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The gift of life that’s born from a death

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Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets a brave young woman who received a liver transplant

Saranne Flaherty rang the Claregalway Hotel on Monday of the Galway Races in July 2011 to tell her employers that she was sick and couldn’t come in.

The 20-year-old was worried that they’d be annoyed with her for calling in sick on their busiest week of the year.  As it happened, that soon became the least of her worries. Within months she was crucially ill, waiting for a liver transplant.

Saranne, who had been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder two years previously, had been complaining of abdominal pains over that weekend in July 2011.

Initially she reckoned it was a pulled muscle, but her doctor referred her to UHG. He was worried she might have a clot on her lung, because of the location of the pain. From UHG she was sent to Merlin Park where she spent two and a half weeks, undergoing CAT scans and MRIs to try and locate the cause of the problem.

Eventually she was told that there was a clot on the hepatic vein, leading into her liver, and it was causing a blockage – a rare condition known as Budd-Chiari syndrome. It was caused by a combination of her auto-immune condition, which results in excessive bleeding, and the contraceptive pill which she was taking for menstrual problems.

Two attempts to surgically remove the clot here in Galway failed and Saranne was told she would have to go to Dublin’s St Vincent’s Hospital, or possibly to Birmingham for further treatment.

That was late August, by which time the pain had abated. Because she didn’t display all the symptoms of the condition, and since her liver was still functioning, she was sent home. But she knew this was a temporary respite and by late October, the pain returned. In addition, her stomach started swelling up and she became very sick.

In November Saranne was sent to St Vincent’s for a non-surgical procedure known as TIPS which creates new connections to the veins serving the liver. Had it succeeded, it would have removed the need for surgery.

The procedure was delayed when she got an infection, so it didn’t take place until three weeks later. During that time, she kept hearing the specialists say that TIPS would solve her problems “if” it worked. She didn’t dwell too much on what would happen if it didn’t.

Her mother, Patricia, spent most of her time with Saranne – fortunately for her daughter, she was a nurse and understood most of what was going on. They were lucky in that Patricia is originally a Dubliner and could stay in her family home. Saranne’s father, Gerry, was also there but he found it especially tough, she recalls.

The first thing Saranne asked when she woke up after the TIPS procedure was ‘did it work?’ only to be told it hadn’t.

“There was a nurse at the end of my bed preparing her notes, so I thought this is bad,” Saranne recalls.

By now it was early December and she was very sick. Her liver and kidneys had started to fail, because all the other veins in her liver had also clotted. She was moved to Intensive Care where she was put on a dialysis machine and fed via a tube.

On the third of December, 2011, Saranne’s specialist told her she needed a liver transplant. She asked how long she’d be in hospital waiting for this and was told it could be “days, weeks or months”.

“By then I was too sick to care and I said ‘do whatever’,” she says.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

 

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A man lies on a bed of nails at the opening of Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, on October 26, 1972

1921

Silence is golden

Leaders on both sides have stated that the best assistance the country can give in the making of peace is to keep silence.

During the past week there has been a great deal of speculation, most of it harmless enough, as, for instance, the enterprising American journalist’s “exclusive” on the first meeting of the British Premier and the President of the Irish Republic; much of it positively mischievous, as the case of the efforts of a certain journal, which has grown hoary in the reputation for throwing in the apple of discord, to anticipate failure in advance.

Our American colleague was on surer and on safer ground when he told of how de Valera and Lloyd George met.

“Mr. Lloyd George,” he cabled, “was sitting at his desk when the Irish President entered. For just a minute these two gazed fixedly at one another. Then the British Premier walked across the intervening space and shook de Valera by the hand. He led him to a seat where they sat side by side. The atmosphere was tense. They faced one another. Then Lloyd George reached down for a box of cigars. But the Irish President is of Spartan mould. He neither permits himself to drink nor smoke. He politely but firmly waved the box away. Mr. Lloyd George, however, selected and lighted a Havana, and as the smoke curled upwards the atmosphere became decidedly easier!”

