Reflections from the front line: My recovery from muscle deconditioning

A columnist works to regain some strength after a prolonged hospitalization

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

Share this article:

Share article via email
main graphic for the column

I’m worried that my tales of recovery may have gotten a tad boring, so let me liven things up with the weirdest thing I now have to live with. The head of my “thing” has been sliced half an inch vertically.

By “thing,” I of course mean my penis! And the slice is underneath the glans, which, from what I can make out from the medical literature, is made up of fibrous bands of collagen. If this doesn’t grab your interest, then I really stand no chance of replacing Tucker Carlson at Fox News.

Everyone involved in my care has been extremely, ahem, caring; it’s just been one of those things. If I hadn’t had persistent diarrhea for three weeks at my new rehabilitation center, then the nurse wouldn’t have quite sensibly advised against returning to my normal intermittent catheter regimen. Instead, I was advised to stick with the sensibly fitted (while in the hospital, anyway), indwelling one.

Now, that worked fine while lying all day in a hospital bed. But at the rehab center, it gave me constant pain. Especially given the directions of my wonderful physiotherapist, Greg. (His name makes him sound like an Aussie, but he still lives in his native Bolton, England. There is such a shortage of physios down “Soouuth” — that’s South London slang — that several of my physios did exactly the same thing. “The work down here is so much better paid,” one confided in me.) Greg regularly had me on a standing frame, working to strengthen my completely flaccid back extensor muscles. It was exhausting.

Recommended Reading
main graphic for the column

Reflections from the front line: Awakening to the new dawn

I was in extreme pain every day just getting around in my wheelchair. I had to take paracetamol every four hours during waking hours.

Occasionally, there’d be blood in my urine, which had happened for three solid days in the hospital when too large a catheter had been fitted. It was agonizing. My body then ejected my normal-sized catheters for a week!

It was a bit of a shock when the intermittent catheter was removed, and I finally pulled the hood of the old todger back. Unsurprisingly, it needed a few days of recovery. No wonder I’d been in pain — I’d had unexpected plastic surgery.

Exercise and multiple sclerosis

Once I’d started to heal, I could throw myself fully into my exercise regimen. Greg, the Bolton Wanderer (a lower league English footie team), was amazed at the speed of my recovery. After only one physiotherapy session, my body had learned to sit up straight in my chair. I’ve completely forgotten what he taught me, but luckily, my body hasn’t. It’s still doing it.

My back extensors were another thing; they’d improved greatly, certainly. But not enough for me to be safe on the Molift that I’d fallen off of, which led to my late November hospitalization in the first place.

Greg decided I needed a machine that replicated the Molift’s function, but would also be totally safe for me. As with everything else, he’s been totally correct. Enter the MiniLift160 Classic into my life.

It took an extra two weeks for the product to be placed in my home. There was also a delay in getting the properly sized slings. It turns out I was a medium. That hasn’t happened in a while!

The extra time was great. I was able to work my legs on the exercise bike designed for wheelchair users. For that, I needed a physio session so I could actually be strapped into it. My arms, however, I could set up on my own. I finally managed to bike 3 km at a resistance of 2 in 15 minutes. By the end, I even managed to do 1 km in 15 minutes at a resistance of 15!


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.


Sheree Bodary avatar

Sheree Bodary

Has anyone ever talked to you about a Suprapubic catheter? It's not fun but not painful and makes travel easier.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Damian Washington video 2 thumbnail