A Morning With No Opera but Enough for a Small Choir!

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by John Connor |

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

Last Wednesday my days of rest suddenly smashed to a halt.

At one point it seemed like the majority of those who work for my local council’s social services (whom I should have also thanked for their immense help over the last few weeks, mea culpa) were squeezed into my downstairs bedroom.

At 8:30 a.m. three of them turned up — a manual handling expert and two members of the START team. I had to check that this was correct with my wife, which just confirms her contention that I’m “too busy trying to entertain to actually take anything in!”

Note the exquisite use of “trying” — both failing and annoying all in the one word! Mortifying that she’s yet again totally right!

I was only slightly ameliorated that she had to check this appointment in her phone’s diary.

MS weakens us substantially but our personality traits don’t change — except that they can get severely worse!

First I was trialed in a variety of slings for my hoist until the best combination was found. Eventually I was deposited on my commode/shower chair and wheeled off for a shower. My first in over a week. I wasn’t allowed to be taken by my carers until a risk assessment was done.

As the OT in charge of my case couldn’t come till the beginning of July, this was a much appreciated interim intervention.

Three people helped shower me, which I thought was a bit of overkill — or perhaps “overspill” [sic]. They couldn’t all get in my wet room!

This all took so long that my two regular START carers then turned up. That’s five from social services plus me and my wife.

Yes, I immediately thought of one of my favorite comedy movie scenes — the overfilled cabin in The Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera.” Not surprisingly, no one had heard of the Marx Brothers. Well, except my wife, and she was in no mood for me to cast myself as Groucho. Ha-cha-char.

We were just about finished when I had to break away to take a pre-arranged call with a local hospital consultant urologist. No more trips to the hospital — everything is now done by phone!

I had 20 minutes to convince her to refer me to a urologist who specializes in long-term urinary tract infections at a hospital in North London. I live in London’s deep, deep south.

It worked and a copy turned up this morning.

My wife also had to deal with two separate deliveries instigated by social services; one to deliver and the other to take away stuff that didn’t fit.

So a bit of recovery was needed all ’round when immediately we were struck by a full-blown CSI Sutton on the pavement outside a house on my street.

We live in a quiet suburban street! The last time I can remember anything memorable happening was some 20 years ago when a truly drunk driver was doing a solid 10 mph by hugging the pavement. His plan was somewhat thwarted by smashing into the occasional car that had had the temerity to actually park! My neighbor and I chased him a mile around the block, until he made a stumbling run for it … only to be immaculately rugby tackled by another bloke who dashed out of a nearby house. Cheek!

The glory was his; still, we didn’t have to be interviewed by the police!

Back to the present. The people were being arrested while a police dog barked furiously. Social distancing was maintained throughout except when the handcuffs were slipped on. We have no idea what was going on, although my wife earwigging from the room above me heard the man say, “I’ve got gang trouble up Croydon!”

Next it was the wheelchair repairman. Of course, nothing that he came with fit but at least he accurately reported what would. It’s thankfully now all been done.

Finally the manual handling expert returned at 5:30 p.m. to give my family more thorough instructions on how to use the slings and hoist.

So up I went again! And that was it!

Everyone wore PPE. I was glad but really too tired to care.


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.


Emma avatar


Ffs! Only 5 in your bathroom? weren’t even trying.


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