Dear Alarm Family,
I’m writing to you from my home in Dyserth, North Wales and want to thank each and everyone of you for the thousands of heartfelt messages sent to me following my diagnosis with pneumonia just three weeks ago.
Each day while I have been recuperating, Jules has read out to me, all the messages posted on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks, and every single one of them has deeply touched me and given me so much inspiration to recover strongly and get back to playing music again.
In fact, the recovery process began as soon as I left hospital with the shock news about pneumonia! It was the last thing I was expecting to hear from the medical team, especially as I had been seen and checked out in person at the Alaw Unit in Bangor Hospital just a few weeks earlier!
The problem was that I just kept getting worse with every passing day, I don’t really know how I made it through the tour as I was coughing all day and waking up drowned in night sweats, I can’t thank Jules enough for nursing me through those days on tour but to experience the shows as I did, is something I would not have wanted to miss in all the world.
It is why I was so devastated at having to postpone the New York shows, but walking 1 kilometre each day (as I have been allowed and encouraged to do since I was sent home), is a completely different proposition to jumping on an airplane and rocking out on the other side of the Atlantic with The Alarm.
I want to again thank each and everyone of you for checking in with Jules’s posts about my progress, and to everyone who has sent books, made film recommendations and new music suggestions and also offered up daily inspirational quotes. All of this has helped me get closer to recovering the spirit and life force that has been ravaged by the pneumonia.
I still have a long way to go, but the walks are starting to get longer (“Thank the lord for that”, says Ziggy Stardust our Golden Retriever who has been by my side each day). I’m certainly feeling stronger with each passing moment and have now stopped having to take the three antibiotics that have helped me so far. I have been taking Clarithromycin, Amoxycillin and Co-Trimoxazol and they have helped reduce the coughing dramatically and also help me to recover my Oxygen Intake levels which were once hovering around the 80 mark (which is what set the Alarm bells ringing in the first place), and are now back to a relatively normal 99.
I still can’t believe that only 3 weeks ago this evening, I sang and performed 36 songs for fans gathered for The Alarm Staycation and and Big Night In Recording at The Chapel / Red in Dyserth (looking back, I sound so out of breathe when speaking during the show……). It was on the Monday morning that I really felt like I had to do something as I was still getting worse not better. I wrote forcefully to my GP practice and demanded a face to face meeting (up to that point I had received telephone consultations and been prescribed four individual sets of antibiotics but nothing was working…… the drugs obviously helped me get through the tour, but were not getting to the root of the main problem). As soon as I sat down with my GP, she took my oxygen and pulse beat readings, and both were low (I have always had a super low heart reading but the Oxygen levels were of real concern).
Dr. Griffiths suggested that I may have a blood clot on my lung so sent me immediately to Glan Clwyd Hospital’s SDEC, where I was given all manner of tests and scans. A few hours later, Doctor Black and his team burst into the consolation room with the good news that I didn’t have a blood clot but that I did have pneumonia!! I couldn’t believe it. I was given immediate treatment and allowed to come home to recover rather than stay in hospital. The other good news was that the blood test I had undertaken, revealed that my white count was also recovering. My white count had been recorded at over 30, since just before the Rhyl Town Hall shows (which was probably due to the infection beginning) Incredibly, four sets of anti-biotics that had been prescribed through ‘over the phone consultations’ had helped keep the pneumonia manageable up to the point of discovery.
Once again, I count myself lucky to have such incredible care from the NHS medical staff and team members here in North Wales. I am grateful for the love, hope and strength sent my way from people all over the world and indebted to the support and loving care from my immediate family, from Jules, Dylan, Evan, Peter, Dorothy and my brother Steve (not forgetting Ziggy Stardust!). The well wishes from all my nearest and dearest friends and musicians who have all reached out with messages of care and support and to all of you who have helped me on this new road to recovery which I intend to follow all the way and do whatever it takes to regain my full health and strength!
These past few weeks, I have spent my time resting and soaking up the beautiful North Wales sunshine while listening to lots of music, and yes – I have been playing guitar and working on some new songs but I don’t ever consider that working!!!! I am basically about to embark on a couch to 5K training program to help recover my fitness and strength. From Monday, I aim to visit the studio and sing a few songs each day as I want to keep all my musical faculties in working order too.
I am firmly set on making the most of this time to recharge and renew and comeback stronger when the time is right, and I can tell it won’t be too long. There will be small steps and some easing back into my musical life through the rest of 2022 and by 2023 when The Gathering comes about I want to be back to peak fitness and ready to rock like never before.
Thanks for standing with me at this time. It means more than you will ever know.
Love, Hope and Strength,