Zen and the Art of UTI Maintenance

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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heat, quiet, hotel, covid-19

I knew a urinary tract infection (UTI) had come a visiting again.

I’m now attuned to the slightest hint, like that vague burning after weeing. Indeed, it doesn’t have to burn; it could merely be the faintest tinkle — which is rather apt!

This time, it went on to further announce itself with a full-on circus parade of divine urination. When you’ve been self-catheterizing for eight years, this still feels miraculous. Usually, it’s just a succession of pumping dribbles.

In the past, this has caught me out with wee everywhere. Over the last year, not so much. I was on top of this particular visitation from my bladder’s ensconced creepy crawlies.

Then something happened that actually made me glad of the inconvenience — sorry, Ed! For the first time since circa 2010, I actually had a proper pee. I knew its root was unholy but it didn’t stop a glowing feeling. This must be how it feels to sell your soul!

It didn’t happen again.

Maybe I held off taking antibiotics immediately hoping for another moment of touching my old normality. It’s amazing how even the everyday act of regular urination feels as impossible as winning the big cuddly prize in the circus concessions.

So what happened next was down to my own avarice. That and the after-effects of the antibiotic clindamycin, which I wrote about in passing last week. Passing is what it does best — the antibiotic effect has long since ceased, but as I write this, it’s still making me poo like I was some kind of industrial plop machine.

This is an incredible side effect for someone with MS. Recently, it necessitated the deployment of an anal catheter. It must be truly devastating if you’re one of the normals.

This is where two completely separate effects harmonize in an unfortunate symphony of trouble.

I was rushing yet again to get from my wheelchair onto my commode. Unfortunately, these calisthenics were undermined by the sudden onset of that old UTI weakness. I found myself somehow caught on the half-turn between my bed and the commode, trapped by the wheels of my chair and unable to get to my phone, which was just on the bed behind me.

It was also the dead of night. I struggled “manfully” for a bit until I realized I was trapped. With no other recompense, Zen was thrown through the window and I commenced shouting. It got more urgent when I felt the little power I had in my body begin to fail and realized that the weird position I’d gotten myself into might break my neck on the way down.

I started flinging insults at my oldest son, who sleeps in the bedroom above. He regularly complains that my television is too loud, yet now that I was screaming in mounting fear, he heard nothing?

I’ve cleaned it up a bit!

Eventually, my wife heard my wailing. It felt like I’d been at it for half an hour. Who knows, might it have been five minutes? Panic extends time.

I’d been living with a chronic UTI for so long that I’d become blasé.

Too cool, I’d been schooled!


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.


Dee Parks avatar

Dee Parks

Do MS sufferers have a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 ?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

It depends on what DMT's [Disease Modifying Therapies] they've had! I've gone through Lemtrada and currently on Ocrevus. My immune system was so low my Neurologist stopped my last infusion in December. Turns out to have been a good thing! As far as I know as a patient all DMT's effect our immune systems. I've just had some of the most extreme.... I started sheltering weeks before everyone else. Hope that's helpful. Best John


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