For 2010, No Resolutions but a Revelation! (Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog)

Thursday, 31 December 2009

So here comes 2010, but this year I’ve decided NOT to make any New Year’s Resolutions, but take each day as I find it. In my position, I don’t think I’m best placed to make too many plans or promises for the future. So instead I want to use this New Year’s blog post, not go carping on about my problems or how ultimately crappy I’m feeling, but talk to you instead about what I can only describe as profound!

I am talking about the people I have met, online or otherwise, who like me, have got or have had Hepatitis C. Or for that matter, the people who, for no obvious benefit or reward to themselves, work tirelessly to make folks like me feel better.

There is no doubt that having Hep C is a bloody awful thing to have, and when you get diagnosed and you learn what HCV actually is (and is not), and it feels like you’ve just been hit by a steam train! After that comes the feeling of being completely alone and if like me, you have family around you, it’s only them that keeps you going. If you don’t, then I can only say that my deepest sympathies are with you. But nothing alters the fact, in either situation, that at some point you will face this virus alone. And it’s then that you enter a very dark place indeed.

But this where I have found my revelation for 2010, and it is this. Because you have just been diagnosed with Hep C, you have also become a member of something huge. A large community of people just like you. Moreover, as I said on the Hep C Nomads forum, I find that whilst there are the obvious downsides to having HCV, the virus seems to create a very special breed of people who are refreshingly open, honest and candid about the situation you are in. It is these people that you become a part of and you will be able to talk freely, without judgement or reprisal, about the experiences that we will all face and face together.

I told ‘Chrissy’ from ‘Nomads’ that when I was first told by my doctor that I had Hepatitis C, I had so much going on in my life at that time that l didn't really fully understand what HCV was. My Doctor said later that he thought I was in denial but if the truth be told I was just ignorant as to what Hepatitis C was and what it was going to mean to me. When I was first diagnosed I thought, right, OK, so what tablets do I need to take to get rid of this? Now the full extent of what it meant for me has become painfully clear, I keep thinking - If only I had known...

I spent a lot of time then, moping around in the wilderness so to speak, feeling like this situation was unique to me, but after a time I realised I had to do something about the situation I was in. It was only after meeting people like myself after my admission to St Jimmy’s that someone told me to get online and research! Since that time, I got on the internet and started ‘googling’, ‘twittering’ and eventually ‘blogging’. It was then that I realised that I was not alone!

It was then that I started to meet people like ‘Murph’ and Dave G @hepCoz on twitter in Australia, and others like them that I started feeling like I was getting somewhere. And all the info from the Hep C Trust website. Now I’m joining HCV forums and meeting new people all the time. Like I said earlier – If only I had known...

The rest however is as they say, history. So now I write my blog to try and help others understand what I’m going through and help me pass the time whilst on the transplant waiting list. Plus it amuses me no end, which is a bonus!

So, if you stumble across this blog and you’re researching, then I hope you find plenty of info here and links to plenty more like me. For me it's not just been a revelation, it has been nothing short of a bloody miracle, and for that I am thankful.

And to those of you who are like me and have Hepatitis C or you help others with it, then I raise my glass full to the brim with my finest fruit juice (as it will always be in our community) and drink to you this New Year and I hope we all keep safe and well in 2010, and hope we have many more to come.

Happy New Year everyone .... Ian


My Perfect Bloody Christmas by Michael Caine (

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

My perfect bloody Christmas

by Michael Caine

Do you know, there are three things in this life that are a given: 1) Sean Connery will never put his hand in his bleeding pocket; 2) Michael Winner shouldn't be allowed to direct the bloody traffic; and 3) I’ll never be asked to switch the Christmas lights on in Oxford Street ever again, after Roger Moore was sick into the hood of Ken Livingstone's duffel coat that time. Some bloody mate.

When I was a kid, Christmas was a miserable bloody time: there was no Xboxes, no Action Man with gripping hands, and no Ker-bloody-Plunk, neither. We was poor in them days, but what we did have was manners and respect for our bloody elders.

Which brings me neatly round to what happened the other day. Every Christmas I goes and visits some of the old folk what lives in my old manor, bearing Happy Shopper mince pies and sherry. Anyway, just as we was entering my old road, I suddenly taps my driver on the shoulder and says to him "'ere, stop the Roller Reg, I want to get out and walk amongst my people - and have a quick slash while I'm at it." Anyway, we knocks on the door of Mrs Dalrymple what used to live at Number 83, only now a Polish geezer what's called Jaroslaw lives there. Nice bloke - he's coming round to do the Artexing in my new drum next week - anyway, he invites us both in for tea and cake. Five minutes later, I'm just coming out of the kharzi when I see a group of bleeding hooligans running away from the motor. So I tells Reg 'put that slice of bleeding Battenburg down and get my bloody wheels back'. Now Reg is a big bloke, but he's out of shape - well, if the truth be told he's onto his seventh pacemaker - so yours truly was forced to abandon the motor and jump in a minicab driven by some Nigerian bloke called Yomi.

This Yomi bloke seemed a nice enough fella - offered me a chance to make some dough from an uncle of his, some bloke who calls himself 'Dr Julius'. Now, this Dr Julius had recently come into a large sum of money, and needed to transfer it into a UK bank account for some bleeding unknown reason. This Yomi reckons I'll make 15% commission for just giving him my bank details. Sounds good, but I don't want to get my fingers burnt like the time I sank a load of cash into Richard Burton’s pub - the story goes he took the gaff over on the Monday and, by the time the official receivers broke the bloody door down on the Thursday, the only assets that were left was half a bottle of lime cordial and a packet of Big D nuts - and to cap it all, Tony Hopkins had been sick all over the bleeding pool table.

