For Patients Caregiver Tips and Advice For Medical Professionals

Jason Dedmon

Alcohol-related Cirrhosis

This story is about my husband with alcoholic related cirrhosis of the liver.
We don’t know when my husband developed the first stage of liver disease.

Jason started having severe fatigue about 3 years ago. Our family figured that his fatigue was due to his physical job, and he had a hard time sleeping. We have been married for 15 years, and dated for 2 years.
He started drinking daily about 10 years,and despite my requests to quit. I did drink occasionally, but I could stop for several years. Later he began going to a doctor who gave him about 90 Vicodin pills a month. He also started taking my pills too. I have scleroderma and bulging disks. He began taking all his pills and mine as well. I told his doctor about that he was taking my pills and drinking as well. I had enough of this, and threatened him by stating I would move out.

He lessened his drinking, but this was not enough for me. I started dumping his alcohol down the sink. His doctor continued to give him Vicodin. This angered the family. He had terrible withdrawals, and would fall down. He even broke the shower door.

I asked the doctor to discontinue the pills. With a family intervention he stopped alcohol and Vicodin. He was later diagnosed with liver cirrhosis about a year ago. I finally got him to seek another doctor when his doctor did other tests to found him healthy. For 10 years he saw his primary care physician. He went every month to the doctor. That’s 12 or more times a year.
His GI doctor never treated his liver disease, nor did he ever get a real yearly exam.

When we went finally went to a new primary care physician he had stage three liver disease and hepatic encephalopathy.
Now I am both his caretaker and the main bread winner despite my own disability.

I feel guilty and I am depressed. I am always positive when talking to him,but I have to treat him as a child. I have to drive everywhere and guide him physically around the house. He was the leader in the household. Now I have to make all the decisions because he cannot concentrate and has no real memory.

I regret drinking, and not pressing harder for him to see a new doctor.


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