MS and Boxing: Being Clever With My Pants

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by John Connor |

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After last week’s column about my neurologist declaring that I now have secondary progressive MS, a certain ennui has seeped into me. While this isn’t surprising, it’s also surprising, because I’m on the mood-altering drug fluoxetine.

OK, fluoxetine is a regular antidepressant, but “mood-altering” sounds so much cooler. In the 1990s, it was known as Prozac, and for some reason, it was trendy.

I’m not taking fluoxetine as an antidepressant, but because it has pain-altering abilities. No scientist has worked out quite why. I swallow it for my chronic trigeminal neuralgia.

Many of the drugs I take are in similar situations. Oxcarbazepine originally was a treatment for epilepsy. Modafinil, which I use for MS brain fog, was designed for narcolepsy. (OK, that one’s not so surprising.)

But what does that have to do with boxer shorts and pants, the supposed theme of this column?

I needed cheering up. Obviously, drugs weren’t doing it.

Then, surprise, surprise, the modafinil kicked in. There must be someone in the U.K. who had worked out the difficulty of us wheelchair mob using a catheter with normal trousers. It’s like a wrestling match, compounded by my neuropathic right arm and hand working only intermittently. Each match was good value, often lasting an hour.

Finally, I was called into the special hospital unit I’d tracked down that deals with long-term urinary tract infections (UTIs). They needed a fresh urine sample, which they whizzed off to the lab for results in less than two hours. Oh, joy.

I’m not complaining, though. Under their ministrations, my incessant UTIs have been in abeyance since early February. Ironically, my UTIs may just have passed!

I was, however, dreading providing a fresh sample.

Hitting the net with the right search parameters turned out to be terrifically easy — I got these babies, the “Inner Opening Drop Front Wheelchair Jersey Trousers.” They have Velcro fittings with a front lap that just peels down. They turned up the day before my appointment, something of a double relief!

Now I own two pairs.

My wife, Jane, and I are both vaccinated, so we ventured out for a pizza with a close friend who lives near the hospital. Although it was a two-hour drive across London, it was actually home ground for both of us. Jane grew up around the corner, and I’d spent my formative years as a somewhat edgy journalist there in my 20s. (“Somewhat” means influential rather than successful.)

“Out” in the U.K. still means outside. Luckily, I had pants on rather than the shorts I normally would have been forced to wear to give a sample.

And finally, the good news keeps on coming. I seem to have finally mastered my anal catheter. It’s only taken me about two years! I can wear boxer shorts again. Now that really is a relief.

I’ll have to hit the internet again and buy some more, as only four are left.

For some reason, I had to cut myself out of most of them.


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.


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