Did you know that I'm currently appearing in pantomime at the Crawley Arts Stadium, alongside Harvey Keitel, Noel Gorden and TV's Raymond Baxter? Well you bloody well do, now.

As told to Matt Owen

from The Daily


A Sober Christmas and Heppy New Year! (A Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog)

Saturday, 26 December 2009

And so, for the first time in 30 years, I have been completely sober for Christmas!

It was a good one too, contrary to popular belief (and mine previously) you don’t need to finish the day somewhat intoxicated to enjoy it!

Since I was diagnosed with Hep C this has been something I’ve had trouble coming to terms with. Whenever I had been sober for any length of time I started to get the nagging feeling that there must be more to life than this and that somehow, getting off my head would show me the way!

It sounds crazy doesn’t it? It does to me now talking about it like this. But have you ever tried it? Have you ever tried giving up alcohol, drugs, if that’s your thing, cigarettes, even coffee? Nearly all the things that stimulate you, for say a month? Probably not and why would you, unless of course you have masochistic tendencies.

You wouldn’t want to, if you’re honest about it, not even if you got some misdirected urge to try and understand what the hell it is that I’m on about. You might do a couple of days of it before thinking “sod this for a game of soldiers, a pint lager and 20 Bensons please”

Well, so it was for me, I would have done the same as you, and did! But eventually I realised that every drink was actually killing me. I haven’t had a drink for the best part of a year now but I don’t pretend that it was anything other than that, and only that, that stopped me drinking in the end!

Now, you’re probably thinking, “you selfish bastard”, and I wouldn’t blame you. My life had completely revolved around my drinking and my having as good a time as possible!

But that was me, that’s what I was. Owner, Publican and Licensee. And because of who I was, I hope I brought a lot of happiness and good times to a lot of people. I hope I can say thousands all in all. And yes, everybody, had to pay their way, but nothing in life is free and that ensured many others had employment in what I thought was a great place to be. And yes, a lot of people had a good ride out of it too. I was licensed to have a good time. I was a regular cottage industry!

On reflection though, I feel I’ve given far more than I have received so far, but maybe that will change with time. And maybe it’s not for me to be the judge of that.

But for now I face 2010 with the knowledge that I must wait for a liver to become available and then if I make it that far, 6 to 10 hrs of transplant surgery. Who knows what’s beyond that but I’m not thinking too much about that now, as with so many aspects of my life, it hurts me to do so. Literally. My liver doesn’t produce enough chemicals for my brain to function normally, leaving me dizzy, fatigued and confused. As for the toxins, ohh, don’t talk to me about the toxins... (okay enough drama)

So Christmas ’09 has passed and for me it has been another milestone, as everyday is now. Some days they’re just small milestones and some are like monoliths. As today was for me.

I was talking with Mandy about this earlier. I was telling her that it’s not the ‘not being able to have a glass of wine with Christmas dinner, and that I would never hold it against anyone that they can whilst I can’t. It’s not having the choice’.

We sat and talked about this and about my Hep C, as we tend to do these days, not least because I’m at home all the time now. We talked about the future and that one day when this is all over we’ll say how in some bizarre way it was the best thing that ever happened to us. You need to have these conversations on some days, even on the ‘monolith’ days

I was telling her that while she had got up and taken the dog out early this morning, the kids had come and gotten into bed with me. Then I’d let them go down stairs and check that Santa had come and left them some presents. I told her about their screams and hoops of joy when they saw that he had.

It’s these small moments that make me realise why I started taking my health seriously, not just for the selfish reasons, and you need those too. But for them. I can at last feel that Christmas 2009, I gave and received equally.

So maybe I did finish the day somewhat intoxicated, differently that’s for sure but feeling none the less euphoric for it.

I look to 2010, not having all the answers, or knowing how things will turn out. But I do have hope. Nobody knows the future, nor should you, otherwise what would be the point? But we should all have hope.

And maybe I’m starting to realise already that this actually could be the best thing that has happened to me already.

Merry Christmas everybody and have a drink for me this New Year!


Tales from Dr Bobs (Hepatitis Blog Hep C)

Monday, 21 December 2009

(another fictional tale from my youth!)

Tales from Dr. Bobs

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, tucked away in deepest, darkest Tang Hall there was a chemists shop that was known infamously as Dr Bobs.

Now Tang Hall is not, as the name would suggest, a grand aristocratic dwelling reserved for famous Dukes and Duchesses from a bygone age. It is a council estate not too far from the centre of York as you go out on the Huntington Road, which incidentally, is where a motley crew and I once resided.

Now Tang Hall was a council estate mainly reserved for single mums, low paid parent families and the like. But Dr Bobs was on the estate and could only be described as the chemist shop that time forgot, run by a little wizened old man. It sold a limited amount of wares and was rarely used by the local mums and I should say that anything he sold had usually been on the shelves for months and looked colour faded or out of date. For that reason it was barely used at all unless nappies were needed on a bad weather day. It was amazing that the shop survived at all, but Dr Bobs had a secret ‘elixir’ that ensured it would not go out of business until Dr Bob himself, shed his mortal coils.

And the name of that elixir was Gee’s Linctus. Now like me, when I first heard of it, you’re probably thinking “what the hell is that” Well, in truth, it’s nothing more than cough mixture! It’s very rarely sold these days, if at all. But for a time it was the cough remedy that everybody trusted without question. But its main active ingredient was the one that ensured its own demise, except at Dr Bobs, and that was Codeine. Codeine is an opiate derivative and junkies went crazy for it when they couldn’t lay their hands on heroin!