Good planning

The wise and practical man always lays by a store against the time when supplies will be scarce. One of the most serious effects of the prolonged drought is the scarcity of supplies of fodder for cattle-feeding during the coming winter and spring.

The hay crop is not more than half the average yield. The corn crop is far below normal. Turnips in many districts are a partial failure. We have frequently emphasised the importance of growing catch-crops to supplement other feeding stuffs raised on the farm, but it is only under circumstances such as the present that their utility is brought home to farmers. Owing to the early harvest, a larger area than is usual can and should be put down this season. This would make good, to some extent, at least, the shortage of hay and other feeding-stuffs.

The demonstration plots laid down by the County Committee of Agriculture have shown that catch-crops, such as vetches and rye as well as other mixtures, can be successfully grown in all parts of County Galway.

We would urge on farmers the desirability – nay, the necessity – of procuring seed and making early preparation for the sowing of an increased area of catch-crops this season.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Country Living

A weekly peep into wacky and wonderful world of country life

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In the mid-1970s, JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY was a schoolboy with a camera who had an eye for the unusual shots. He took this picture outside McDonagh’s Thatch Bar in Oranmore of a gentleman taking a break from the rigours of life, with the Connacht Tribune poster on the window and also note the weekly Woman’s Choice magazine on the other side. In those days, ‘print was king’.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s most unusual these days in the newspaper game to get anything in the post. Everything pops in on the email  . . . we’re all hopping in and out of Google every few minutes . . . and of course if the mobile is more than a metre away from our person, it’s as if we’re standing naked in a crowded church.

Anyway, last week, a handwritten envelope arrived from the current editor of the Tuam Herald, David Burke, who I soldiered with for a number of years back in the 1980s, which included a copy of an old column I had written for The Herald, back in January of 1984.

The column was called Country Scene and was written under the pen name of Pierce Ploughman, a king of play of words (I think) on a famous late 14th century poem called Piers Plowman and written by a William Langland, dealing with the quest for the true Christian life.

At the time one of the reasons for the pen name was that it would allow me to write a bit more anonymously about some of the characters I’d meet on the highways and byways of country life, but of course after the first column or two, my cover was blown.

One of the jolts we all get from looking back at things from the past is of course that realisation that time seems to have slipped so quickly – almost as in the blink of an eye.

The column David Burke sent to me, and written over 37-years ago, actually jogged a little memory tributary in my brain. I could remember writing it and I could remember the local character it was based on too, thankfully still alive, hale and hearty.

His name in the column was Malachy and like Pierce Ploughman of course it wasn’t his real one and his novelty in his trait of never being quite able to make up his mind about anything. One of Malachy’s dilemmas was summed up in this extract from the Country Scene column of January 7, 1984:

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Novel book offers solace for persistent pain sufferers

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Dr Monty Lyman

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from persistent pain, listen up.  A new book by a junior doctor in the UK promises to offer solace. “Everything we think we know about pain is wrong. By ‘we’, I mean us as a society; I mean most people in and outside the medical establishment. We misunderstand the nature of pain and this misunderstanding is ruining the lives of millions.”

In his second book, The Painful Truth, Dr Monty Lyman, 28, reveals that he has been cured of longstanding and occasionally severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through hypnotherapy.

“Hypnosis was something I never heard mentioned at medical school and something I previously sneered at, but my own pain relief has been near miraculous.”

Imagining “his bowels changing from rocky rapids to the languid Oxfordshire Thames” had the most powerful effect.

Working in Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals, he declares that pain is a protector – “this truth is forming the foundation of a pain revolution”. Understanding this ultimately relieves pain.

He recalls the moment when his interest in pain first began. He was playing cricket on a beach when a hook became lodged in his foot.

“But the pain I felt fluctuated wildly, despite the issue in the tissue not changing one bit. The pain began when I saw the offending object protruding from my foot, was diminished by the presence of impressed onlookers, grew worse when I was on my own, and even more so when I visualized the angles needed for the hook’s exit strategy. The seed in my mind grew into a fundamental truth: pain is clearly not a direct measure of injury. Hurt does not equal harm.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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