Columns

Old Friends, Broken Chairs, UTI Admissions, and Redemption

The week started with a bang, albeit with a hint of underlying anxiety. Friends and former work colleagues gathered during the first days of spring to chat in my sun-lathered back garden in South London. COVID-19 lateral flow tests had all been passed. Previously, we’d spent years working together on…

Dr. Glaucomflecken and Other Healthcare Jokers

This column is being published on April 1. When I was in the journalism profession, that was a day we had to be on guard against pranksters who would try to trick us into reporting phony April Fools’ Day news items. So, I need to be very clear about this…

The Heel That Won’t Heal

The dull throbbing always hits a crescendo “in the wee small hours,” as Mr. Sinatra — or rather his songwriters — so aptly put it. I’m referring to a wound that’s been with me for over a year now. True, it disappeared for a teeny while, when my heel…

One Month of MS Awareness Isn’t Enough

I’m changing my mind about MS Awareness Month — at least a little — thanks to “31 Days of MS.” Whether it’s an awareness month or a week, or whether it’s for MS or disabilities in general, I’ve never been a big fan of these types of initiatives. But this…

There’s No Such Thing as Perfect

We are a three-cat household because, well, felines are awesome. They’re entertaining and sweet. They love to give cuddles. And they’re fairly self-sufficient — no baths or walks necessary. Just keep food and water in ample supply, and they’re good to go. The only problem? Litter boxes. We have this…

Everything Last Week Did Come in Threes

My week is never exactly easy, but it’s much harder for my family. Not only do they have to deal physically with my ever-enlarging lump of flesh, there’s also my verbal diarrhea to contend with. Then last Tuesday, it wasn’t just the verbal kind. Turns out my bowels began to…

The Visible and Invisible Reflections of MS    

“Mirrors don’t lie. They only show a part of truth.” — Lara Biyuts I’ve written about how my reality feels jagged compared with actual reality. I wrote, “The woman looking back at me isn’t whom I perceive myself to be.” I’ve been pondering this recently. The realism of reality With…

Can I Really Blame MS for Everything I Say?

It wasn’t an argument; it was a reality check. I was happy, nay, self-indulgent. Within a day, the ol’ stand-up show that I produced at London’s Comedy Store for 30 years had gotten another booking at a countryside marquee just outside the city. I mustn’t disparage, as it’s our…

Can My Wife’s Keto Diet Help My MS?

For the past few months, my wife, Laura, has been following a ketogenic diet, and she’s lost a bunch of weight. But in addition to helping people slim down, the low-carb keto diet may have other benefits, including potentially for those with MS. A small study that will be…

Lyrics and Loving Myself: Rediscovering My Lost Voice

“Most of the time, the greatest rewards come from doing the things that scare you the most. Maybe you’ll get everything you wish for. Maybe you’ll get more than you ever could have imagined. Who knows where life will take you? The road is long, and in the end, the…

More Than 50 Shades of Gray

Spring is rapidly approaching. It’s warming up outside. The trees are starting to bloom. And inside our home, I am once again plotting to refresh the place. Out with old decorations, and in with the new! Declutter that closet! Donate the table and chairs that still look great because you…

The Captain and His No. 2

There I was, swinging away in my hoist at 9 p.m., though my swinging London of the 2020s wasn’t only 60 years later, it was also a lot, lot grimmer. My carer and maybe still wife, Jane, stood below in a controlled fury. If nothing else, she might…

The Double-edged Sword of Fatigue Medications

“I close my eyes/ Only for a moment then the moment’s gone/ All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity.” — Kansas, “Dust in the Wind”  The dark cloud of fatigue first swept through my mind toward the end of 2018. I was no stranger to physical fatigue,…

Does 2 + 2 = 4, 5, or 0?

Am I about to share my first conspiracy theory, even if it’s just about me? Why not? It’s all the rage, though this one may have a loose connection to a possible truth. Stick with the story, please. It requires some scene-setting. It was years ago, at the end of…

A Health Insurance Address Change Sends Me Down the Rabbit Hole

For my wife, Laura, and I, trying to change our address on our health insurance accounts last week was like following Alice down the rabbit hole. As Lewis Carroll wrote in the classic children’s novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”: “The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some…

The Furious Fire of Heat Sensitivity

“In order to rise from its own ashes, a phoenix must first burn.” — Octavia E. Butler You know that feeling of waking up in a strange place, and it takes a second to remember where you are? Imagine that coupled with not being able to move from the neck…

Making Good Choices When COVID-19 Strikes

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur. Our younger son caught the COVID-19 virus at school, and once we got a positive home test, we went into containment mode. While I took him to get an official test at a local clinic, my husband got everything…

The Supplements of Mice and Men

Roll up, roll up, for all the fun of the fare! I swallow an awful lot of supplements. Have I also swallowed the barkers’ patter? I don’t think so. But I’m more than aware that if something works on mice, then the chances of it working on me are likely…

The Big Blue Bag and a ‘Cast Away’ Bed

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when I was very young, we British children would be asked, “What’s through the round window?” The line was from a TV series called “Play School.” The swinging ’60s may have been breaking in London, but culturally, this was the happening show…

What Is Trigeminal Neuralgia in MS All About, Anyway?

My immediate thought after reading a recent MS News Today headline stating that trigeminal neuralgia (TN) affects more than 3% of MS patients was, “Really, only 3%?” The reason is I’ve seen several complaints about the condition, which causes excruciating pain in the face. As the story noted, TN…

The Jagged Edges of My Altered Reality

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming?” — James Matthew Barrie Being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis significantly changed my perception of myself and the surrounding world. This drastic shift has been overwhelming and difficult to accept in many ways. The…

Dancing Doodle

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