I couldn’t begin to describe its vile flavour other than to say it tasted like cough mixture, thick and sticky but not sweet like modern medicines. I suppose this was to stop people doing what junkies were doing; drinking a bottle of it in one sitting to stave off the attacks of ‘cold-turkey’!

You see Dr Bobs wasn’t like Boots selling pre-packed treatments. He bought in the Codeine in gallon bottles and made up the linctus, like chemists used to. And best of all, he made it how the junkies liked it; good and strong! This ensured that he had a steady stream of customers every morning. Those unfortunate enough to be caught short, for a ‘pound a pop’ or so, had relief from the daily grind of finding some gear. Really he did an honest social service and ensured he was no burden on society in any way. Because of him residents of York were saved countless petty burglaries and damage to property to boot.

Our house on Huntington Road was an imposing detached three story house that had been divided into flats. Like most ‘studenty’ types of residence, it was damp, draftee and downright filthy and had never been decorated, repaired or cleaned since forever, but we liked it. It wasn’t that we were dirty by nature; we did personal hygiene to a fashion. We just never ever cleaned the flat unless the filth was making us puke or we had absolutely nothing else better to do. Or we were being threatened by some girl or other and more often than not, all of the above! Now the girl usually doing the threatening was Rachel, but man, when she threatened she did it good and loud and she meant it too! She was the only one amongst us who had any semblance of reality, I would say she was straight really and she held down a full-time job but unfortunately for her, her boyfriend was the biggest f*ckwit and wreck head you could hope to meet. His name was Kit and he was also my best mate. Now the one thing Rachel hated more than anything was Kit doing smack, which was rather unfortunate for just about everybody really!

The three floors of our house were made up like this; the basement flat was really damp and uninhabited with a garage door that led into it. We used this as a ‘stash’ so that if we got raided we could claim that it was nothing to do with us and so the Police / Drug Squad couldn’t touch it (the operative word here was ‘when’, not ‘if’).

The middle floor was again divided into flats which Kit Rachel and me inhabited. And the top floor belonged to a small, wiry asthmatic dope dealer who had just one lung and smoked pot continuously. He was a wise old cockney, our dope score and a really good friend of mine, god bless him. His name was Gubbinz and he had Jack Russell dog which he called ‘The Biz’

I remember that I lost my key after the first couple of weeks of living there so my solution was to use National Insurance Number card to ‘credit-card’ the door open rather than spend money at a locksmiths; a trick which has helped me out over the years on a number of occasions. And that was about the standard of things back then.

Now Kit, in order to hide his drug dependency and the money he was spending on it from Rachel had started to become a regular at Dr Bobs. In fact the complete and utter f*ckwit had only got himself addicted to the bloody stuff! I couldn’t believe it, I still shudder and want to ‘gip’ at the thought of the very smell of the stuff. Mindst you, it was universally known that I ‘gipped’ with any drug I came into contact with, so that’s nothing unusual!

And so Kit, and more often than not with Scottish Matt, who took anything he could get his hands on, would set off to Dr Bobs to get his daily dose. I’m sure Matt just went half of the time so he had a captive audience to spout complete and utter shite to coz man, could he talk cr*p for Scotland!

Then when they got back, it was down into the basement ‘stash’ to ‘neck’ a bottle or two of Dr Bob’s famous elixir. They guzzled every drop in the cold, dank basement flat that was strewn with motorcycle parts and various bits of stolen goods. Then it was time to hide the empty bottles, lest Rachel should venture downstairs. There was a huge dark wood wardrobe which ran ceiling to floor, about seven feet. Behind it there was a gap between it and the wall and it was the favourite hideout for Kits empties. It filled up and up and up! Then it was up to the telly room for Kit to have an opiate ‘drift’ a while, whilst Matt would pick endless amounts of imaginary fluff off the carpet and continue to tell you the same bull sh*t stories he’d told you a thousand times before and had last recited an hour or so ago. Now that’s what I call ‘living alright’, NOT.

Now one night, Kit and me were down in the ‘stash’ with a few other of the usual cronies, mainly Benny, Danny Hill and Daz Hayes as I remember. We were smoking some weed and chewing the fat as you do, deepest skulduggery and the like when we hear the top door open. It was Rachel coming to have a look at what Kit was up to; she knew him too well. She started to make idle chatter as she looked and poked around to see if Kit was keeping to the straight narrow and none of us were leading him astray with hard drugs, not that he needed encouragement from us. It was like being quizzed by the teacher as we answered “yes Miss, no Miss, three bags full Miss”

But on this occasion it was nothing out of the ordinary; nothing that Rachel wasn’t used to by now and everybody in the room knew what could and couldn’t be discussed in front of her. Her temper was legendry and for that reason the room always became a little tenser when she entered. But it just so happened that purely by chance Rachel glanced down the back of the wardrobe and said ‘Oh, it looks like there’s a load of bottles behind here.”

The room froze. Everyone, with probably the exception of Daz Hayes new exactly what she was looking at. And then she did it, she pushed the wardrobe just enough to let a hundred or so bottles come crashing down out of it. It was like one of those moments in a movie which happen in slow motion as someone shouts “Nooooooo”, in a deep ‘whale’ sounding sort of voice.

Then, still in slow motion, she bent down and looked at the bottle and she knew exactly what it was and who it belonged to. That didn’t stop her scanning the room to see who else knew what was happening and was ‘in’ on the scam!

