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Coping with Loss/How long to live after jaundice?


My brother just reported to me that my Dad has complete liver failure and jaundice, with an odd sweet ammonia smell, all caused by alcoholism.  He does not plan on quitting drinking.  I am supposed to fly back to Michigan in three weeks for Christmas, but would like to say goodbye to my father before then.  I would like to know if he will live another three weeks or if I should buy a flight home in the next few days.  How long will he live?  He is still getting up and around, as of a couple of days ago.

Dear J:

Such sad news to come at such a festive time of year.  I'm so sorry to hear about your dad.

People can live with jaundice; it means 'yellowing of the skin'. In the case of liver failure jaundice is what I consider the 'last step' in liver failure.  If this were my dad, I have to honestly tell you that I would not wait three weeks to go see him because one cannot live with complete liver failure.   It's hard for me to say exactly how long he will be with you but I have had patients with liver failure who are basically up and about one day and that evening they are in a coma and soon pass away.  Such was the case of my X husband.

Your liver detoxifies everything that is presented to your body.  Without a liver, a tylenol would kill you.   The news that he has no intention of quitting drinking does not offer much hope either.  Some people feel "oh well the damage is done, why quit now?"  

I would suggest visiting him as soon as you can.   He is probably feeling pretty hopeless now and seeing his children would give him a lift.  Again, I am really sorry to hear about his illness but I have always felt God has a plan for everyone; I hope His plan for your dad is to spend another Christmas with his family.  May God bless you J and I wish you the best.  Stay strong and hopeful.

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Joanne Flint


Dealing with the death of close family members and loss of a friend. Dealing with betrayal; how to accept it, deal with it and move on.


I lost my parents, who died less than eight months apart and a newborn son three months following the death of my mother. A year following this, my brother died suddenly and a 19 year old cousin was crushed to death in a car accident on his birthday. Now I am facing the impending death of a very good friend. I have also dealt with the death of a husband. I have found that talking with people with similiar experiences has helped me and I have been told that it has also helped them greatly.

A licensed nurse for twenty four years with several years working on a Psych ward as well as being the Executive Director and Director of Nursing Services for a Group Home for mentally ill and mentally retarded.

Awards and Honors
Awarded top clinical and top academic grade at my nursing graduation. Also was a member of the English Honors' Class while attending a local college.

Past/Present Clients
I don't share information about people with whom I talk, unless given permission. I am not a doctor, but I have given insight and hope to people just like myself.

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