I've had many problems in my early life, but now I also thank God that he is keeping me relatively well. Because, in spite of the fact that I have MS, in these past 22 years I have also had to deal with brucellosis, diabetes and now also cancer.
But in spite of these thorns in my flesh I've been fortunate to receive excellent medical care, from my wife and our National Health Service.
Many times I've been admitted into hospital, and have witnessed how dreadfully ill some folk are.
The longest stay I've had at one time was 6 weeks, after a nasty MS relapse. When I have a relapse, my diabetes goes haywire. On that occasion my blood diabetes sugar tests went from 8 up to 48! But it's an ill wind that blows only bad things.
On othis occasion I'd been completely confined to bed and my excellent District Nurse had come every day to attend to me. I was stubbornly refusing to obey her order to go into hospital, telling her that it was pointless my as there was nothing that they could do there.
One morning I asked my wife Marg if she would bring my beloved pipe into my bedroom, telling her that if I should start coughing, she could have it straight back. Marg brought my pipe for me and as soon as I lit it I started coughing, so of course I could not smoke.
The following morning I was completely immobilised and only semi conscious. I couldn't do anything and an ambulance had to come and take me into hospital for this 6-week stay. When I was taken in, a nurse came every 2 hours for 3 days and nights to attend to me. I would just be falling asleep and the nurse would call me for another blood test and injection.
But they managed to stabilise the diabetes. I also had an intravenous insulin injection.
When I eventually came back home I straight away asked my wife for my pipe. She told me that one day when she went into town she had seen an old man who looked miserable, cold and poor. So she gave him my 3 pipes, my tobacco and my brand new gas electronic lighter that a friend had brought home for me! The ruddy lot! Gone!
The best thing that she has ever done for me was making me give up smoking.
Prior to this as I was such a heavy pipe smoker. Quite frankly, I would have walked through our town without my pants, but never without my pipe!
Now, nearly 4 years later, I am very much an anti-smoker, and it annoys me when I see, even on modern films, young people smoking, making it look 'cool' to smoke.