Danny Hill as usual was the first to start his denials – guilty as charged!

Then Benny and me – without doubt, guilty.

Then Daz, not knowing what he was denying but denying it anyway – guilty.

Then Rachel turned to Kit and as her arm came back, bottle in hand and the last thing legible I heard as the rest of us beat a hasty retreat for the door was “You f*cking ba*tard”

I could hear the glass smashing and the insults flying and the explanations proffered as we scurried up the stairs to the telly room as Benny dropped the latch behind us. We stood there in a circle, our gobs and eyes wide open, staring at each other as we listened to the screams and sounds of breaking glass. Then Benny started to laugh, then one by one we all did and suddenly the room erupted as we fell about howling.

The next thing I heard was the door to the top flat opening as Gubbinz peered out of his door and shouts in his best cockney “What the fack is going on” so we all made a break for it up the short flight stairs, passed Gubbz and into his flat whether he liked it or not. It must have taken an hour or so to tell the story as we scremed and yelped almost as loudly as the couple downstairs.

Now that was what I call ‘living alright’ and I don’t think if I live to be a hundred I’ll find anything that could make me laugh harder than I did that day, and for that, I too am eternally grateful to Dr Bob.


Another joke from my sister!

Friday, 18 December 2009

What Starts with F and ends with K?

A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students The teacher asked, 'Harry, what's your problem?'

Harry answered, 'I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter
than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!'

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office.

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

Principal: 'What is 3 x 3?'

Harry: '9.'

Principal: 'What is 6 x 6?'

Harry: '36.'

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her,
'I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade.'

Ms. Brooks says to the principal,
'Let me ask him some questions.'

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, 'What does a cow have four of that I have only tw o of?'

Harry, after a moment: 'Legs.'

Ms Brooks: 'What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?'

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied: 'Pockets.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a dog do that a man steps into?'

Harry: 'Pants.'

Ms. Brooks: What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?'

Harry: 'Coconut.'

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: 'What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?'

The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer,

Harry replied, 'Bubble Gum.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?'

Harry: 'Shake hands.'

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: 'What word starts with an 'F' and ends in 'K' that means a lot of heat and excitement?'

Harry: 'Firetruck.'

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the Teacher,

'Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong.....!'


Christmas at Brownlow Street Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog-Post

Thursday, 17 December 2009

(A short fictional story from my youth!)

Christmas at Brownlow Street

I was walking my dog this morning, Jack Frost had been all over the place and I don’t know why but I started thinking about Christmas Day at Brownlow Street!

Brownlow Street was a house that a few of us had rented when I was going through my ‘teens’. We were all drug dependants and Heroin was our drug of choice, though in truth we would take just about anything we could lay our hands on. The house was the next best thing to a squat except we actually paid rent to live there, sometimes at least. There would usually be an assortment of waifs and strays ‘crashing', whilest they sorted themselves out; or they were just too off their head to make it home. Sometimes we’d have electricity and sometimes we didn’t, sometimes it was getting busted by the drugs squad or searched by law enforcers of some kind. It was certainly one of the most un-festive places you would ever want to be on a Christmas morning.

As we all got up to the whining sounds of Matt’s girlfriend, Sue, “Maaaat, can you just..."; I remember thinking, f*ck its Christmas and I’m hanging out! I wasn’t alone and we was probably all contemplating that daily grind of ‘how the f*ck are we going to score today?’ The fact that it was Christmas Day had no relevance or meaning to any of us, to us it was just another day.

I can’t remember how it came about but somehow we allowed Matt to talk us into going up to a dealers; Kev and his dickhead brother, fat Billy’s house in Tang Hall, to see if we could get some gear 'laid on', on account of it being Christmas an’ all.

We all set off, I can’t remember exactly who was with us; my memories from that period being somewhat hazy after all this time, (ahem) you understand. But most likely it was all the usual suspects, Matthew, Kecki, Taff, Benny, Me and inevitably Major, Matt’s trusty old dog out for his morning constitutional.

It was a frosty morning, like today, which is why I probably started thinking about it.

Of course none of us had any money, but Matt’s thinking was ‘as we’d supported our local dealer all year it was only fair that he should see us ‘right’ through the festive period and the like. We must have looked like a bunch of screaming zombie skulls as we trudged along, all quiet apart from Matt relentlessly practicing his pitch on us over and over again.

When we got there, we banged on the door several times but no-one would come, Matt, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, carried on banging on the door! Eventually Kev opened up and before we could say anything, he barked, “its f*cking Christmas, I’m not doing any gear today, we’ve got the kids opening presents and my misses is going f*cking crackers at you lot been here, now f*ck off!” She was too, we could hear her, and he slammed the door shut

Now any lesser man, me included, would have given up at that. But not a mad Scotsman who was starting to ‘cluck’ badly by now and he started banging on the door again, even louder than before! Eventually the door cracked open and 'dickhead Billy' stood there and growled “F*ck off Matt or I’ll smack ya!” “You can do that man, but tell Kev that’s not fucking right man, 'smack heeds' don’t get a day off man, just ‘cos its Christmas. That’s not right man, am fucking glad he’s having a very nice Christmas an’ all man, with all the money he’s made out of us man. A hope his kids are havin a f*ckin crackin' time......” and so he went on and on and on. Eventually Kev pulled the door back and bored into submission, handed us each ‘a bag’ “Ach, ya dancer! We’ve got no money man but...” Kev stopped him, “you can have that, Merry F*cking Christmas, now f*ck off and don’t come back till after Christmas!”

