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Nov 29, 2005
My dad is in the hospital and I'm wanting to know how serious it is and have a little more information about what to expect. Here are his symptoms (sorry, this is sure to be long):

-He's 53 and was diagnosed with Hepatitis C about 4 months ago. They said it's chronic and he has had it for a very long time. Before this, he drank kind of a lot (about 5 beers a night) for many years. He started taking Interferon when he was diagnosed and this seemed to make him worse. Last week he started vomiting blood and was taken to the hospital and has been in ICU for a week.

-His abdomen is extremely swollen with fluid (ascites, I think it's called?), his feet and legs are swollen, his blood pressure has been really low (80something over 40 I think), and he is still vomiting blood every so often. They said he has portal hypertension which caused bleeding in the stomach/esophagus, but they can't do a scope or do surgery to stop it because he isn't stable enough. All they're really doing is keeping his vitals stable and giving him blood and oxygen. Their "goals" are just to keep him from bleeding right now.

-They did a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia today and said it was cloudy, which I don't really know what that means.

-He has hepatic encephalopathy and ICU psychosis and doesn't really know where he is or what's going on. He's been hallucinating and confused and very angry. He has been awake for the past three days and was trying to get out of the hospital the whole time. They finally had to put restraints on his arms and legs because he was pulling out his IVs and trying to leave. They also said some of this was caused by really high ammonia levels in his blood (I think they said 230 and normal is 15-45?).

-He has been having trouble breathing the whole time, but today it got a lot worse and they put in a breathing tube. The medicine they gave him made him sleep and they said he won't wake up until they take it out, which I guess is what they normally do. It's good that he is finally getting rest and isn't suffering, but I think it's pretty bad that he can't breathe.

-Usually the nurses don't pay much attention to him, but today they have been in his room at all times and asked us if we would want them to resuscitate him (with shock treatment, I think) if he were to take a turn for the worst. They're not saying "he's going to be okay" anymore, now they're just saying they'll do their best.

-His doctor said he is not a candidate for a liver transplant right now because he has drank in the past 6 months and he's way too unstable for any kind of surgery. I know that a transplant would be the only "cure" for this type of liver damage, but I'm wondering if he were to get better (or if he even can at this point) how long he would be able to last. I know you can't say exactly, but when I ask doctors questions like that they seem to just say "we'll do the best we can" and I would like to know just how bad it is so that I can prepare myself for the worst case scenario. Is he likely to die from this now? A percentage of likelihood would be great (haha) but I know you can't really say that. I just wish someone would tell me flat out if I should be worried about him dying anytime in the near future. It's just scary because a week ago he was sick, but not extraordinarily so, and now here we are.

I'm sorry this was so long, I'm just scared and wanting more information than his doctors are giving me. I don't want anyone to sugarcoat it for me, I just want the truth and statistics. A time frame for how long he has would be great, but I know that's not really realistic. My mom also has Hep C (aghhh) but she seems to be doing very well with the Interferon and her liver is in much better shape. Thanks for taking the time to read, any information would be very much appreciated.

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