My ‘Great Escape’ During a Long Pandemic

My ‘Great Escape’ During a Long Pandemic
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Unfortunately, mine didn’t involve a cool motorbike — it was the wrong kind, as somehow Steve McQueen had managed to steal a British one — and an impossible jump at barbed wire to get into Switzerland!

I’ll now never be able to get onto a motorbike anyway.

Instead, it was the only outing where I actually went anywhere in nine months.

Indeed it still is the only one, given the sudden rampage of the new COVID-19 variant trapping me inside once again. On this very day of writing, the U.K. has just recorded its highest daily COVID-19 death toll since the pandemic began, at 1,564 deaths.

I put myself into self-imposed exile in the middle of February, a month before the rest of the U.K., even before I was instructed to do so by my MS neurological masters, let alone by my government. It was definitely the upside of running a topical satire show for 30 years.

Having next to no immune system, I had more than a sneaking suspicion that the only thing that might protect me was to make myself immune to the world. It was a pity, as I missed the last three shows of my showbiz career, but if I’d gone in, I might have missed a whole lot more.

But let’s get back to my outing.

The van to nowhere. (Photo by Jane Davies)

I have a massive VW van sitting outside my house. It is literally catching dust and spiders. It took me about 10 months to source it and get the funding in place. Unfortunately, with my two relapses this year, I’m unlikely to ever be able to physically transfer into the adapted swivel seat to actually drive it. Which cost us a fortune. Hey-ho!

It needs regular driving to keep the battery charged. And the electrical system is so complicated that unfortunately, a battery trickle charger can’t be applied. If my wife forgets to turn it over occasionally, well, then it won’t turn over. And my wife has enough to deal with already.

Still, because I don’t own it, depreciation isn’t a worry — just the weekly funding to pay for its hire from the program Motability.

Ironically, my trip was back to the last place I’d already been: the local-ish MS therapy center. This time, it was like entering an airport customs area. Luckily, there was no line, as we were oh-so-very-carefully booked in one at a time.

I had a go at the sit-down bike, the only proper exercise I’d had in all that time. Then I got to stand for 30 minutes.

Look at me, Ma! I’m on top of the world. (Courtesy of John Connor)

Standing is incredibly good for us sit-down folks, both mentally and physiologically. It’s also the only time I ever get to physically check out my physiotherapist’s roots.

What am I like? I think we know.

***

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 the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes “Fall Down Get Up Again,” an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.
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In the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes “Fall Down Get Up Again,” an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.
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