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.

Chained to My Desk

The tinkling laughter of tiny children filters through the windows of my bedroom. It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon. In years past, I would be sitting in the garden watching my grandnieces play. Undoubtedly with a large jug of Pimm’s that I would have concocted for the assembled adults. We’re…

Crawling to Deadline

It’s 3:15 p.m. U.K. time on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. My deadline for this column is actually 3 p.m. Gone are the days of blaming the dog for eating my homework; it’s only in the last few minutes that I’ve actually been able to move a bit. From 8:30…

Knowing Me, Knowing MS

The problem with writing a weekly column is I always need to come up with new ideas. Luckily, or rather, unluckily, MS always throws me a U.S. sports-shaped analogy — one of those trickily disguised curveballs. I wasn’t even going to attempt to write this week. Not because of…

Tricks of the Trade

I saw my neurologist a few weeks ago for what was effectively an emergency meeting. I’d had the customary two rounds of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) and still had a relapse. We discussed weighty subjects and there seemed, surprisingly, to still be some hope. It depends on the outcome of an MRI;…

It’s the Little Things

Really big things are going on in the world. WW3 is again flagged as a possibility. My world is considerably smaller. It’s mostly my bedroom. I can get out of it, but it takes a considerable effort. In the last seven days, I only exited it once. Last night, I…

Back to the World

The stars sometimes align, even for us atheists. My son was making a fleeting weekend visit from his last year at his university. It’s all we were going to see of him over the Easter period. He’s taking it very seriously and aiming for top grades in math. The week…

Be My Wife

Let me introduce you to my wife, Jane, by cheekily lifting the title “Be My Wife” from possibly the only accessible track off Bowie’s seminal ’70s album, “Low.” Through these weekly columns I’ve mentioned her often enough, but I’ve never formally introduced her. Mea culpa. I didn’t have…

Keep Taking the Steroids!

Six months ago, I was a reasonably svelte 14 and a half stone. I’m not sure how I managed it, but it was certainly before pitting edema wrapped itself around my shins and calves like bulbous sacks of wineskins. I managed to get on the scales a while…

Into the Woods

Well, I’m usually fairly upbeat, but this time, it’s going to be beyond me. We’ve all had relapses — I think I’m in the fitting cliché of being on my last legs. I can, on a good day, transfer on my own from the bed to my trusty…

Out of the Woods?

It’s been a grueling three weeks. Birds ate my breadcrumb trail long ago. I was too tired to follow it anyway. Stumbling about has definitely been beyond me! I’ve just shaved what had become a beard and showered, which, mixing my stories, made me feel like I’d been living on…

Going Cold Turkey

Usually, I’ve got a fair idea of where I’m headed in my column. This time, I really don’t. I’m confronting something. Maybe nothing. It’s as clear as the cliché involving wet, clingy earth. For the first time since the last week in November 2017, I’ve stopped taking antibiotics. That’s…

What’s Going On?

Something is! I had to be carted off to the hospital in an ambulance on Thursday of last week. It was either an infection my home-visiting doctor couldn’t spot or the dreaded relapse. She couldn’t diagnose any illness. At the hospital, they used the words “atypical infection.” One of…

Having a Swell Time

The thing about becoming increasingly immobile is that your consumption of TV, radio, podcasts, books and, indeed, anything written goes up immeasurably. Luckily, one of the creative explosions in the recent years I’ve had MS is Scandi drama. I don’t know if it’s really penetrated the U.S. market, although…

Do Supplements Add Up?

It started with vitamin D. Little did I know I was starting a habit. I had my first sclerosis attack in 2006 and learned about it by having an appalling fall on a tennis court. That’s another story. I haven’t written about that yet, but I’m sure I will.

The Antibiotic Time Loop

My arms are heavy. Strong antibiotics have held off a urinary tract infection (UTI) for the last eight weeks — evolution isn’t on my side. In fact, I’m distinctly beginning to feel like the British Expeditionary Force in Dunkirk in May 1940. Surrounded, with my only hope over the…

It’s Been a Bad Week

It was late. I dropped the TV remote on the bedroom floor. No biggie. I was sitting on my commode (don’t worry, it was in its chair configuration!) and was reasonably close to the ground. No thinking involved, I leaned over to pick it up as I’ve done many,…

A Quiet Week

I could be in a fancy restaurant in central London rather than sitting at home writing this. Don’t feel sorry for me, I chose to stay in. The Christmas month of December is very hard. Extreme partying is allied with extreme levels of work. In my game, they are as…

Santa and His Helpers

The trouble with being a mythological supernatural being is that you begin to doubt your own existence. It was all “Marvel this” and “DC that” over kids’ toy choices these past few years. Dads tried to be above that sort of thing, but He knew how thrillingly pleased…

On the Road

It’s 4 a.m. and, unsurprisingly, I’m laying flat on my back. Yesterday, I had a whale of a time and now I feel like a beached one. I’m not in my own bed because I’m staying in a tres jolie bed-and-breakfast in Northern France. The trouble is the bed…

Poetic Justice to be a Party Pooper

In my angst-ridden teen years, I wrote poetry. It was truly dreadful and should have disappeared in the wash of personal history. Luckily, it was the mid-’70s, and in those pre-internet days, it was committed only in pen to scrappy paper rather than as a confessional to the…

What Keeps Me Going — and Smiling

Shooting the breeze after work has been part of my professional life for 27 years. We’re all winding down, yes, but I’m actually still working. New ideas, niggles, gossip are thrown together over drinks. True, many of the younger generation’s beverages these days are non-alcoholic, so they tend not…

The Case of the Worried Patient

Hypochondria grabs, and it’s very difficult to shake. I spent the past three days eliminating potential reasons for struggling more than usual. Hopefully, it was a urinary tract infection (UTI) that was causing severe lethargy. It might have been at the start; I immediately jumped on a high ph…

The Weekend

The weekend should have started on Friday. My sister-in-law is over from France and there was the first gathering of the clan in a local hostelry. I took the sensible option of staying in as there was an even bigger do at our place on Saturday night. My…

The Blowout

It was one of those mornings the day after, when I was moving like a zombie before they became ubiquitous. The night before had been my 30th birthday ― I was now an old bloke. About 20 of us had gathered in an uber-cool West End London restaurant, drank…

Everything in the Garden Is Now Rosy

  About 10 years ago, in the days before my MS, I had a whole raft of self-imposed jobs. As a new age man, one of these was doing the washing. Yes, this combated the usual bloke’s role in a heterosexual household, but to counter this, I was very…

I Don’t Know What It’s Called, But I Like It

It looks like a dog’s leash, but it isn’t. I put in “dog’s lead” and “disabled apparatus” into my first Google search and fittingly was taken down into a rabbit’s warren of equipment for psychically challenged dogs. Who knew? It’s a nifty bit of kit for moving your leg…

One Day at a Time

I was going to write about something else, then my MS got in the way. Intellectually, I know MS is very up-and-down, but often when the down hits, I think the worst has happened. I went to my exercise class this week and struggled. Got home and recovered.

MS and Retirement

And so the good news is that if you have MS, then you can get an enhanced annuity in the United Kingdom. That is a higher payment for the rest of your life than if you were well. That’s because our illness may reduce life expectancy. A recent survey…