. The day after that, my husband fell and could not get up. He was admitted back into hospital. They soon discovered that the ascites fluid was infected. His kidneys shut down and he was rushed to intensive care where he hung on for another couple of days. In the final conversation I had with him, his speech was slurred and difficult to make out but he promised never to drink again. It was heartbreaking.
I know there are success stories following a cirrhosis diagnosis and I don’t want anyone to give up hope after reading this. If you can overcome the complications AND never touch alcohol again, the outcome can be good. Unfortunately, my husband went downhill very fast and what we thought would be a wake-up call turned out to be the end for him. I hope that my story will convince anyone with an alcohol problem of the seriousness of this illness. Be kind to your body folks and value the life you were given. Reach out for support because you will get it.