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BONNIE ESTRIDGE: It was not the drink that caused the problem, I was told by doctors, but alcohol strained the liver so I had to give mine a rest. And on closer inspection I probably drank too much

I gave up the drink. All on doctor's prescription. I haven't touched a drop for more than a month, and I'd lie if I said I didn't miss it. What have I done to earn this?

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Well, earlier this year, during one of my regular hospital checkups – involving various blood tests, for which I am never entirely sure – the doctors told me they had found blood in my urine.

More tests followed, including a check where I had to undergo a scan. Anyway, it was decided that I probably had an infection, so I got antibiotics. But it didn't stop there. I then began to feel tired and listless, for no good reason. So it was back to the doctor.

More blood tests. Then I was sent back to be assessed at the hospital. Apparently my liver was not working as it should have been. One of the measurements should have said 40, but in my case it was more than 1500, which seemed to worry everyone.

BONNIE ESTRIDGE: It was not the drink that caused the problem, I was told by doctors, but alcohol strained the liver so I had to give mine a rest. And on closer inspection I probably drank too much

BONNIE ESTRIDGE: It was not the drink that caused the problem, I was told by doctors, but alcohol strained the liver so I had to give mine a rest. And on closer inspection I probably drank too much

The general consensus was that it was due to antibiotics. I also use statins that are known to have an effect on the liver – although I have been using them without problems for more than a decade, so it was unlikely that this would be the case. Interestingly enough, the medication I use for The A Word was also not a concern.

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The result was that my long-suffering husband Chris and I decided that I would hit the drinking head, at least now.

It was not the drink that caused the problem, I was told by doctors, but alcohol taxed the liver so I had to give mine a rest. And on closer inspection I probably drank too much.

I would drink a glass of wine, maybe two, most evenings. And sometimes I would have one for lunch. I was not lush, and I have never been. These things just sneak you into the trap.

I enjoy a drink and I will certainly do it again, but for the time being I am teetotal. Now of course there must be a fluid of some description to lubricate the throat. So I have found some great alternative tipples.

I have tried non-alcoholic wine, but frankly it is repulsive.

At the top of my list is Waitrose Sparkling Cucumber and Lemonade Refresher. So there is a bottle of it in my fridge. There is also one of something with Sicilian blood orange, and another chic soda with raspberries. Oh, and a few cans of diet coke.

My most recent blood test, last week, shows that my liver is functioning normally again. But I don't think I'll start the wine again. At least not yet.

BONNIE ESTRIDGE: I enjoy a drink and I will do it again, I know for sure, but for the time being I am teetotal. Now of course there must be a fluid of some description to lubricate the throat. So I have found some great alternative tippels (photo, stock image)
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BONNIE ESTRIDGE: I enjoy a drink and I will do it again, I know for sure, but for the time being I am teetotal. Now of course there must be a fluid of some description to lubricate the throat. So I have found some great alternative tippels (photo, stock image)

BONNIE ESTRIDGE: I enjoy a drink and I will do it again, I know for sure, but for the time being I am teetotal. Now of course there must be a fluid of some description to lubricate the throat. So I have found some great alternative tippels (photo, stock image)

In other news, when I read the newspaper last week, I came across a story about Tommy the turtle, who celebrated her (yes, Tommy is a woman) 121st birthday. She is apparently the oldest pet in Britain. And I realized that while I often talk about my dog ​​Benny – who is so smart, he can find his guidance if I have forgotten where I left it – I had never mentioned Stan, my own old turtle.

We have Stan and another turtle, Hilda, from a pet store in the eighties. My daughters were small and insisted that it was a good idea, and such things were legal at the time. After a few months, Stan laid some eggs and we realized that he was in fact a she.

Do not ask me about the mechanisms of all this, or how Stan became pregnant – I know nothing about the sex life of turtles. At that time I called London Zoo to ask them what to do with the eggs. They told them to warm them up somewhere. But they were never hatched. Hilda later became blind and we brought her to the vet who adopted her.

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But Stan stayed with us, and although the girls have left the house, she pours around the garden and eats lettuce. Little gem is her favorite. She often jumps in and follows Benny and our cat Alfie (also a girl, we discovered after thinking the opposite – I like to see them as my gender-liquid zoo) who are very happy with the company.

Stan was about 40, we were told when we got her, so she's an old bird now. I don't think she could live in her hundredth – every winter she starts to bury herself in leaves and we know it's time to put her in her hibernation box. And she wakes up every spring. She keeps struggling, and I think this is something we can all learn from.

Do turtles get dementia? If anyone knows, please write to me.

Share your experiences with Bonnie at bonnie.estridge@mailonsunday.co.uk or write her on Health Desk, The Mail on Sunday, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT

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