Naomi Judd: Rockin' the hep C since 1990

Naomi Judd: Rockin' the hep C since 1990

Well actually, she's been cured since 1995, but on this day in history, 1990 (well actually, in two days from now in 1990), Naomi Judd of mother-daughter country act The Judds announced that she would be retiring from performing because she was ill with hepatitis.

So you got all that straight? Naomi no longer has hepatitis though I said she was still rockin' it. I mean, she is still rockin' it - girlfriend looks good at 63, what with her fiery red hair! But she's no longer rockin' the hep C. And it was not on this day in history, 1990, that she announced she would be retiring - it was on October 17th. On thiiiiiis daaaaaay in hiiiiiistory just sounds better.

Sigh. I'll never make a very good journalist.

Anyway, this day was pretty significant for me, at nine years old, because my dad watched the preview of whatever television show Naomi was going to appear on to discuss the announcement of her illness and the fact that it was forcing her to take a break. On it, she must've said something about how she'd rather dance naked in front of a bar full of truckers than have to give up performing. Least, that's how I remember it. Anyway, my dad was going on about how he had to watch the show. "Why fer, Pa?" He wasn't that big on The Judds. He didn't watch entertainment news. He watched boxing and hunting shows and Johnny Carson. "Well, in case she takes her shirt off. I wanna see it."

Naomi Judd: Rockin' the hep C since 1990

On thiiiiiiis day in hiiiiiiiiiiiistory, my dad became a sexual being in my young mind. I did some growing up. "Gross, Dad."

Well, Naomi didn't take her shirt off, but she did retire until about ten years later when she reunited with her daughter Wynonna to record a last single. The two have periodically performed since then. And now I'm taking the significance of this day's (ahem, Saturday's) history as my opportunity, on this li'l soapbox, to edjakate y'all about hep C, so y'all's don't get it. Because being responsible and healthy in lovin', doin' drugs and gettin' inked up (all modes of transmission) is important to me. Oh, and I'm gonna take this opportunity to turn you on to The Judds. Because, you know, I just feel I have to.

Mama, she's crazy!

No I ain't. I'm being deadly serious here.   There are five types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, E, F, G (oh, I got carried away there for a second - consider that your alphabet learnin' for today). Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hep C virus. While it can be asymptomatic, it can eventually damage your liver, causing cirrhosis and sometimes liver cancer or failure.

The virus itself is spread by blood-to-blood contact - dirty needles, infected blood transfusions, organ transplants, tatttoos with dirty needles, piercing with dirty needles, unprotected sex and so on. Once discovered (and Naomi suggests that if you have experienced any of the above, you should get tested) it can be cured with a combination of drugs that interfere with the virus, as well as by maintaining a healthy diet, sleeping well and eliminating (shoot!) alcohol.

Now that you're worried about your liver, I'm gonna turn you on to The Judds. Naomi was born in the rural south and had two children, Wynonna (the one with the pretty voice) and Ashley (uh, the pretty one) before getting divorced and relocating to California, where she worked as a secretary for The 5th Dimension while working out her wedding bell blues and working on her nursing degree. Cute, huh?

After she completed nursing school, the Judds moved to Nashville and Naomi and Wynonna's singing caught the attention of local producers. Ashley, not to leave her out, went on to star in such fine cinematic productions as Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Double Jeopardy and Kiss the Girls.

Okay let's be honest. Those aren't good movies. Ashley's a mediocre actress. The Judds, while wildly popular in the 80s, were a pretty mediocre act. But listenin' to 'em really takes me back, I tell you what. And I really just wanted to talk about a sexually transmitted infection, because as we approach the weekend, it's always good to remember to use a rubber. Ew. My mom called 'em rubbers. When she started talking about rubbers, I really knew I'd grown.

So my friends, use condoms, use clean needles, see that you take care of your body so you don't need an organ transplant, y'hear? And give this a listen, it's a good tune and a reminder that "Why not you? One in fifty Americans have hepatitis C. Why not you?!?"

As you go about your weekend, keep Naomi's music in your heart, and her lesson in your mind.

Did that all scare you a might bit? Oh stop being a baby. Ask Grandpa to tell you 'bout the good ole days.

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