Cliff’s story

Until 27-12-2012 I was living in Wrexham & had my own retail shop since January 2003.

On 8-10-2012 I woke up with jaundice.

Got an appointment with my GP the next day who referred me to the Maelor hospital.

Not hearing anything after 2 weeks & the doctors surgery saying I had to follow up the appointment. I decided to go private to Spire–Yale after the a phone call to the Maelor confirmed they had my referral but were unable to process it due to work overload. It would probably be 5-7 weeks before I could get an appointment. Initially at Spire-Yale things moved quickly with the 1st consultant who organised an Ultrascan.

He then referred me to another consultant & this is when things became exceptionally slow. I never received any LFT’s & only a CT scan indicating cirrhosis. The consultant then arranged for an MRi scan 18-12-2012 when he was at a conference & then annual leave until the new year. I asked for it to be 4-1-2013.

I then went back to my GP &  explained I was unhappy with the consultant & that I was very poorly, which he commented on. He wouldn’t refer me to A & E but insisted I return to the consultant in the New Year. All this time I was jaundiced, getting weaker, couldn’t eat solid foods, broken sleep patterns, severe leg cramps & swollen abdomen.

Visting my son, Craig, for Christmas my condition simply got unbearable. After calling NHS Direct I went to a walk in clinic at Cricklewood  & was immediately sent to Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead Heath on 27-12-2012 & discharged 27-1-2013.

My retail business struggled in Wrexham as I was now permanently based in London for treatment. I was & still am an outpatient in the hepatology clinic. Initially I was going every 2 weeks. I have constant blood samples being taken & I’ve had repeat CT, Ultrascans & liver bioposies. At one point whilst in Hospital I was considered for a liver transplant & went through the appraisal system. I may still need a liver transplant in the future if the meds are unable to keep my condition stable.

I was forced to close my Shop July 2013. Simply couldn’t run it with part time staff whilst I was in London. I was only well enough to go to work in November 2013 even though it is a struggle at times. It was extremely hard to tell family & friends what was wrong with me.

Immediately they think you are an alcoholic or drug user. Or they think you had unprotected sex or a back road tattoo. I was never a big drinker but I gave up drinking in September 2012.

March 2018: I’ve just returned from a hepatology review in the Royal Free, also had a Doppler ultrasound scan last week, little or no change in liver size or cirrhosis. No more flares. A little anaemic so some further tests being organised. Also an endoscopy being booked, hopefully all is OK, considering where I was 5 years ago, things are going really well. I was weaned off prednisolone 18 months ago, just on azathioprine now. I’m still working full time as a London bus driver. Working all sorts of hours; I won a Gold award at the 2017 UK Bus Awards in November 2017. I’m very proud of this award as I am new to this industry & there are only 21 Gold awards issued.

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