So, Where Do I Start?

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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attack, START, morning, retirement, victory, Christmas and covid-19

Ah, it’s not the blank page that all writers fear that I’m worried about. Those days have long left me. Now it’s applying the discipline to stop!

When I first started with a professional writing commission, I sat in the office all day with that fear freezing me. (Those were the days before even fax machines. I suppose I’ll have to explain what a fax machine is.)

What would the readers think? What would my commissioner think? Sitting opposite me, he said kindly, “Just do it. I’m off to the pub.”

It was that late!

Maybe it was the thought of a drink that finally freed me. I rattled the assignment off on a mechanical typewriter in front of me and left it on his desk for the morning.

Besides a bit of grammar — still my bête noire — he changed barely anything. My career was off. It couldn’t have hurt that I’d bought him a pint the previous night.

I’ve got START — which in the British healthcare system stands for Short Term Assessment and Reablement Team, a program to facilitate independence — beginning this week. My MS relapse, along with yet another urinary tract infection and a complete destruction of my right arm from neurological pain, had completely withered me.

The START team will arrive every day for an hour to get me out of bed using the hoist. I have four hoist suits. Two are regular, so that one can be washed. One is for the toilet, so that I can be put on the commode. Another is for the shower, so that I can be put on the commode, which also is a shower chair, and then be wheeled to the shower.

I’m a bit hazy about the details of all this, as I’ve only had one ride on it. The nearest comparison was that it felt like I was in some kind of high-tech ski lift.

More on that next week, when at least I’ll have an in idea of this whirlwind of Kansas proportions.

It’s been a hellish week. I should keep a diary but, ahem, this tends to be it!

On Sunday night, the pain was so bad I whimpered that I couldn’t get into bed and spent the night in my powered chair.

My local occupational therapist visited and didn’t like the sound the electric profiling bed made when it went up and down. I pointed out it had done this from day one.

I’ve now had a hoist fitted and a bigger bariatric bed, which is a more medical term for obesity; hey, I can’t get on scales and do exercise anymore, your honor!

This happened in a matter of days.

A new bed and a new lift. It’s been quite a week! (Photo by John Connor)

Our National Health Service can be frighteningly efficient.

All of this will relieve the strain on my wife.

In the meantime, my right arm seems to have started functioning again due to a larger dose of the muscle relaxer baclofen. It’s nothing outrageous, I’m just moving up to the normal adult prescription of 10 mg, three times a day.

This morning, I could even lift myself onto my Molift on my own.

However the week started, it seems to be ending well.

I’ll drink to that!


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.


Paul avatar


I enjoy your writings John. Thank you for sharing.
I also find that Having a beer or as you would say a pint is always the best way to end the day or a week.
Cheers, Paul

Eleanor avatar


Hear hear John your humor is addictive. I say whatever it takes to get through the day...CBD oil for me and the occasional glass of wine.

Dan MADDEN avatar


I enjoy your descriptions of your "adventures" very much. Your national health service sounds terrific. In the U.S., we have a similar system, except that it doesn't kick in until you and your spouse are completely out of money.

Judith S Kerfoot avatar

Judith S Kerfoot

Who of us knew we were strong enough to be able to deal with everything we get faced with? Thanks for sharing your experiences.


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