Down and Out in London Town

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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Last month, my brother-in-law finally managed to return to Thailand and his lovely wife. He’d been trapped in the U.K. for over a year due to COVID-19. Thailand has quite rightly imposed a Kafkaesque set of rules about entering the country on an extended immigrant visa. Luckily, we had a room to spare in our old office in the attic.

My brother-in-law is quiet yet intensely sharp-witted. Not one prone to effusion, I was surprised in his last few days here that he complimented me on handling MS “… with equanimity, grace and good humor. I doubt I could do that!”

I certainly didn’t feel that way last week, and it has nothing to do with England failing to win in the final of the European Championship. Though that would have cheered me up!

It was the realization that without my family, I’d be helpless. Sure, I could live on my own at home, but only with a constant stream of carers. My morning (well, 11 a.m.) carers are incredibly friendly, but I would feel as trapped as we all have during the recent shenanigans imposed on us.

Why did these morbid thoughts impinge on me?

Maybe it was because I had to see a consultant at my local hospital at 9:45 a.m. on Friday. My wife, Jane, always accompanies me, not just as my carer but as someone else who can take everything in and ask pertinent questions. We’d been sent by my general practitioner, who was worried that my lymphedema was stopping the circulation to my feet. Thankfully, I still had a pulse down there.

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The consultant’s only suggestion was that I should keep my feet up at all times. I pointed out that this would take away my last bit of freedom: the ability to roam around at will in my power wheelchair.

My plea was ignored. I’ve decided I’ll risk the circulation issues before MS overwhelms me!

Sure, I’ve only got the lower floor to play in, but even that’s restricted, with limited access to the kitchen. My wife had to use it as her office while her brother was here. I’m hardly about to limit myself just as I get more acreage.

Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I can also go outside more to eat or visit the occasional pub.

Well, this column hasn’t been at all humorous. Sorry, folks!

Becoming inert the afternoon after my hospital visit didn’t help my mood. I had to be hoisted into bed at 4 p.m. Would this be my new life?

Thankfully not. I fully recovered by the next day.

I’ll cheer up this week. It’s finally turning to summer in London, though much of the city flash flooded with 3 inches of rain in 90 minutes this Monday. Oh, the joys of our new climate. I didn’t notice here at home in very, very South London, as I’m one of the “fools” who lives on a hill!

I won’t be incapacitated by the onset of heat, either, as I’ll now be able to cool off in my pool.

We all get down. It’s getting back up again that’s the trick.


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.


Jenny Orlov avatar

Jenny Orlov

Hello John
Have you tried raising your legs at a ninety degree angle to your trunk while lying in a supine position and resting your legs against a wall? You could do this for about ten minutes a day.
Also ask your wife to massage your legs with the massage direction towards the trunk (not the feet).
In this way lymph will be directed against gravity and could possibly help a bit?
I am not sure if you have tried the above.
Best Wishes.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Hi Jenny nice idea. But if I could do something like that I'd be back to playing wheelchair tennis! It would need an ambulance call out to pick me up again....

Abbey Turner-Watson avatar

Abbey Turner-Watson

As a regular reader of your column, I understand, empathise and (almost always) agree with you.
Only because of way it was listed, I had started reading today's MS email with the Positive Toxicity story, finished reading, then forgot it - negativity has no part in my life..
'Moving on', I was SO happy that your REALITY CHECK Fall Down Get Up Again was still there to be enjoyed, laughed at and maybe even learned from(?)..
Thanks, John, having MS is cruel and unnecessary but, because of people like you, it kind of, almost makes having it worthwhile. Maybe!
Keep On Keeping On, John - you're doing great.
Wishing you the very best of everything, Abbey x

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Ta v. much Abbey. Your comment also did cheer me up. x


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