All Quiet on the MS Front — Well, Nearly

It's been an unusually tame week, medically speaking, for columnist John Connor

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by John Connor |

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living with MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | main graphic for the column

Note: The second half of this column details digestive symptoms that may make readers uncomfortable. 

In the five years that I’ve written this “irreverent journey with multiple sclerosis (MS),” quoting from my very own bio at the foot of this column, I think I’ve only covered this “quiet” subject once.

There’s always doctor appointments where I see numerous specialists, which then splinters into additional follow-up meetings. My latest specialist appointments are to address the spasticity in my right arm. The first was with a consultant neurologist, clinical nurse specialist, and specialized physiotherapist. So that’s three medical practitioners whom I may see again separately or as a group.

So far, it’s been the physiotherapist. She just gave me an arm splint to wear overnight, another thing that my wife and main carer, Jane, has to add as the final flourish in the rigmarole of putting me into bed. I have to be hoisted these days.

secondary progressive ms | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | A close-up of John's right arm with his new splint, which covers just below and above his elbow

Ready, steady, splint! (Photo by Jane Davies)

I haven’t had any doctor appointments this week, but I’ve been quickly recalled next week to see the physiotherapist. Presumably, it’s to see how I’m getting on with the splint. I’ve got good news for her: It’s helped a lot.

Apart from this latest change, it’s definitely all quiet on the MS front. Since I slipped into secondary progressive MS two years ago, the MS only seems to be slowly progressing in my right arm. But, hey, with the medical establishment now tackling it head- … er, “arm-on,” things are beginning to settle down.

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I used to use marijuana to help with the spasticity, but my source has unfortunately dried up. It helped enormously overnight, and physically the next day, but left my brain in a fug — a hangover without any of the side effects one gets from alcohol. It was bearable, but now I’m definitely functioning on the brighter side of life.

Now, to cheer up one of my editors — you know who you are — who was wondering the other week where the real John Connor had gone, as my copy was too clean. So, to not disappoint at the end, my end decided to go rogue for no apparent reason. For 14 straight hours, it suddenly decided to pump out poo.

When you’re stuck in a wheelchair at 7 p.m., this is problematic. I was trying to have a wee, but instead a creeping mass more reminiscent of a body horror movie by David Cronenberg erupted from my bot-bot. Jane dealt with it. I went to the wet room to use my second anal catheter of the day. Even more came out. Then I had a shower.

The creature, let’s call it the blob, blocked the lavatory. It took four brimming toilet bowls full of extremely hot water to shift it. Surely that was it. Extra early the next morning, Jane had to get me back in the wet room, where a similar amount erupted.

If only this meant I’d lost weight! In a brief and only passing way, I had. Unfortunately, we lose weight via the exhalation of carbon dioxide. This was a very surprising study revelation from 2014 that I’d just caught up with.

Apart from this horrible visitation, especially for Jane, the MS itself was thankfully having a lovely rest.


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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Kevin Schaefer avatar

Kevin Schaefer

Ha! Love the ending.

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