Clothier, WV man fearful of tap water following lung transplant - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Clothier, WV man fearful of tap water following lung transplant

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Joey and Irene Bishop are avoiding the tap water for now. Joey and Irene Bishop are avoiding the tap water for now.
CLOTHIER, WV -

After close to a decade of being bound to oxygen tanks for his survival, a double lung transplant gave Clothier, WV resident Joey Bishop his life back.

But Bishop and his wife Irene said what would have been an otherwise joyous homecoming has been dampened by the water crisis.

In the small southern West Virginia community where they live, the Bishop home stands out. The fence and lawn are decorated with red streamers and hearts. The brisk wind had carried away parts of the colorful posters that said "welcome home Joey."

The couple left for Pittsburgh in a rush at the end of November when the hospital called and said they had a set of lungs ready for Joey's transplant. Thursday they returned home for the first time since his surgery.

They had hoped to get back into their daily routine. But they are now fearful of the water coming from their tap.

"I won't even let him brush his teeth with that water. I use bottled water for him," said Irene Bishop.

She has gallon jugs on the counters in the kitchen and the bathroom. The refrigerator is stocked with small bottles.

"We don't even trust it for the cat," Irene said, pointing to a special jug off to the side, where she is keeping water for their cat Bugs.

Joey said he is thankful for the chance he has been given. Because of that he said he is not willing to take any risks.
 
"I have been through enough. I'll not drink the water. Even if they do tell you you could drink it I still wouldn't trust it," Joey said.

Irene said she feels responsible for this phase of her husband's recovery. She won't drink the water for fear that it will make her too sick to care for Joey.

She said she knew she would have to watch out for germs and infection but never thought she would have to protect him from the water.  

"This is our home. We just want clean drinking water," Irene said.