Going Cold Turkey

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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Usually, I’ve got a fair idea of where I’m headed in my column.

This time, I really don’t.

I’m confronting something. Maybe nothing.

It’s as clear as the cliché involving wet, clingy earth.

For the first time since the last week in November 2017, I’ve stopped taking antibiotics. That’s not so much a course as a semester!

Three days out and a urinary tract infection (UTI) appears. This bit is graphic: Urgency. I actually dribble urine, which is highly unusual for someone who has to self-catheterize. It’s cloudy and smells of well-dead fish! Sorry. Oh, and the urinalysis I do at home shows my leukocytes are really high, and the color of my nitrites are off the charts. If it’s a false-positive — the same measures came out twice.

A wee bit of DIY. (Courtesy of John Connor)

Normally, I’d start shoveling antibiotics, which I’ve historically done just to get by. It has gotten to the stage where I’m not sure the medical authorities really believe my urinalysis results. Which is fair enough, because I’m not sure I even believe them myself.

The plan is to have community nurses visit tomorrow to do a blood test.

Up to now, my body has been so topped up by antibiotics that the results have pointed to there being nothing wrong with me. As author Joseph Heller so finely analyzed it, it’s a catch-22.

Luckily, the general practitioner who came ’round to visit last week had the tenacity to negotiate her way ’round this. Catch-22, in its very formulation, is nonnegotiable, so I’m very impressed by her fortitude. Unable to move, I was admitted to the hospital, where I received standard blood tests. What I needed was for my blood to be cultured (cue classical string quartet!). This involves special bottles and all sorts of shenanigans that are beyond my pay grade. But she managed to convince the powers that be that I should have it done as an outpatient.

This was so unusual that last Friday, staff had to be summoned and the requisite apparatus gathered from other parts of the hospital. At one point, the person designated to transport the bottles got a strict “no shaking” instruction.

Now I’m in the purgatory of an MS spike because I’ve got an infection, but I’m toughing it out.

So far, I can still pull myself upright using my trusty bedpost, and transfer to my commode (Denice Hodgson made me say it! See the comments below last week’s column).

It’s hardly a catchphrase, but I’m going to start using it: “Things could be worse.”


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Kathy avatar


I always say someone somewhere else is dealing with much more. I am sorry for any man that endures this disease. It's quite unrelenting for many men.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

More women get MS than men - it's unrelenting for all of us. Hey-ho....

Kevin Keplinger avatar

Kevin Keplinger

Check for BK virus.


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