Running (Wheeling) on Empty

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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Arguments over nothing and everything are, in my experience, induced by extreme stress.

When my wife and I were at full bore working together, this often happened. Not at work — there wasn’t time — and we were professional. Domestically, what little downtime we had would often be spent apart, which may have saved our marriage.

Now, this real escape valve is no longer possible. I’m trapped in by my recent MS relapse and my wife is trapped looking after me.

We were bumbling along, working out these new parameters when life intruded. We are both 60, and as such, our parents have reached the age in which they need help. My mother went to a nursing home years ago. Her needs are extreme and would have been well beyond even my able-bodied self. My mother-in-law recently became very ill and has been hospitalized. The family has rallied ’round — luckily, there are a lot of them — and during visiting hours, someone always is present.

My wife now has two people to care for.

Meanwhile, on the day of the blowup, I was physically and mentally struggling. It was hot, so I definitely had reached the MS melting point. I was noodling around the internet looking in desperation at things like sourcing Prevotella histicola. It’s a naturally occurring teeth plaque that in mice has been shown to help quell the immune response. Unfortunately, more research revealed that taking Prevotella supplements may increase susceptibility to osteomyelitis, a painful condition of the bones accompanied by fever.

OK, so that’s a no, then.

Next, I had been listening to a podcast about taking psychedelics and suitably dived into the white rabbit hole of the internet to discover a natural African tree bark, Ibogaine, that is being used by some to treat MS. Now, I haven’t discovered any new drugs since my youngest son stopped his experimentation phase, so this was exciting. That is until a bit more digging led to evidence that it can be fatal. So, that’s a dead end.

A wasted afternoon. Then an argument.

It was both of our faults and neither of our faults.

We were just two people, stretched to their breaking points.


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Anne Nault avatar

Anne Nault

This was so interesting to read as this is me at 58. My boyfriend is fantastic when I get I'm not wrong you are. It is nice I'm a normal MS person. Thanks for venting.
Anne Nault

Tracie Maslen avatar

Tracie Maslen

I have MS and at least I'm not the only one that is looking for a "cure". Maybe I don't need a cure but everybody else does. I can barely live with my pain but it bearable for now but I know as soon as thatsun peeks it's beautiful head out my disease will flare too.

Stacy avatar


Before MS I'd found the love of my life. We'd both said "you're my other half" many times, then it kicked in. I've gone through a year + of depression & hope, over & over. He was (and still is sometimes)the most wonderful man, amazing really, taking me back & forth to work because I didn't want disability. But, it seems he's had it now-still driving me (mostly) for work & doctor appts, but has become impatient & belittling behind the scenes. His friends & family don't see that. I've been working towards my driving abilities to relieve him from driving me, have gained a HUGE improvement in my cognitive abilities, but he says "we're just different people". I guess that's true, I'm sick he isn't. I try to keep believing in myself, but it's hard when some of the things he says are horribly hurtful, & says he can't stand being around me anymore.

Gail Alexander avatar

Gail Alexander

Hi Stacy,
I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I too have MS. My marriage is being tested each day as my husband has stepped in to do much more than ever before. It sounds like your husband is suffering caregiver burnout. My husband attends a caregiver support group once a month. It has helped him understand the many nuances of MS. Also, he has other men to talk to. We may get short with each other but at the end of the day we are still together (so far). Who knows what the future holds. The hurtful things said to you sound so demeaning. Do you have anyone in your support network who can help out a bit? The National MS Society (NMSS) has resources such as counseling, education and activities (also on-line) that might be of assistance. Take care and know that you are not alone.

Deb avatar


I know what you mean. My husband serves as both but a caregiver and my lover. We have found the best success in our marriage by sort of separating the two by scheduling time to be loving toward each other from the time caring for me and my health.

Deb avatar


I am always looking for a cure. I've been living with Ms for 26 years. Right now I'm working on my 23andMe results with a doctor that currently has me doing B12 shots but a very specific type of B12 that works well in my body but not everyone else's

Hannah avatar


Ya used bu *some. Funny when one clinic out of 100 is the only one treating ms with ibogaine that is usually a very bad sign.


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