How do I deal with my dad's wait on the liver transplant list?
October 15, 2010 9:49 AM Subscribe
My dad in on the waiting list for a liver transplant. What can I do to handle the wait as sanely and gracefully as possible?
posted by chatongriffes to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Due to a fluke of genetics, my dad needs a liver transplant. He made it onto the list at one of the most reputable transplant centers in the area, but his liver, and therefore general health, is rapidly deteriorating. To be perfectly blunt, he's dying. If he gets a new liver, none of this damage is irreparable, but it's a race against time right now. I know that patients often defy these expectations, but the doctors have estimated we have about six months.
I live pretty close to my parents, so I visit a minimum of once a week. During these visits, my main goal is to take care of as many household tasks as possible, spend quality time with my dad, make sure my mom has someone to talk to, and to play the role of the generally bright, sunny, helpful daughter. I think I do a pretty good job of helping to take care of everyone. What I don't know is how to take care of myself.
My friends, my boyfriend, my boss, and my family have all been supremely supportive and let me ramble about it whenever I want, but at this point everyone knows the situation and although it's constantly on my mind, there isn't much new to say, so lately I've just been keeping things to myself. I also can't help feeling like I'm being sort of melodramatic about all of this--he could get a transplant and be totally fine. I know that our program does have a counselor for the patient as well as for the family members involved and I plan on making use of this resource as soon as I get all the contact information. My mom is pretty anti-counseling, so it's going to be a bit awkward to have to go through her, but I think it will be worth it.
So, time for some concrete questions:
1.) Have you or a loved one been through this? How did you cope with the months of watching someone you love die painfully...maybe?
2.) Do you have ways of dealing with long term stress? I can handle being under short bursts of intense pressure--I do that at work and did that at school just fine. But I am not sure how to handle the coming months of this. Just in the past month, it has been taking a toll on me.
3.) How did you handle interactions with the outside world? I am trying to be as normal as possible, but I end up feeling like I have to be "on" all the time and it's exhausting.
Thanks so much for any advice you have, guys. I am at such a loss.