My Coffee Cup Runneth Over, Plus a Darned Interruption

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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So, where was I last week?

I was in the midst of writing this column when I was felled overnight by my long-term nemesis: a urinary tract infection (UTI). As usual, I had no idea I had one — but hey, I was ill. I’m sure I’ve banged on about the exact following scenario before, but can I find it? That’s a big no, big buddy.

Here’s the skinny. My neurogenic right arm went into spasm just after I’d gone to bed, with absolutely no warning. I took a diazepam, which tends to have a minor effect. Pain still scythed through me. It was time to get out the big guns: I took an enormous dose of liquid marijuana. The pain was still there, but I no longer cared. I got so stoned that it took me 24 hours to recover. But hey, it worked.

Could I write? Nope — bed rest only. Even working the TV remote proved too complex. Still, the pain had gone.

As usual, my wife, Jane, worked out the cause in seconds. I had a temperature. A sneaky UTI had hit me and caused the spasm. I started taking the extra antibiotic, trimethoprim, my specialist consultant urologist had prescribed for this scenario, on top of my daily prophylactic dose of the antibiotic nitrofurantoin. I’ve been on that for a year now. I think I may be breaking records.

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To Have a Persistent UTI or Not? That Is the Question

Thankfully, the combination worked. I’m still taking the trimethoprim. I’ll give it a week or two.

Anyhoo, where was I?

I don’t get out much! OK, for a while there, none of us did. Being out and about again is no longer like riding a bike — those were the days. Even as disability consumes me, inside there’s still the vivacious, slapdash bloke I’ve always been. Unfortunately, in a fight between the two, the bloke inevitably loses.

Jane and I were recently on a mission to reconnoiter potential places for us to stop for a bite to eat and a decent coffee. This was complicated by us needing a venue that was wheelchair-accessible, had options for hungry vegans, and served good coffee. This may be London, but in our particular, far-flung, outer, southern ring of suburbia, this Venn diagram rarely intersects.

Eventually, we found a properly independent Italian cafe. The patisseries looked especially enticing. Unfortunately, cream was an integral ingredient.

A large, steaming oatmeal mocha was placed in front of me. Hurrah. However, I hardly ever drink out of a normal cup anymore. I switched to plastic thermos mugs with sealed tops long ago. As usual, I ignored any potential difficulties of the cup situation. Jane pointed them out.

The first sip was the hardest. My one fully functioning limb, my left arm and hand, just went for it. Amazingly, despite the heat, I pulled it off. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Though perhaps that phrase is more applicable to cocktails!

going out with MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | A photo shows John sitting in his wheelchair and holding a blue travel mug of coffee.

Have mug, will travel! (Photo by John Connor)

The second sip, not so much. More coffee poured onto my jacket than landed in my mouth. Fortunately, I’d finally gotten it into my head that not all of the jackets I owned still fit. I may have put on weight, but not in my upper torso. It’s the process of putting something on while sitting that’s the problem. When I was still working, just under two years ago, I could still walk a tad, or at least stand up. Turns out this is amazingly slimming. Who knew?

All this meant I had bought a new, XXL, waterproof, padded jacket. Its first liquid test was a hot mocha. It worked.

Dropping in somewhere for a coffee now necessitates bringing my own mug. The upside is that it’s vacuum-sealed, so everything stays hotter and actually gets into my mouth.

It’s also a lot bigger. Goodie.


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.


Broughton Leanne avatar

Broughton Leanne

I've resorted to using a metal straw with my liquids due to the pain of trigeminal neuralgia. The pain seems never ending, though lessens at times. I also use a tall coffèe mug and only fill it halfway, my "spilly mug".

Alice Harris avatar

Alice Harris

Just a hopefully helpful comment on UTI's.
I used to get UTI's. I have found taking one 650mg Cranberry tablet a day has staved off UTI's for me. Hopefully it will help you, too.

John Connor avatar

John Connor

If only it was that easy.


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