Three Liver Buddies sitting on a bench after going for a walk together with their dogs

Liver Buddies getting out and about post-lockdown

BY KATHERINE WALCOT

Most members of the South West Liver Buddies are patients either with a liver condition/ disease or with a liver transplant. This has therefore had us all in the Government’s ‘vulnerable’ category throughout 2020-21 and many of us have been shielding and sometimes isolating for months on end. Some of us have been meeting on ‘zoom’ to chat and compare stories and have a bit of fun through difficult times and it is wonderful now to start getting out and about a bit more and put some 3D shape to the names and faces. I’ve often posted on our Facebook group when I have appointments in hospital and it’s been great to meet with others on a bench outside or waiting for bloods to chat and support each other on the journey. Obviously it’s important to describe what you’re wearing so people can recognise each other! I wonder if I should carry a large liver textbook to help with that or maybe make my own T-shirt – “Hi, I’ve had a liver transplant, come and chat to me” but so far, we’ve managed quite well.

I have personally loved meeting up with a couple of Liver Buddies for gentle walks on Dartmoor and hope that we can organise more as a group, obviously with the prospect of tea and cake at the end! I’d love to arrange a walk or two in the Autumn in different areas so that buddies all over the South West can join. It would be so lovely to meet more of our growing group as well as the friends and family who support us. It would also be a great way to keep safe as we can stay outside and leave a distance for anyone still feeling a little unsafe in meeting others. Hopefully a little walk would also blow away the cobwebs of cabin fever and those not up to walking could possibly join us for tea and cake! Just an idea for getting together.

In the meantime, I am usually in clinic once a month on a Wednesday morning wearing a bright green coat (the colour of scrubs!) and carrying a hessian Union Jack patterned bag which holds all my hospital notes and files! If you spot me, you can now say ‘hi’ for a chat (or hide!). I’m looking forward to meeting more Liver Buddies in person and sharing our stories, symptoms, fears and joys.

Join our online community group to chat to others in a similar situation.

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