Monday, April 25, 2011

21 Days

My dad is a typical Mexican-American man....he would deny he was in any pain no matter how much pain he was in. He was an alcoholic for about 30 yrs. This excessive drinking caused major damage to his liver but the symptoms of this damage went unnoticed until it was too late.
We noticed my dad was getting yellow (jaundiced) on his face, eyes and chest. We wanted to take him to his doctor's office for a check-up and he declined this offer. We begged and pleaded with him to get a check-up since his last check-up had been about 12 years ago. My dad finally agreed to go to the check-up in the summer of 2005. 
 He was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. He had to check his blood glucose levels on a daily basis, monitor and balance his meals, and Oh yeah...his liver was in bad shape. The doctor said his liver was 90% damaged from all those years of drinking. Both, dad and I were sad to learn this. The doctor also said that the liver was an amazing organ because it could regenerate itself and my dad could live a long healthy life with the good 10% of his liver IF he 1.managed his diabetes and 2. stopped drinking.
He did good for about 8 months and then he decided to drink just one beer. That quickly became 12 cans of beer. He justified it by saying that he had managed to stop drinking for 8 months and that he could stop whenever he wanted to.
 Needless to say, he dismissed what his doctor told him and stopped monitoring his blood glucose and continued drinking. Which brings my story to December 13th 2010, when we brought my dad in to his doctor's office because for a whole week prior to the 13th my dad was acting 'weird'. He did not want to eat, he spent all his time exhausted and in bed. He couldn't raise his arms above his head nor did he have any strength in them. His walk was unsteady and he had difficulty swallowing. His doctor informed us that we were to take him to the emergency room because my dad had hepatic encephalopathy. The toxins in his body had not been secreted by his liver, because the good 10% he had 5 years ago was now damaged as well, and since they were not secreted they had built up in his body. The toxins were affecting his brain and this in turn affected his speech, gait, and memory.
The rest after that visit to the ER is history....he spent 21 days  hospitalized before he passed away.

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