I don't even know where to begin to pronounce the word... nor do I care to. It is what my dad has now. I researched when my dad was confused and I came across this word many times. So I knew it was a chance and I thought I was prepared. What really can prepare you... to know your dad's mind is fading. He's 63 years old, so you don't really concern yourself with your parent showing signs of a brain malfunction. Basically, because his liver is failing, his body does not release the toxins and they form in the blood. This eventually leads to the impairment of the brain. I should state there are different types of encephalopathy, my dad has hepatic encephalopathy. The symptoms include, sleeping during the day (reversal of the normal sleep pattern), irritability, inability to concentrate or perform calculations, loss of memory, confusion, and eventually causes coma and death (information from medicinenet.com)
I found this out today. After I spoke with the neurologist. I then went back into my meeting, to concentrate but couldn't. After work, I stayed to look up that e word and the above is what I found. I sat there, numb. I was prepared, I knew that he probably wouldn't go back to "normal", that his mind would stay in this unclear state. I cried.
As I read through the symptoms though, I realize that 3 years ago, even more, my dad slept more during the day than at night. His sleep patterns were always sporadic, because of PTSD. I just figured that was why he was awake all night and slept during the day. Why didn't I realize this back then! Maybe he already knew that he was in the beginning stages of E. As for irritability, I remember back to the end of my bachelor's degree program... spring of 2008, my dad started acting different. One night, he got completely upset with me because he called while I was in the middle of a team paper and I was totally stressed out. I asked him if I could call back the next night and he just lost it. I remember thinking, what the heck is wrong! He even called my mom telling her there was something wrong with me. He was crying. Was this a sign? I knew back then something was wrong but I thought... honestly thought, that maybe his doctor had told him he was dying and he wasn't telling me. But now, I think that it was this E word... it had started to affect him. My dad never shared with me what was going on with him. This... this explains so much if what I think, back in 2008 was the beginning of hepatic encephalopathy.
So what happens now? It sounds like it will just get worse. Eventually, from my readings, he will go into a coma, then death. This disease is horrid. I did not think that there was a worse way to die than dying from cancer but cirrhosis is just as bad. Please, please, please... keep my dad in your prayers. For comfort, for peace. I love him so very, very much.