MS Really Enjoys Hitting Below the Belt
I didn’t file a column last week due to medical reasons.
It’s a perfect excuse for a patient columnist — we don’t need a dog to blame for eating our homework. The multiple sclerosis dog is more than happy to put us on the floor; in my case, even three of my limbs still work.
Now, I really don’t want to write about the following, but as I’ve committed to a relatively honest diary of living with MS, I can’t avoid it.
Be warned: It’s a sh*t subject!
Just when I think I’m on top of an MS problem, it bites me in the behind. In this case, literally.
Along with urinary tract infections, it’s been the bane of my life. MS seems to really enjoy hitting me below the belt!
I thought that the worst was over when I started using the Peristeen anal irrigation system. Then one weekend, it failed, sending me into a tailspin. I’ve found too many easy puns associated with this subject. Hey, it needs the light relief! (Stop it.)
I got a new Peristeen system, and both the system and I seemed to be back on track.
I got overconfident.
I went off to work last Tuesday thinking I’d done everything correctly.
By the time I got back from London, I had to go straight to the little boys’ room. (In my present situation, it’s the purposely designed big ol’ boys’ room.)
It was midnight.
I wouldn’t emerge till noon.
For a while, I seriously wondered if I’d make it. My last act would be as an Elvis Presley impersonator. I was taking it seriously, meticulously following the Stanislavsky method.
I know that by now, I should be intimately aware of what effect MS has on this particular system. But I really wasn’t. MS seems to be excessively good at creating constipation. In my case, that’s aided by some of the medications I take, primarily Modafinil. Without this particular therapy, I’d be living in an MS-induced brain smog so bad that I might as well move to Delhi.
It’s a matter of balance that is notoriously difficult to maintain when you’ve got MS.
The one benefit of this new phase is that I don’t just spontaneously erupt.
In the early days of my diagnosis, I was queuing at a petrol station counter. Was there a toilet? As I was given a rambling explanation of why it wasn’t for customers, it proved unnecessary. I waddled back to the car. Luckily, I was heading for home — only 10 miles to go! Unluckily, my family also was in the car. It was an apt metaphor for our future journey with MS.
OK, this is the graphical and technical bit, feel free to skip it, as the punchline’s at the end.
The stools had descended too far to use the anal catheter — yes, there was more than one! So, I attacked them with suppositories.
When I’d seen a doctor at the beginning of getting the Peristeen system, he’d described it as “a compacted stool.” These ones were so compacted they behaved and (sorry) felt like they were covered with Chobham armor. Well, it is British! They laughed at the suppositories and chucked them out!
Battle was joined.
Very slowly, a plan emerged.
Suppositories for a bit, make some room, then douse with water from the anal catheter.
As it was a 12-hour battle, it was no skirmish.
I spent the next week trying to get my body clock back to normal.
I was suffering from the little-known condition of wet room lag!
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