I’m an Old Hand at Dealing with MS Mishaps

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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“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 ingenuity to re-rat.”

So, I started this column with a quote attributed (correctly or not) to 1950s British Prime Minister Harold “Never Had It So Good” Macmillan because I was going to write about something else this week until my legs gave way.

Was it multiple sclerosis (MS), a urinary tract infection (UTI), or perhaps directly related to running out of my liquid supply of “California Dreamin”?

I may well not have shaken off what has been a pernicious bout of various UTIs, including pseudomonas and whatever cocktail of icky bacteria makes up mixed growth. I was still registering the latter on a specimen given after my last course of co-amoxiclav two weeks ago. I’d been put on a prophylactic dose of nitrofurantoin, and as I had a few extra, I downed those for a few days in the hope that they would help shift the thing.

The trouble with being a science nerd is that I’m well aware that Darwinism is erupting in my bladder. Using one of the popular political tropes of the moment, my bladder is very much “on the wrong side of history.”

So, to last Friday night. I’d fallen asleep looking at my laptop in my powered wheelchair. When I’d finally awoken, it was 5 a.m., well past my bedtime.

Big mistake. I should have stayed where I was and caught up with the zillions [sic] of videos on YouTube. All those zillions of people had made an effort to make them — I could, at least, give something back by watching how many times it had to be proven that consuming turmeric in vast quantities was a bad idea. Good to know. Thanks, guys (it’s mostly guys). I’ve got enough problems.

It’s only a foot from my wheelchair to my hospital bed. The bed lowers and everything. There’s even a bedpost to lever myself up. I got up all right, but then found myself tipping sideways. When your MS body stops working, it’s still a shock. It’s like losing control of a car on an icy road. You’re crawling along carefully, then physics takes over, and you become a passenger.

Luckily, I was pulling myself slightly to the right, so when I lost control I’d preplaced my trusty commode there. You do learn a few tricks from years of dealing with MS.

My right leg that usually does nothing went into a locked spasm. I was perching precariously near the edge of the commode. There was no way out of this on my own.

My mobile was to hand — again, I’m an old hand — and I rang my long-suffering wife. We’ve been a couple for over 30 years, so it’s safe to say that she was suffering long before I got MS.

She got up, came downstairs, and we spent the next 30 minutes working out a rescue. I’ve now got a mobile device for aiding immobile people. We finally maneuvered it in such a way that my leg bent so that I could stand up on it and be deposited on the bed.

A commode can also rescue your bottom in other ways. In the background, my maneuvering device. (Courtesy of John Connor)

When I woke up later, my right shoulder was in agony.

Cannabidiol oil had seemed to help, but last night it didn’t.

I downed some of the co-amoxiclav that I’d been hoarding and it dissipated.

This morning the pain was back. The antibiotic stopped it again.

I’m expecting a call from my doctor. A sample of urine went off for culture testing yesterday.

An old hand — the left one even works properly!


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Rosie McGourty avatar

Rosie McGourty

Bravo! Well done sir!

Peggy avatar


John love your posts even went 'back in time' to read some I'd missed. This actually makes me feel better to know someone else leg locks on them!
I take Nitrofuration on a nightly basis have for several years to prevent UTI'S. Also drink cranberry juice constantly. They also come in pill form.
Glad know I'm not the only one has these 'mishaps' which are umexplained.

Peggy avatar


Sometimes my comments take sometimes they don’t! I LOVE your posts John. Recently read older posts I missed. Glad know I'm not the only MS person that has these are unexplained mishaps and that the leg will get stuck!

Pam Maher avatar

Pam Maher

This hilarious commentary describes my daily life perfectly. Thanks for giving me a good laugh I really needed today.


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