Dad turned to drink during lockdown fight and now needs liver surgery to save lives
A father-of-four has been told he needs a liver transplant after turning to alcohol to help him through Covid lockdowns. Stephen Allcock sought solace in bottles of wine and whiskey when his haulage business closed and lost his best friend in a motorway crash.
The 57-year-old has gone from three bottles of wine a night to almost a bottle of whiskey a day. He was eventually diagnosed with ascites and liver failure and told he needed the transplant, StokeonTrentLive reports.
Stephen, from Fenton, said: ‘I’ve always been a social drinker. With the Covid lockdown everything was cut short and nothing happened at all.
“I went from a good deal to nothing overnight. I also had some issues in my family and instead of doing the right thing and addressing the issue, I just hit the bottle.
“My best friend in his fifties killed himself in an accident on M6. I had all this going on and it was one thing after another. I started with wine, then I I ended up moving on to stronger stuff like whiskey and gin.”
He added: “I was in a constant haze and never really got completely sober – I knew I had a serious problem. I buried myself in a bottle and that wasn’t the right way to go. . It was easier to have a drink and forget about everything.”
Stephen quickly fell ill after consuming large amounts of alcohol. He was taking laxatives – assuming he was constipated – but that didn’t ease the discomfort.
He eventually went to Royal Stoke University Hospital where he was diagnosed with ascites and liver failure. His condition means that due to his liver not working properly, his stomach is filling up with acidic fluid which he has to empty every two weeks.
In the future, he needs a liver transplant and is currently on a three to five year waiting list. He has not drunk alcohol since being diagnosed last year.
Stephen added: “It got to the stage where I was in agony and in so much pain. It was terrible. I was trying laxatives and painkillers to try to relieve him but nothing was working. I was begging for morphine, there was so much pain.
“When I drain, it’s between 10 and 12 liters of liquid and that’s a lot of weight. It’s like five two-liter bottles of coke coming out of you.
Reflecting on why he decided to quit drinking, Stephen added: “It was a case of quit or face the consequences. I decided that was it and I didn’t not touched a drop since.
“I’m a strong willed person and when I decide to do something, I will do it and going through the agony and pain that I went through, I thought I never wanted to go through that again.”
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you have mental health issues. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], confidential
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and will not appear on your bill
PAPYRUS: Voluntary organization to help suicidal teenagers and young adults. Telephone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to further information on its website
Students Against Depression: A website for depressed, moody, or suicidal students. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: a website for children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserable (CALM): for young men who feel unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
Stephen called on the hospital to set up a dedicated ward to enable more patients to be treated. Currently, hospital staff have the capacity to perform the procedure on one patient per day, but with this service they could treat up to four people per day.
Dr Zia Din, Consultant Acute and General Internal Medicine Physician and Clinical Lead for Ambulatory Emergency Care, said: “A nurse-led service is provided for patients with complex gastroenterological and liver disorders, where tests and specialized infusions can be done on the same day.
“This is currently managed in the outpatient emergency center but we are exploring possibilities of providing additional capacity in the gastro-hepatic unit.”
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