We'd won, more importantly we had all scored! As we all walked away we had smiles from ear to ear! I can remember that suddenly the hanging out feeling was not so bad after all! We strode on, laughing and joking, like we were brothers together going home, triumphant. This may sound crazy but it was like we were characters in some perverse Dickensian novel and as we walked back into Brownlow Street it seemed that it was no longer the cold stark hovel that I had left an hour or so before. It had been transformed into a warm and inviting home filled with jovial chatter as we recounted to each other, the story of our Christmas miracle. The kettle was put on and the tin foil passed round as though we started preparing our festive feast and soon, we gorged ourselves. Then, satisfied, we settled back on the sofas and armchairs, like any normal family would, and put the telly on for the Queens speech. It was Christmas and the season of goodwill had some meaning even for us!

I don’t miss that life I had back then but on that day, at that time, I wouldn’t have swapped places with anyone, and if you asked me ‘would I leave it out if I had my time over again’ then I would have to answer 'no' I would not. My time as a smack-head was not an easy time in my life and though there were many grave moments; it was all a rich experience and proof that you can find good in anything if you allow yourself to look.

Merry Christmas everybody, wherever you are.


Pretty Vacant - Hep C Blog (Hepatitis C)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Sorry, for being pretty vacant for the last couple of days, but I've been at the doctors / hospitals etc.

This is the, last push' today as I sign consent forms for the Liver Transplant op. I will be looked at from all angles, have blood samples taken and assessed prior to approval.

Not that there is any doubt of being rejected, nor will I get a new liver straight away.

Now though, comes the waiting game until a liver becomes 'available'.
I'm told the average waiting time is 9months but really, how long is a piece of string??? I did hear of a girl getting called the next day, which in my case would mean the best Christmas present a man could receive.

Much depends on match, blood groups etc and of course, who is the most deserving case. Whilst there is no doubt that I have 'end stage' Hep C, this doesn't mean that there isn’t someone else worse off than me.

As of today though, it's a case of waiting for the phone to ring at any time of day or night, and being ready, both mentally and physically.

Anyway, I have to go now so keep everything crossed for me and I will write soon.


Damon Hill IS Mr Tracy - F.A.B.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Is it just me...


Pooh Welcomes Winter

You guessed it, Christmas arrived at our house this morning! So we decked the tree and took some pics. Now the kids are loving it - remeber what Christmas was like at that age?

Merry Christmas everyone!


How Do I Define Myself? Hep C Blog Post (Hepatitis C)

Friday, 11 December 2009

How do you define yourself? By your actions? By the job you do? Maybe your spiritual beliefs or your likes and dislikes?

Usually we can get an insight of how to categorise someone by posing the question “so what do you do?”

Most people have worked out who or what they are by the time they reach middle age and have rehearsed and are forearmed for this question.

But imagine after you have spent your life building your ‘brand’ that every line of who you are has been taken away. Hep C has done all of this and more.

To become eligible for a liver transplant, I have signed a ‘contract for life’ that I will never touch alcohol again. Not even to cook with in a sauce! I also know that being the type of person that I am, that if I was to have one drink, it would mean two, which would mean four and so on. I never considered myself to be alcoholic, I never had the shakes or any of that but as my school report always said “Easily distracted”

I can never go back into pubs, I think even the most determined would find it impossible, after being the host, the comedian, the referee and the drinker, I could never go back and do my job with the same gusto without these traits and therefore renders my definition by work, dead.

The same could be said of my actions. I considered myself to be the archetypical ‘bon viveur’. Now, I’m not saying you need a drink inside you to do this, but it helps! More than this though, my confidence has been well and truly bashed and now feels like a dinted tin can with its contents dripped out leaving a void inside. It’s hard to be the life and soul when so much of your life and soul has been poured out.

As for my spirituality, I suppose I was agnostic but believed you do good; you get good, ying and yang, that kind of thing. However that thinking now seems to be so far off the mark. I see good in small places and for that I’m thankful, but in the context of what’s going on in the world I find it hard to reconcile. As for my personal circumstances, need I say more? I have always tried to punch above my weight and this has caused me to be knocked down more than once but I never lost sight of what I was fighting for.

So it brings me to likes and dislikes. Some guru once said, if you don’t like the question “what do you do”, it’s usually because you don’t like the answer. Therefore, if you don’t like the answer then change it. My problem is, I liked the answer, and I liked doing what I did and being defined by it. Maybe that made me one dimensional or shallow. I could ponder my worth later.

So now I’m a guy waiting for a liver transplant. A husband and a father; a warm human being who still has a lot to give. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to define myself as anything more than that or what I would like it to be. I want to dream again, I want to feel great when I wake in the morning, get up and do my ‘thing’ and carry everyone with me for the ride. But I can’t right now and I’m not sure when I will again.

But if I feel like it again soon, I’ll let you know.


Well, why not; A Joke from my sister!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Two old ladies are outside their nursing home, having a drink and a smoke, when it starts to rain. One of the old ladies pulls out a condom, cuts off the end, puts it over her cigarette, and continues smoking.

Maude: What in the hell is that?

Mabel: A condom. This way my cigarette doesn't get wet.

Maude: Where did you get it?

Mabel! : You can get them at any drugstore.

The next day, Maude hobbles herself into the local drugstore and announces to the pharmacist that she wants a box of condoms.

The pharmacist, obviously embarrassed, looks at her kind of strangely (she is after all, over 80 years of age), but very delicately asks what brand of condom she prefers.

