The Captain and His No. 2

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by John Connor |

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There I was, swinging away in my hoist at 9 p.m., though my swinging London of the 2020s wasn’t only 60 years later, it was also a lot, lot grimmer.

My carer and maybe still wife, Jane, stood below in a controlled fury. If nothing else, she might turn this into the roaring ’20s. Fitting.

I’ve been using an anal catheter for three years, which has changed my life, as I no longer must spend hours straining on a commode. The catheter arrived at a precipitous time, too, as I was about to completely collapse into secondary progressive MS. I no longer would have the ability to even transfer from my wheelchair to the commode without a great deal of help.

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It’s taken me the last three years to master the contraption. Injecting water into one’s “bot-bot” every morning is fraught with difficulties. Too little and you’ll be a hostage to not clearing your, ahem, passage. Which usually leads to it doing it on its ownsome. Oh dear! Too much and — oh dear! — one turns into an oil gusher.

Thankfully, I still have a fully working left arm. Considering the collapse that’s happened to the rest of me, I can still manage the operation all on my own. All it took was a very large builder’s bucket, which is, after all, designed to deal with all sorts of crap. It’s the right height both to slip under my commode and for me to niftily hold the nozzle inside ye olde orifice while my left hand can then do the requisite pumping.

So if I’d become such a dab hand at all of this, why had things gone so disastrously wrong?

commode | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | John's wet room, replete with a large white bucket

The luxury accessory that complements any wet room. (Photo by John Connor)

If only I knew. For a change, the cliche “sh*t happens” had never been truer.

I’d started leaking at 3 p.m., and from there it’d been unceasing. I’m well aware of my capacity in that particular area and these days never overload it.

Sorry, this is getting me down. Let alone any of you who’ve stuck with this excruciating tale.

Still, this is what our families’ lives are sometimes reduced to. A report from the front line. Hardly a front line of consequence.

My mistake was not to report my mishap earlier.

It was dealt with by carting me off to the wet room on my trusty commode, where a last few final ejections where safely emitted and I could shower off.

So for the few hardy souls who’ve made it to the, ahem, end, this has been my recent view from the almighty poop deck. I’m well aware that this cheeky — sorry, I can’t seem to stop, which is what got me here in the first place — use of the nautical term “poop deck” refers to the raised lookout area at the aft (oops, I nearly wrote “rear”) of sailing ships. It originates from the French word for stern, “la poupe.”

Anyhoo, I’m happy to report that all is now well that (finally) ends well.

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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