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.

Be Warned: Another Column All About My MS and Me!

Many years ago I thrust myself into the Edinburgh International Festival. For the many who have never heard of it: It’s the largest arts festival in the world, encompassing theater, mime, dance, comedy, film, books, and sometimes even a splash of opera. For some reason I even sat through…

A Drizzly Summer Weekend and an Antibiotic Rejection

There was a time when I’d regularly strap on two pads, stride out between English showers, and attempt to bat on the subsequently dodgy surface. That was good for the fast bowlers, except they now found themselves also slipping on the sopping grass. I sympathized with them, as I was…

This Fall Was a Real Eye-opener

Well, this was a first. I’d fallen backward once in my power wheelchair. That was in the back of our mobility van. Hubris told me I could get away with just holding on to the handgrip for a few hundred meters. As ever, hubris was wrong! About six months…

Introducing My ‘MS Popeye-Spinach Hypothesis’

For any younger readers, and by that I’m guessing 45 and under, may I present the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man. He got himself out of scrapes by downing a can of spinach, which supercharged his muscles. There was none of that nonsense of de-stalking raw young leaves…

MS and Boxing: Being Clever With My Pants

After last week’s column about my neurologist declaring that I now have secondary progressive MS, a certain ennui has seeped into me. While this isn’t surprising, it’s also surprising, because I’m on the mood-altering drug fluoxetine. OK, fluoxetine is a regular antidepressant, but “mood-altering” sounds so much cooler.

Slipping Over the Event Horizon Into SPMS

Isn’t it just like me to start my column with a physics analogy that is already confusing? Please stick with me, as all will be revealed. My point is that if a black hole is big enough, you might slip through its event horizon without even noticing. There would…

You’ve Got to Hide Your MS Away

In honor of MS Awareness Week, observed in the U.K. April 19–25, the MS Society released results of a survey about the barriers that keep multiple sclerosis patients from sharing their health status. Multiple Sclerosis News Today‘s Mary Chapman reported that a whacking one-third have stayed silent about their diagnosis.

My Own ‘Left Hand of Darkness’

I was listening to a BBC podcast recently titled “The Sinister Hand,” about the history of left-handers. It seems that in medieval times, left-handedness was associated with sorcery. (What wasn’t?) It was only relatively recently that left-handed children were no longer forced to write right-handed — sometimes even…

An Upbeat MS Column for You Lucky People

The trouble with a degenerative disease is that things only get worse. In the long-gone days of my youth, I somehow wrangled myself into being an arts critic. Wizened journalists imparted the lore that a bad show was much easier to write than a rave. Satirical barbs are far more…

Can You Care Too Much? Er, Maybe!

One of the conditions of being released from the hospital a couple of weeks ago was that I had carers come to my home four times a day for six weeks. I realized it was for the best of intentions, but it still felt, albeit deep down, that these…

Britain Leads the World in Two Types of Jabbing

I was 6 years old when British boxer Henry Cooper knocked Cassius Clay on his bottom. (It was that long ago, folks — 1963. This was before Clay’s religious conversion and consequent name change to Muhammad Ali.) Unfortunately, Clay was literally saved by the bell. I remember dashing around…

How I’m Staying on Top of MS’ Many ‘Gifts’

When I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, my first question to my neurologist was, “Will I end up in a wheelchair?” She patted this question back with the generic, “You may, but no one knows the course that anyone’s MS might take.” Later, I learned that late-onset…

My ‘Great Escape’ During a Long Pandemic

Unfortunately, mine didn’t involve a cool motorbike — it was the wrong kind, as somehow Steve McQueen had managed to steal a British one — and an impossible jump at barbed wire to get into Switzerland! I’ll now never be able to get onto a motorbike anyway. Instead, it…

Santa Claus Is Still Comin’ to Town

Santa refuses to use email! At least letter-sending is a thousand years older than he is! (Via Shutterstock) Well, 2020 was a weird year for everybody. It was even weird for magical creatures, as these days, an awful lot of people believe they exist! It’s tough now to hide.

The Thankful Rest of Thanksgiving

I’m surprised I get anything done! Luckily, the parent company of Multiple Sclerosis News Today is in the U.S., so I didn’t have to write this column last week, due to Thanksgiving celebrations — even though I’m British. I also got two days off from being an MS News Today…

To Be Forewarned Is to Be Forearmed

My travails with MS invariably deal with what it does to me. This week, dear reader, it’s what I did to my jolly old self! I’ve got a daily light exercise routine designed for me by an occupational therapist (OT) and a physiotherapist. Why two professionals? Well, the…

Of Mice and Men (and MS Research)

The other day, I was watching an arts documentary instead of another repeat of a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was about John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” of which I’m a fan. The headline for a column I’d been mulling for some time about MS mouse research…

45 Minutes in the Life of John Peter Connor

I have two regular carers at the moment. The first to arrive greets me with her usual efficacious, “Good morning, John!” She’s loud enough to wake the whole street. Luckily, my neighbors should be up anyway, as my carers are booked for 11 a.m. each weekday. I have mentioned in…

The Long and Winding Road to My Urologist’s Door

Last week’s column, “The Loneliness of the Long-distance UTI Patient,” dealt with my dive into the Eastern (bloc) world of bacteriophages. It would be a fun exercise (and boy, do I need some exercise) to dive into the history of the discovery of bacteriophages and antibiotics. Both fight…

The Loneliness of the Long-distance UTI Patient

When did I first become aware of the word “phage”? “Star Trek,” of course! It was an episode about a disease that was destroying a race somewhere in the Delta Quadrant. (OK, possibly — even I fade out in the Nerdverse. But it definitely was in the “Voyager” series.)…

Resistance May Be Futile, but the Borg Taught Me Something

OK, you’re not all science fiction nuts, so I’ll explain: The Borg are a cybernetic race and the lead baddies in the “Star Trek” universe — or, the way the latest Netflix iteration is going, the multiverse. Besides trying to take over all life forms, they also have the sneaky…

Fighting the Beast

It was 3 p.m. last Thursday. Things should have been good. I had filed the copy for my previous column the day before. Ultimately, some of my outrageous musings had gone, and some I considered even worse had stayed. It’s an age-old journalism, radio, and TV writer’s trick: If…

The Terrible 62s, or the Rage of the Non-toddler Adult

It’s usually best to write with time for reflection. I often feel like a foreign correspondent reporting from the front line of my own bedroom! The shells of multiple sclerosis (MS) explode within me, and I’m suddenly airlifted into new territory. It’s like being yanked from the street troubles in…

Like Iggy Says, ‘All Aboard for Funtime’

I’ve been a moderator at MS News Today Forums for a while. One of my jobs, besides rejecting the interminable bots that try to become members, is to promote interaction. This is the hard part. The bots are amazingly easy — they are so far away from getting near…

Turn It Off, Then On Again

There’s always something! As a columnist, that comes in handy, as then I don’t have to think too much. Stop snickering at the back for thinking that I never think. How very dare you? If any of my fellow Brits are reading this, yes, I’m liberally nicking comedy catchphrases. Why…

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…