"Doesn't matter Sonny, as long as it fits on a Camel."

The pharmacist fainted.


Tigers transgressions with the Fat Slags

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Sandra Burke and Tracey Tunstall, better known as the Fat Slags and former McDonalds pin-ups, have revealed in a ''My World' exclusive, that they too have had secret liasons with Tiger Woods!

"Thats right, innit Trace" says Sandra " It were other week, we'd been owt down Yate's for 15 pints 'a' piss an a couple creme de menthe cocktails each; when we decided to pop down and see if Baz was workin down the Turkish Treats kebab house an see if we could get a free double donor for a blow job each.
Wi were minding our own business when I felt somert pokin me in the arse in the queue outside"
"Ay San, we looked round an ah sez, eyup San, it's one 'o' them darky's with the big black cocks"
So ah sez "eyup sooty, is that a woody in ya trousers or are ya just pleased to me?" Ee sez "actualy it's mi nine iron, fancy a round?" Before ya know it wi were outside the back 'o' the kebab house an I'm on all fours gerrin a right good seein to, an tryin 't' eat mi kebab. Ah sez, "Eyup tiger, whats ya rush, am spillin mi f*kckin chips ere" Ee sez "how did ya guess mi name, ya slapper" But before he could say owt else, Trace has spilt a load curry sauce down her left tit an iz makin im suck it off!

More revelations look likely to surface during the next few weeks as everybody realises that the 'clean shaven' billionaire golfer is actually a complete turd after all.

Tiger Woods or a steaming turd - not much difference! And your suprised about what exactly?


Sorry it's been a while... Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog-Post

Monday, 7 December 2009

I visited my doctors last Friday to discuss being admitted to hospital to have a 'drain' put in for the the fluid that is building up in my abdmen again.

Last time I had this done they drained 23ltrs of fluid out of me and the relief was incredible!

I reckon that currently I'm carrying around 10ltrs of fluid which, whilst it's nothing like as bad as I've had; is still like carrying a sack of dead and decaying matter inside of me that is constantly pushing and swelling, trying to split open my guts to break free. It feels like the only thing that stops it is the 10inch wide velcro 'body-belt' that by now is getting increasingl difficult to strecch around me.

However, since going on the transplant list my doctors do not, unless absolutely necessary, perform any surgical procedure, for risk of infection.

So that leaves the option of adjusting my drugs and leads to the reason why I'm writing now and why I haven't wrote for a few days. Unfortunately I have been wiped out due to the change in medication, spending at least 36hrs in bed, dead to the world.

So sorry if it's been a while... normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

Night-night all!


Sorry if it seems like I keep banging on about it... Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog-Post

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Diary Post

Hep C that is, but as you can imagine, it's certainly my biggest cause for concern you understand.

And I've certainly had lots going on recently!

Let me give you a bit of background on what Hep C is because,if your anything like me, up until I was diagnosed with it, I had absolutely no idea what it was.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that predominantly infects the cells of the liver. This can cause inflammation of and sometimes significant damage to the liver and affect its ability to perform its many, varied and essential functions. Although it has always been regarded as a liver disease (hepatitis means inflammation of the liver), recent research has shown that hepatitis C affects a number of other areas of the body including the digestive system, the lymphatic system, the immune system and the brain.

Hepatitis C was discovered in the 1980s when it became apparent that there was a new virus (not hepatitis A or B) causing liver damage. It was known as non-A non-B hepatitis until it was properly identified in 1989. A screening process was developed in 1991 that made it possible to detect it in blood samples. It is thus a relatively newly identified disease and there are still many aspects of it that are little or poorly understood.

There are an estimated 200 million people worldwide infected with hepatitis C but the level of infection, known as prevalence, varies widely from country to country. In some countries, such as Egypt it is over 10%; in the US it is believed to be nearly 2% and in northern Europe around 1%. Transmission is by contact with infected blood.

Hepatitis C is an RNA virus. RNA viruses mutate much more than DNA viruses. This ability to change makes it harder for the bodys immune system to locate and destroy them. In hepatitis C there are 7 major variations of the virus, known as genotypes and labelled 1 to 7. Different genotypes predominate in different parts of the world. One genotype cannot change into another but it is possible, although rare, to be infected with more than one genotype at the same time.

A hepatitis C infection can be categorised into two stages, firstly an acute infection (following initial infection) and secondly a chronic infection. The acute stage refers to the first 6 months of infection and does not necessarily mean there are any noticeable symptoms. Approximately 20% of those infected with hepatitis C will naturally clear the virus from their body and experience no long-term affects from the infection. However, for the remaining 80% a chronic (long-term) infection will develop.

The course of a chronic hepatitis C infection is extremely varied and unpredictable. Many people experience very few symptoms for long periods, sometimes decades. Others can be very symptomatic from the beginning. Equally, some people will progress to develop fibrosis and cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer or end stage liver disease, which may ultimately require a liver transplant, while others experience very little liver damage even after many years. Confusingly there seems to be no clear relationship between the degree of liver damage and the experience of symptoms.

Because of the common absence of symptoms, many people are unaware that they have a hepatitis C infection until some time after infection. Another reason so many people with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed is that many of the symptoms are subjective, at least in severity, and easy to put down to something else. So, for example, depression, fatigue, skin problems, insomnia, pain and digestive disorders could all have other causes. For these reasons hepatitis C is often referred to as the silent epidemic.

Drug treatment to eradicate the virus has advanced greatly in the last few years with success rates now around 50% for genotype 1 and 80% for genotypes 2 and 3. However, the treatment can have significant side effects and is not suitable for everyone. A vaccine remains a long way off.

