Fighting the Beast

Fighting the Beast
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It was 3 p.m. last Thursday. Things should have been good.

I had filed the copy for my previous column the day before. Ultimately, some of my outrageous musings had gone, and some I considered even worse had stayed. It’s an age-old journalism, radio, and TV writer’s trick: If the basic copy is good, you can go for it — as long as you stay within editorial guidelines.

When I was a live comedy producer, I encouraged performers to push their own limits. I can never do justice to the story, but this led to one inspired piece of clowning that involved miles of tightly rolled gaffer tape and dancing to a Madonna track for five minutes.

Madonna had just fallen off stage at an awards ceremony, and instead of informed verbal stand-up, our audience got a few moments of pure performance clowning. They laughed incessantly, especially when the music finished. The performer stopped. Then he and the music just started again!

There was no rehearsal and no time to discuss it during the 15-minute interval. It just happened.

We were also in hysterics. Moments of extreme, pure joy happen in live theater, but they are so, so rare.

Still, my laissez-faire attitude did lead to one performer exposing himself for the last 10 minutes of one show. It had something to do with a promise he’d made to an audience member at a club night somewhere else.

So, why this happy sojourn?

I’m getting fed up of continually going into battle with MS.

On Thursday, my right shoulder was on fire. I didn’t want to take any diazepam because it can knock me out, so I need to be in bed. But I was with my eldest son who is reluctant to use the hoist on his own.

Eventually, my wife returned, and I was hoisted into bed. I immediately downed two diazepam.

It made no difference. I screamed for hours. My screams softened to whimpers overnight.

The diazepam began to have an effect. I admit to popping them like sweets. But, like any good soldier of this disease, I had researched the possibility of overdose. It turns out the most common symptom of a diazepam overdose is sleeping for a long time. And looking a tad foolish!

Of course, the consequences would be different if I added alcohol. I drink for pleasure — not when I’m screaming.

I didn’t dare venture out of bed till Saturday, and only stopped taking the diazepam on Monday. As of Wednesday, my right shoulder is fine, but the medication has sapped my physical strength.

That’s one beast fought and won.

Another beast turned up yesterday, but that’s a different battle.

I feel like King Harold II in 1066, who fought and beat the Vikings all the way to the north in Yorkshire, only to face the Normans on the southern coast in the Battle of Hastings a few weeks later!

Don’t worry, my eye is fine. Well, the one I look out of!

***

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

In 1982 John Connor was a stand up, sketch writer & journalist – ‘Crap at all three he decided whilst watching a man performing with a paper bag on his head that as nobody else was going to write about stand up he would’. ‘Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms’ by John Connor. Papermac 1990. In 2009 John Connor was diagnosed with MS. In 2020 John Connor stopped producing & directing his own devised live 30 year old resident topical comedy show at London’s Comedy Store – ‘The Edge’. Ironically destroyed by the biggest news story to hit the world since 1939! He was also a UK TV Casting Director specializing in comedy – including one of the hippest shows ‘Black Books’ [double BAFTA winning Situation Comedy Award] & for at least a decade the biggest sitcom on British TV ‘My Family’. TV & MS was a step too far – and we know how hard any step can be. Now he can’t even manage a step! John also writes “Fall Down Get Up Again” – an irreverent journey with MS for Multiple Sclerosis News Today. And is now the Co-Moderator of MSNT’s MS Forum.
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In 1982 John Connor was a stand up, sketch writer & journalist – ‘Crap at all three he decided whilst watching a man performing with a paper bag on his head that as nobody else was going to write about stand up he would’. ‘Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms’ by John Connor. Papermac 1990. In 2009 John Connor was diagnosed with MS. In 2020 John Connor stopped producing & directing his own devised live 30 year old resident topical comedy show at London’s Comedy Store – ‘The Edge’. Ironically destroyed by the biggest news story to hit the world since 1939! He was also a UK TV Casting Director specializing in comedy – including one of the hippest shows ‘Black Books’ [double BAFTA winning Situation Comedy Award] & for at least a decade the biggest sitcom on British TV ‘My Family’. TV & MS was a step too far – and we know how hard any step can be. Now he can’t even manage a step! John also writes “Fall Down Get Up Again” – an irreverent journey with MS for Multiple Sclerosis News Today. And is now the Co-Moderator of MSNT’s MS Forum.
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One comment

  1. I meant to give this article 5 stars but my fingers don’t do as they are told. What a joy to read! I used to write books (four have been published). All about living with the ‘mischievous beast’ ms. But to write the BEST comedies EVER! 40 years with ms since I was 17. RESPECT.

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