Author Archives: John Connor

Relapse, Relapse, Relapse, Profanity, Relapse

Maybe I should have called this one “Short and Sharp 2.” Yes, I’ve had another relapse, following my last one in May. I can no longer clean my own tail, and the present regime is literally to “s**t the bed!” I’m using a lot of exclamation points here,…

It Was a Lazy Sunday Afternoon — Not!

It all started on the hottest day of the year here in the U.K. My phone said it was 99 F. An old friend was coming over, and my youngest son, Jack, had kindly cleared a route to the garden. So, when she arrived, I took the route. We all…

The Mouth That Roared and Roared

Strap in: This is not going to be a fun one. Even less so for me — though I’m writing this under the sort of drug load that Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson would have been proud of! Not for fun (or dependence!) but for survival. “Since TN is…

The Joy of Joining the ‘Downton Abbey’ Set

For an espoused leftie, you might be surprised that I’ve always had the brush of the rugged individualist about me. Not quite Bear Grylls, but grabbing a rucksack and hitching across Canada still counts as my own youthful rite of passage. I was used to doing everything! As…

It’s a Matter of Timing and Mic Technique

In the U.K., stand-up comedy is currently dead. Like Python’s parrot, it “wouldn’t move if you put 4,000 volts through it!” That’s not strictly true. Our government has just stumped up 1.57 billion pounds ($1.97 billion) to support the arts that were slammed shut by the crisis. Comedy is…

Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Woman

In this case, the woman in question was yet again my wife, Jane. The hour in question was 4 p.m. on my usual day of writing. But on this day, writing had to be forgotten until a stint later at night (yawn). I had an entertainment Zoom call to partake…

Here Comes the Sun, and It’s All Too Much

Yup, it’s the annual whinge about what heat does to most of us, this time livened up by a headline that includes two Beatles’ song titles. (Yes, I did have to scroll through their discography to find the deeply submerged second — a George Harrison number off “Yellow…

A Morning With No Opera but Enough for a Small Choir!

Last Wednesday my days of rest suddenly smashed to a halt. At one point it seemed like the majority of those who work for my local council’s social services (whom I should have also thanked for their immense help over the last few weeks, mea culpa) were squeezed into…

All Quiet on the MS Front

It hasn’t been that quiet in my surrounding world! Last week there was a crow fight so loud in our back garden that it echoed down the chimney into the front room that now is my bedroom. It sounded exactly like being in Hitchcock’s horror film “The Birds.”…

So, Where Do I Start?

Ah, it’s not the blank page that all writers fear that I’m worried about. Those days have long left me. Now it’s applying the discipline to stop! When I first started with a professional writing commission, I sat in the office all day with that fear freezing me. (Those were…

Retirement: My Very Own Blackstar

“At the center of it all” is the dignity of allowing myself to retire with grace. And it only took a world-shattering event to get me to come to my senses! I’d been running, directing, producing, and sometimes writing (usually when comics got desperate with a 15-minute deadline. We…

Growing Up to Be a Strapping Big Baby

It was 4 a.m. and a crisis was brewing. I knew that this time, I’d be a nincompoop if I tried to deal with the situation myself, as I’d faced spectacular failures recently with the poop bit. I was still groggy from having taken diazepam to deal with my…

Short and Sharp

This column will be short as I am quite ill. That’s nothing too unusual for those of us with MS. Oh, the joys of a relapse. A while back, it stopped me from walking. Now it’s stopped me from standing! Transferring anywhere is now a nightmare. I have to use…

Waving the Flag of Victory

Hi there. It’s me, typing again on my very ownsome! For the last two weeks, I’ve been too ill to manage, so my wife kindly acted as a secretary — another of her many talents! I apologize for last week’s rather gruesome outing, but trying to stick to…

Putting Down the Ritz

My stomach is grumbling. I’ve just had the worst weekend ever. And that includes when I had my first sclerosis and smashed my shoulder to pieces on a tennis court. I mentioned last week that I didn’t want to write about C. diff., but this appalling infectious bacteria…

Keeping It All in the Family

I’ve never done this before, but I’m dictating this column to my wife. She has many attributes, among them being trained as a secretary many years ago. We went to the same further-education college when we were both in our late teens, but never met while there. I think she…

Zen and the Art of UTI Maintenance

I knew a urinary tract infection (UTI) had come a visiting again. I’m now attuned to the slightest hint, like that vague burning after weeing. Indeed, it doesn’t have to burn; it could merely be the faintest tinkle — which is rather apt! This time, it went on to further…

Becoming Self-absorbed with MS During the Pandemic

With everything being so awful, the goal is to write uplifting copy. OK, sounds like my sort of gig. One way of dealing with things is to become self-absorbed with the old MS. I think it’s getting jealous. How can a mere virus get all this attention? MS: “I’m far…

In Training for Solitary Confinement

I’ve just been sentenced to at least 18 months in solitary without time off even for good behavior! Pretty harsh. Luckily, I’m match fit. I’ve already previously done nearly a year trapped in my bedroom with only a commode and basin for most of the day. That was tough.

Do They Know It’s Not Christmas?

Quarantine sure feels like Christmas. The shops are stripped bare. The streets are empty. Family homes are stuffed with everyone returning home. In our case, my wife rescued my youngest son from his cool digs near Hammersmith in West London on Monday, just in time. The prime minister announced a…

Let’s All Take a Deep Breath

Take a deep breath, and I don’t mean the kind promoted by fake memes infecting the web to “prove” that you don’t have COVID-19! My deep-breath moment was in a small elevator at my doctor’s office. An able-bodied woman in her 50s bounded into the elevator behind my wheelchair…

The World Turned Upside Down

Being disabled constricts what my body does — but I’m still me. For a long time, I was trapped as I could no longer self-propel my self-propelled wheelchair. Then last summer, my powered one turned up! Wham-bam-crash-slam! Never delicate, I instantly got to slam around in my very own…

And the Biofilm Goes to …

The medical profession must be sick and tired of patients diagnosing themselves via the wonders of the internet. But as a patient who’s sick and tired, you eventually have to. Medicine is full of orthodoxies that are incredibly hard to shake. When you find yourself at the edge of these…

This Story Has Legs — One Leg, At Least!

This is the story of how I became a patient columnist. Three years ago, I was still walking. Shambling, anyway. I could get up and down stairs but had to rest before reaching my ordinary car with fitted hand controls. To go somewhere on my own, I needed someone to…

Here’s My ‘Veganuary’ Report

I’m well aware that new converts can be bores. I started an increasingly trendy vegan lifestyle back in December. It’s only been two months, but it seems like a year! That’s because I love meat, fish, cheese, and eggs. Especially eggs. Yes, veganism is better for the planet, your…

The Mind-Body Interface

Well, this is one way of showing that I attended first-year philosophy seminars: Draw on the thoughts of Plato and Aristotle, then leap two millennia to Descartes. I never studied history, but I’m actually far more comfortable with it! Also, I don’t think I’ve ever built a column based on…

It’s Only a Matter of Time

There was a time when I didn’t have deadlines. I’d finally finished academia. No more essays ever! In theory, I still had seven essays to write. Luckily, those essays could only improve my grade, so I got away with it. But only to a degree. I just scraped by with…

Dancing Doodle

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