Fall Down, Get Up Again- a Column by John Connor

In the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes “Fall Down Get Up Again,” an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.

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…

What New Hell Is This?

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned bacteriological pincer attack to take your mind off impending death. I’m not exaggerating about the impending bit. A friend/colleague was supposed to fly to Rome today for a holiday but Italy has just closed. As I write this, it was only yesterday that the…

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…

Lo, on the Very First Vegan Christmas

Only 347 shopping days to go! So don’t dismiss this as a column about last Christmas (though that’s what it is!) but as possibly the first on the planet about the next one. Luckily, I quite like nut roast. But it is very much “quite” like. I don’t like it…

Keep Taking the Tablets

What did I write about last New Year’s? As usual, it was related to a bodily function: urinary tract infections (UTIs). Then, readers almost unanimously recommended methenamine hippurate. I had tried several times to get the medication prescribed. Then, a few months ago, my local multiple sclerosis…

Santa Is on a Secret Mission

This would be Santa’s third year as a disabled, magical creature. He seemed to be the only one but took some comfort that even the mighty Avengers had taken a few casualties. Not a Christian thought for someone who was once considered a saint. However, illness had ground down…

Stop in the Name of Leukocytes

I rolled onto the neurology ward of the hospital that has been dealing with my disease from the beginning. The nurses, whom I’ve met innumerable times, opened with their normal jolly, “How are you?” I can never resist, “Well, I have got MS!” It was 8 in the morning. I’d…

How ‘The Terminator’ Changed John Connor

With “The Terminator” involved, it’s fair enough that this tale starts out as a father-son thing. My son, Jack, kept needling me to watch a film on Netflix U.K. called “The Game Changers.” My wife had also watched it and heavily backed the suggestion. Both had a knowing gleam…

This Could Be the Last Time

Fear grips me. Marijuana relaxes, eases pain, and helps my body work better. It also stirs paranoia, but only when you let it. In bed, a fretful waking dream. This is a problem when you actually have something to be paranoid about! I don’t remember all my last times…

MS Really Enjoys Hitting Below the Belt

I didn’t file a column last week due to medical reasons. It’s a perfect excuse for a patient columnist — we don’t need a dog to blame for eating our homework. The multiple sclerosis dog is more than happy to put us on the floor; in my case, even three…

Pip, Pip, Hooray! Months of Work and Worry Pay Off

By 2017, over 50,000 people with disabilities in the U.K. had lost their accessible vehicles due to reassessments required by Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a financial assistance program for people with disabilities. Motability Scheme is a program that provides financial assistance to help people lease an accessible…

Dancing Doodle

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