All information supplied by:


A little victory in my big war! Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog-Post

Friday, 4 December 2009

Diary Post

This post is longer than my usual ramblings, but I wanted to share with you what’s been going on over the last few months, so pull up a chair and have a listen to ‘my world’

Ok, so I’ve made it onto the transplant list, which was no mean feat in itself. When I look back to the time when I was diagnosed up until this moment, it seems like I’ve travelled a very long road.

However, I never thought I’d have to prove my ‘worthiness’ to receive treatment, that’s for sure. I believed that we all paid national insurance contributions so that access was an automatic right in Britain, right? Wrong!

I’m not going to start ranting about the NHS here. I believe their policy on this is fair and just. But I want to share what the implications of this meant to me.

Let me explain. A week or so ago I was at St. James Hospital in Leeds. Sitting in front of me was a specialist nurse eyeing me calmly, whilst I was fast losing any composure I’d had and I was beginning to cry like a child.

She’d only asked me how I’d been since I last saw her. As I started to talk I could feel my emotions rising up inside of me. My eyes became glazed and I could feel a lump growing in my throat, until I found that I couldn’t utter another word.

She’d last seen me when I was first referred to the specialist liver unit at St. Jimmy’s. Up until that point I was still working (to a fashion), we’d sold our pubs, but most importantly, I was still drinking! Not as much as I had done once, admittedly, but that was more because I felt so bloody awful every time I did.

I was admitted to one of the wards and within a couple of hours of arriving I was connected to all manner of pipes, drips and monitors. My abdomen, legs and ankles had ‘blown up’ with ‘fluid’ so as a matter of urgency I was connected to a ‘drain’. They siphoned off twenty-three litres of a thick, yellowy, vile looking fluid over the course of the first day.

For me this was a huge relief. I no longer had this massive pressure around my torso and lower body that made me feel like I was about to split open at any moment. It seemed like it had actually been trying to choke me, making my breathing heavy and laboured. And now that had all gone. Relief. I felt as light as a feather and free to tackle just about anything again.

Over the course of the next few days, I was subjected to all manner of tests, scans and cardiographs. In fact, any medical test that I may need before they would even consider whether I was fit enough for a liver transplant operation. However, that was the easy part! Next up was the psychological stuff, the bit where they start to look inside your head.

This was the first time that I met the specialist nurse. Her official title was the ‘Specialist Substance Abuse Nurse’. Now, like me, you probably have visions of drug addicts or desperate alcoholics floating around in your head. I didn't consider myself to be in either of these categories and so I met the nurse with bemusement. However I knew that in order to receive any further treatment I would have to answer her questions.

She started off by asking me when was the last time that the drink? I told her that it had been at least a couple of months, this was a lie. She shuffled through some papers until she found one which she started to read. A minute or two later she let out a sigh, took off her glasses and placed them on the table in front of her. “Mr. Quill, these are the results from your most recent blood tests. According to these you are still drinking.” she exhaled as she picked up the glasses. Mr. Quill, are you aware that we operate an absolute zero tolerance policy? Are you aware that if we believe you're still drinking then we will withdraw treatment immediately?” she looked at me indignantly and waited for a reply.

I paused for a moment whilst I took stock, I felt like I had just been attacked for my way of life. “That's very easy for you to say” I decided my best form of defence was attack. “It's not been that easy. My whole world revolves around alcohol. That’s what I do, I’m the pub landlord, and I sell alcohol. When I was diagnosed with hepatitis c do you know what that did? It took my world, shook it, turned it on its head and smashed it on the floor. Now I'm left to pick up the pieces and the only constants that I have left is my family and alcohol. I lost my business, my friends, my livelihood and everything else that goes with being a licensee. I loved my job and I was good at it”.

“I got the virus when I was a kid, probably 19 or 20, when I was foolish and reckless. I dug myself out of that hole alone and built a life for myself. I have a wife, kids, I built a good business but it wasn't just a business, it was my life. Then one day I started vomiting and shitting blood all over the place. And when I wake up in hospital, my doctor tells me I've got hep c. He tells me that just about everything I've done has been for nothing. Can you imagine what that feels like? I don't wake up in the mornings, sweating and shaking, needing a drink. I never have, I drink because that's my job. True, I love having a drink as much as I love my job, but one without the other is no use.” I tell her.

As she looked at me, I could see that I had started to break down her hard exterior however, not enough to change anything. She looked troubled. “Mr. Quill, whilst I understand, as I said, we operate a zero tolerance policy on alcohol. We can't give a liver that has been donated, and watch somebody destroy it.”

At that moment I realised my life would never be the same again. She told me that my case would be heard again in six months and that during that time I would be called for random alcohol tests to ensure that I had, as I said, completely given up alcohol.

So six months on and I’m sitting in front of her trying hard to control my tears and my emotions. Not because I had given up and hit the bottle or somehow gone completely off the rails. But because I told her how, for the second time in my life, I had turned it around again. How I’d given up so many things that I had held so dear, including the booze and my way of life. I told her how, with all the pain I felt everyday and my emotions all over the place, I had built a plan for the future. I told her how this time, I’d achieved this only with the help and support of my family.

This was the point when I started to cry like a child. Tears were streaming down my face as I spoke of Mandy’s relentless support and how I just had to look at my two kids playing together for inspiration.

But more than this, I told her that for motivation in my darkest hours, I imagined how my widow would try to explain to my two little orphans why their Daddy would never be coming home.

