After Hitting Rock Bottom, I’m on My Way Back Up

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

Share this article:

Share article via email
heat, quiet, hotel, covid-19

I’ve been whinging for months now about struggling on through near-constant urinary tract infections.

This week’s joyous occasion was finally having a poo (hurrah), but then not having the energy to do anything about the result (boo).

I’d spent something like five hours attacking the problem with my new anal catheter device. But though I now possessed all the tools for the jobbie, it wasn’t shifting.

Usually, when you can’t fix a blockage, you must admit defeat and call out a professional. Unfortunately, there’s no 24-hour plumber service for this predicament.

I’d done my best.

I made three attempts while deploying around a liter of water. Gwyneth Paltrow would have been impressed.

So, I gave up and tried to get something done with what was left of my day.

As sometimes happens when you’re not trying, my body’s natural functions kicked in. Maybe relaxing is a key of sorts. Though it’s not the sort of door you want to open too often.

There was no way of getting to the bathroom in time. Anyway, I get so many false alarms that I feel like a firefighter during freshers’ week!

Until I moved downstairs and had a powered wheelchair, I’d lived for just over a year with only my trusty commode as a daily companion. So, I had no problem with reverting to this in the event of an emergency. This time it wasn’t a false alarm. After all of my efforts, a feeling of satisfaction spread through me.

My sense of relief lasted for just five minutes.

I was in an ideal place for standing, right next to the post of my hospital bed. As the bed raises or lowers, I can maneuver it into the perfect position.

However, my efforts were useless as I could no longer stand on my legs.

I tried for a half-hour, but it was becoming increasingly dangerous.

I realized that I’d have to wait until my body recovered from acute fatigue.

It was time to “Netflix and chill” on my phone, though this has an entirely different ambiance when you’re disabled.

At this point, my wife came in to tidy something away, and thankfully, she asked what was going on.

I could stand safely with two hands to cling on while she cleaned me.

I had only one previous occurrence when Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) infusions had poleaxed me.

I got back in my powered chair, sat in front of my laptop, and got a few things done.

Netflix was my reward for later.

Ironically, while finishing this column, I feel the urge to go to the bathroom again.

Wish me luck …


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.


Peggy avatar


Had those days...false alarms and not so false ones.
Especially difficult when legs stop holding one up or lock up
Good luck!

Greg avatar


I have an UTI also, and, for what it's worth, I started taking Cranberry extract tablets. My HCP approved it for me! To early to tell if its helped - but, its supposed to.

Getty Bailey avatar

Getty Bailey

Since finally getting off opioids I have managed to maintain a fairly normal poo schedule. Sometimes it's all I can think about. One trip to the hospital with a small bowel obstruction was enough to make me never want to do that again! UTIs are the worst. I've been taking cranberry extract capsules for many years and I think they are good for prevention. Also weekly flushes of suprapubic catheter with sterile water and some Betadine also seems to add to preventive measures. It's amazing how we as patients figure out what works for us. Carry-on warriors!

FB avatar


Full marks for writing about a topic that no-one ever wants to admit is a problem for PwMS - apart from those symptom summary pages on MS Society websites - where everything is just lumped under "bladder and bowel problems".

First question - why don't you have some sort of a "call-bell" to alert other people in your house when problems like not being able to get up happen???

And MS related constipation sure is a right pain the the a..e, and I get tired of people thinking it can just be fixed with more fibre. I take fibre like crazy and it helps but it's not a fix for nerves that don't work properly. Even my GP/PCP doesn't get this - sigh.......

And - I have to say - I think "rock bottom" is an entirely appropriate new term for constipation - especially if you have the type of constipation that creates lots of little pebbles......

(Sorry about the bad puns folks - it's one of "those" days for me......)


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.