Author Archives: John Connor

‘He’s Fallen in the Water!’

Any British comedy aficionados among you will know “He’s fallen in the water” is the most famous of all the innumerable catchphrases of “The Goon Show.” That show was the root of Monty Python and every bit of the new wave of comedy that swept through our country.

Down and Out in London Town

Last month, my brother-in-law finally managed to return to Thailand and his lovely wife. He’d been trapped in the U.K. for over a year due to COVID-19. Thailand has quite rightly imposed a Kafkaesque set of rules about entering the country on an extended immigrant visa. Luckily, we had…

Lockdown Blues: Well That Was a Close Shave!

Last year, winter never quite arrived, and spring kept springing up before being crushed down again. We imperceptibly melded into summer. Then the autumn leaves hung on, and hung on some more. But these days, would Mr. Sinatra have to get his lyricist to do a rewrite? Some of…

Will Football Help Me Get Through a Tough Week?

Right, I actually have to start writing my column early this week because of the football schedule. For you Americans, that’s soccer, y’all. The biggest, most popular game in the world! The UEFA European Football Championship, or the Euros, is on. It’s the 2020 competition, but it’s being held…

I’ve Nothing Awful to Write About My MS This Week

Many of you will remember doing jankers (detention) in school. Well, those of you who easily identified with “The Breakfast Club” will. If you never did one, let me educate you! A teacher’s favorite devilish ruse was telling us to write about being in an enclosed white space.

Be Warned: Another Column All About My MS and Me!

Many years ago I thrust myself into the Edinburgh International Festival. For the many who have never heard of it: It’s the largest arts festival in the world, encompassing theater, mime, dance, comedy, film, books, and sometimes even a splash of opera. For some reason I even sat through…

A Drizzly Summer Weekend and an Antibiotic Rejection

There was a time when I’d regularly strap on two pads, stride out between English showers, and attempt to bat on the subsequently dodgy surface. That was good for the fast bowlers, except they now found themselves also slipping on the sopping grass. I sympathized with them, as I was…

This Fall Was a Real Eye-opener

Well, this was a first. I’d fallen backward once in my power wheelchair. That was in the back of our mobility van. Hubris told me I could get away with just holding on to the handgrip for a few hundred meters. As ever, hubris was wrong! About six months…

Introducing My ‘MS Popeye-Spinach Hypothesis’

For any younger readers, and by that I’m guessing 45 and under, may I present the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man. He got himself out of scrapes by downing a can of spinach, which supercharged his muscles. There was none of that nonsense of de-stalking raw young leaves…

MS and Boxing: Being Clever With My Pants

After last week’s column about my neurologist declaring that I now have secondary progressive MS, a certain ennui has seeped into me. While this isn’t surprising, it’s also surprising, because I’m on the mood-altering drug fluoxetine. OK, fluoxetine is a regular antidepressant, but “mood-altering” sounds so much cooler.

Slipping Over the Event Horizon Into SPMS

Isn’t it just like me to start my column with a physics analogy that is already confusing? Please stick with me, as all will be revealed. My point is that if a black hole is big enough, you might slip through its event horizon without even noticing. There would…

You’ve Got to Hide Your MS Away

In honor of MS Awareness Week, observed in the U.K. April 19–25, the MS Society released results of a survey about the barriers that keep multiple sclerosis patients from sharing their health status. Multiple Sclerosis News Today‘s Mary Chapman reported that a whacking one-third have stayed silent about their diagnosis.

My Own ‘Left Hand of Darkness’

I was listening to a BBC podcast recently titled “The Sinister Hand,” about the history of left-handers. It seems that in medieval times, left-handedness was associated with sorcery. (What wasn’t?) It was only relatively recently that left-handed children were no longer forced to write right-handed — sometimes even…

An Upbeat MS Column for You Lucky People

The trouble with a degenerative disease is that things only get worse. In the long-gone days of my youth, I somehow wrangled myself into being an arts critic. Wizened journalists imparted the lore that a bad show was much easier to write than a rave. Satirical barbs are far more…

Can You Care Too Much? Er, Maybe!

One of the conditions of being released from the hospital a couple of weeks ago was that I had carers come to my home four times a day for six weeks. I realized it was for the best of intentions, but it still felt, albeit deep down, that these…

Britain Leads the World in Two Types of Jabbing

I was 6 years old when British boxer Henry Cooper knocked Cassius Clay on his bottom. (It was that long ago, folks — 1963. This was before Clay’s religious conversion and consequent name change to Muhammad Ali.) Unfortunately, Clay was literally saved by the bell. I remember dashing around…

How I’m Staying on Top of MS’ Many ‘Gifts’

When I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, my first question to my neurologist was, “Will I end up in a wheelchair?” She patted this question back with the generic, “You may, but no one knows the course that anyone’s MS might take.” Later, I learned that late-onset…

The Multiple Sclerosis Podcast


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