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.

This Week, I Feel Like I’m Growing Up Again

As I sit down (nothing unusual there — all I do these days is sit down!) and write this, I’m 62 years and one day old. On Saturday morning, it felt like I still had a few days to go before I reached the heady height of a 2-year-old. I’m…

I’m a Big Boy Now

Many of us live with a reality that we’re too embarrassed to talk about, even with medical professionals. Multiple sclerosis (MS) prevents us from pooing properly — no matter how much fiber we consume or how much water we drink. I wrote about this in a recent column. As…

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: A Weekend of UTIs

For the last few months, urinary tract infections (UTIs) have been the main subject of this column. My current disease-modifying therapy, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), has had a significant impact on my multiple sclerosis (MS). The only downside is that Ocrevus attacks B-cells in the body, increasing the risk…

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

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…

I’m an Old Hand at Dealing with MS Mishaps

“Events, my dear boy, events.” Because of my own political proclivities, I don’t tend to quote old Conservative prime ministers, unless, of course, it’s Winston Churchill. In his semi-youth, he crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party twice: “Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of…

Going Mobile, Part 2: I’m Powering Around the House

Ah, the sequel. Back in April, I wrote about getting an electric wheelchair and then spending hours working out how to get it going. Six months later, I may have cracked the challenge of driving it without putting cracks in my house. When a district nurse visited last…

Under Pressure

There’s always something. The trouble with a mélange of complex medical issues is that one good action often can lead to a bad secondary one. It’s like a game of consequences that unfortunately not only injures your psyche, but also leaves a mark on the body. In my case, it…

My Disabled Wheelchair

Things had been going well with my electric wheelchair, but now I found myself out of control, heading toward the TV. I put my one good foot down in a feeble attempt to delay what seemed inevitable. Somehow, the foot — or perhaps sheer good luck — saved the TV.

Life Is Better with a Local MS Nurse

I was struck down by sclerosis in 2006 — literally. I was playing tennis and ran to return a drop shot. I never made it, but I did drop myself and rupture my right shoulder. It was so severe that it took two operations to rectify. The first few years…

Up Peristeen, or How to Beat the Blockade

The joys of MS are never-ending. One area that gets disrupted by this disease of the central nervous system is our pelvic regions. That affects bladder, bowel, and sexual function. I’ve written about all of this in previous columns. My bladder failed less than two years after I…

An Open Letter to a Newly Diagnosed Patient

I’ve been a co-moderator on the MS News Today Forums for a couple of months now and recently wrote a reply to a newly diagnosed patient, Jono. He’s only had MS for a month. I found myself writing what I wished I’d known when I was diagnosed. Now,…

Beaten by the Heat: Oh, What a Night!

It’s 1 p.m. in the U.K., and it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I can hardly move due to the heat. My left hand is typing this. The rest of my body has shut down. Tomorrow is forecast to be the hottest July day in recorded history in the U.K. I had set…

I Survived My ‘Home Alone’ Weekend

OK, this was my first test. Accomplish this and Day One should be a breeze. The trick is not to panic. You’ve crossed a continent with your thumb — now all you have to do is get out of bed on your own. You manage it most days…

Eight Days a Week

It was such a jam-packed week that the flavor was definitely multi-fruit! It included a meet-cute with a barber inspired by Richard Curtis (rom-com writer of “Notting Hill” and others). As no romance — or indeed, bromance — was involved, it was more of a meet-cut. I’ve…

Nearly Thwarted by a Step

Even in my able-bodied days, I was hardly Channing Tatum — who is? Model, actor, dancer, singer, and he even has the audacity to be funny. There might not be any real comic book heroes in the world, but he is possibly the closest to an X-Man we’ve got.

What the Falck Is Going On?

Stranded. Not on a desert island but in an empty hospital ward. Earlier, it had been filled with fellow MSers getting their Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) infusions. I write “fellow,” but as ever, we blokes were in the minority — there were only two of us. Research indicates that more…

Thank You for Sharing

“Thank you for sharing” is a clichéd phrase I never expected to use, or indeed have used toward me! However, it is often bandied at the end of these columns by the select few who like my work, so I can’t be too churlish about it. Why write about it…

A Wee Trip — But Not Like in the Past

I looked at the road, then west to the horizon. It was the Trans-Canada Highway. I was standing just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. A 23-year-old intending to hitchhike the length of the Trans-Canadian to Vancouver. I’m English but knew this was a rite of passage for young Canadians.

Years of Laughter: It’s Been a Mammoth 40 Years

Last Monday night, I was strangely in the audience at London’s Comedy Store. At a rough calculation, I have directed about 1,500 shows there, have been in the audience for maybe 20, and even have been on the stage a few times. One doesn’t count, as I was drunkenly…

Sunday Morning

It was a sunny Lower East Side of Manhattan Sunday morning. The bulbous New York Times was shoved, just about, under my arm. I drank a coffee in the sheltered backyard of a diner after surviving the denizens of the street to get here — this was good shelter.

I Survived a Marathon Comedy Festival

Exactly one year ago on this day of writing, I was down and out. This year, I’m not exactly fighting fit, but the same set of circumstances has pushed me the distance. But it didn’t floor me. OK, OK, I’ll stop with the pugilistic metaphors — it’s not exactly…

The Drugs Do Work … Better Than My Right Hand

Last weekend a mother brought 4,000£ ($5,200 U.S.) of medicinal cannabis from Holland into the U.K. for her daughter with severe epilepsy. It was confiscated by customs. Last year medicinal cannabis was partially legalized in the U.K. when a similar incident happened. Doctors can now issue prescriptions.

Going Mobile

In February of last year, I stopped. Walking more than a few steps was suddenly impossible. I’d fought, taken every medication and supplement possible, but I’d lost. Maybe positive thinking and mindfulness would have helped, but for me, that was a step too far! Research, organization, and…

Always in the Kitchen at Parties

My nephew James has taken an interest in this column since having a starring role in it a few weeks ago. We were at his mum’s 60th birthday party. He casually asked, “What are you going to write about next week?” A good question. I answered with a…

Singing the Bureaucracy Blues

You think getting a chronic illness is as bad as it’s going to get, but then you quickly realize that you’ve been catapulted into a netherworld. There’s no stepping through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia — I’m pretty sure C. S. Lewis didn’t envisage disabled access furniture!…

The Antibiotic Time Loop-the-Loop

Julian, the doorman at the London Comedy Store, is giving me his biweekly telling off about drinking. It’s biweekly because he and the other regular doorman, Mark, take turns helping me. I’ve known both of them for more than 30 years, though to be fair, in the…

Dancing Doodle

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