Silence descended on the room except for my stifled bursts and then, after a few moments my nurse gathered herself and said “Well Mr. Quill, I have your test results here and it’s true to say no alcohol was detected.” I knew that they couldn’t say anything but that. “And I’m pleased to say that I have no reservations in recommending you to the transplant coordinators, however your case will, will go in front of the transplant team and it’s up to them.”

I left the hospital that day feeling physically and mentally drained. Now it was out of my hands, I’d done my bit but was it enough? Did I deserve the treatment more than the next man? My head was swimming and I knew it was going to be a full week before the panel sat to discuss cases.

That week was one of the longest I ever had had to endure. On the day of reckoning, I sat by the phone, not knowing whether to call them or wait to be called. As you can imagine, sods law ensured that everyone from double glazing to my Mother in Law called.

Eventually the phone rang and even before I got it to my ear I knew it was my case worker at the hospital. “Hi is that Ian?” “Yeah, hi, how ya’ doing?” I tried to control my trembling voice. “Yeah good thanks, Ian, I’ve got some really good news, if you can call it that” My heart lifted then sank as he spoke, what the hell did he mean by that? “Ian, I’ve just got out of a meeting for the Transplant Panel, you’ve been accepted to go on the transplant list, and I hope that’s what you wanted.” Again I was fighting back tears, but this time tears of joy. If he’d been stood in front of me now I would have been hugging and kissing him now in an explosion of euphoria. He carried on as I jumped around with a phone pressed to my ear. “It sounds like you’re pleased. I’ve got to say the panel was very impressed and proud of you. They really thought you’d come a long way. The nurse you saw last week well, I don’t know what you said to her but she loves you, couldn’t speak highly enough of you!” I think by this time hysteria had set in on both ends of the phone.

I was the only person at home so I rang Mandy and told her the great news, as you can imagine, my euphoria managed to relay what they had said my feelings about it all. Obviously she was as thrilled as I was and we would celebrate in some small way later when we were all home together.

As I got off the phone in the quiet of our home, I contemplated what this moment meant to me. I looked back at how far I’d come. My fight to get here and how, after this small victory, I could at last look forward to a future again. They say that everything happens for a reason and I believe that’s true. Maybe this is a chance to build a better future than I was going to get or expecting, maybe, after I win another small victory on another day


A letter to myself Hepatitis C (Hep C) Blog-Post

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Diary Post

Dear Ian,

So pleased to hear your good news; that you’ve finally been put forward for a liver transplant.

I know that options are limited and no-one would envy your situation, but this really is your last best hope. Try to look at it in the same way you once looked at life; a rare opportunity that should be seized and enjoyed to the full. That’s what made you so much fun to be around in the good old days!

Life can be a dirty game sometimes. Who could have foreseen you getting hep c during the heady days of your youth? Who would’ve believed that it would tear down the life you built for you and your beautiful family almost 25 years later?

You’re probably weary of it all at the moment, but that’s just the virus, not you! We both know that when they’ve finished ‘patching you up’, you’ll feel as good as new. Remember that song by Iggy Pop you used to love so much - Lust for Life, it was your anthem and will be again.

Don’t let the operation worry you too much, after all, what have YOU got to lose, if it’s your life then remember someone has all ready paid that price in order for you to prevail. Don’t let that be in vain.

If you believe in an afterlife (and I’m not sure you do), then at least I know that you wouldn’t be judged too harshly. To my mind, I believe you have acted always with the best of intentions at all times. Life just ‘skews’ things sometimes, however well meant.

If you don’t believe in religion as such, then believe in the people that you would leave behind. They have given you their love and their trust unconditionally; you owe it to them to give it your best shot.

I know you will have learned many cruel lessons from all of this but everything happens for a reason. It’s just change and change is a good thing that should be embraced. You should know by now to have a little faith and that it will be OK in the end.

If life is a roller coaster of highs and lows, then no doubt about it, you’re in a bit of a dip at moment. But boy, have you had some highs!

And if when you get to the end the line I ask if you’d like to go round again, I know you’d look at me with that same wide eyed anticipation you had as a young boy and say “Yes please!” and not change a thing.

Ian, just keep on doing what you’re doing, the rest will sort itself out.

p.s. She would never have slept with you in a million years if she knew
what I know about you!


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What Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C Information:

Hepatits C is a blood-borne viral disease which can cause liver inflamation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by blood-to-blood contact with infected person's blood. Many people with HCV infection have no symptoms and are unaware of the need to seek treatment. Hepatitis C infects an estimated 150-200 million people worldwide. It is the leading cause of liver Transplant...

Hepatitis C is an inflamation of the liver caused by infection with the Hepatitis C virus is one of the five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D & E. Hepatitis C was previousley known as non-A non-B hepatitis prior to isolation of the virus in 1989.

Symptoms of Acute Hepatitis C:

Acute Hepatitis C refers to first 6 months after infection with HCV. Remarkably, 60% - 70% of people develop no symptoms during the acute phase. In the minority of patients who experience acute phase symptoms, thet are generally mild and non-specific, and rarely lead to specific diagnoses of Hepatitis C. Symptoms of acute hepatitis C include decreased appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, itching and flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms of Chronic Hepatitis C:

Chronic Hepatitis C is defined as infection with the Hepatitis C virus persisting for more than six months. The course of chronic hepatitis C varies considerably from one person to another. Virtually all people infected with HCV have evidence of inflamation on liver biopsy however, the rate of progression of liver scarring (fibrosis) shows significant inter-individual variability.

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