What started as a simple problem turned into a complex kerfuffle

Pushing past his fatigue limit had consequences for columnist John Connor

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by John Connor |

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Long ago, I acquired a pair of speakers for my laptop. In fact, they’ve survived many, many iterations of the things. Laptops become outdated quickly, their inbuilt fans fail, or, as in my latest version, the installed RAM is only 8 gigabytes. I’ve been made aware that RAM, or random-access memory, is essentially a computer’s working memory, and thus determines how fast the device will run.

My youngest son, Jack, immediately pronounced that my computer didn’t have enough RAM. With only a few programs open, the whole thing was freezing. To my chagrin, you can’t increase the RAM economically unless you’re a dab hand at taking your laptop apart and installing the additional memory yourself. Besides, having a duff hand anyway, I possess a dullard’s one in performing anything remotely technical.

Fortunately, my computer security software company offered me a sweet, sweet deal and tidied up the whole device for 10 pounds (about $12.89). So it’s currently still viable — just!

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All was hunky-dory then, except I managed to knock the speakers off my desk due to the ever-growing mess on it. It’s been this way since I started using a desk. A messy desk is supposed to be a sign of intelligence, though I figure any scientists conducting such tests have messy desks themselves.

In the end, something had to give on mine. My speakers were on the floor. With everything else working, it was time to sort this out. Still, I figured this would be a relatively simple job.

“Oh, no, it isn’t.”

Who said that?

I should’ve listened to that inner voice.

Hitting a snag

Retrieving the speakers required an assiduous use of the disabled grabbers under my desk, which also necessitated an insane amount of bending down. This “simple” job took me more than an hour to accomplish. But now everything was in its correct place, and finally all was sorted.

All, as it turned out, except little ol’ me. I’d been concentrating so hard that I hadn’t noticed I’d reached my fatigue limit and pushed right on through it — akin to the newfangled climbers on Mount Everest who refuse to use oxygen when they reach the atmospheric death zone and think willpower alone will allow them to make it. A few each year never do!

I was beyond shattered and decided there was no point in doing anything other than watching the really smart telly in the living room. This required backing up past my bed, turning, and going straight into said living room.

However, being beyond shattered in body and mind meant I somehow got fiendishly ensnared in the door handle and the somewhat-William Heath Robinson method we’ve been using to keep my now bedroom door open for the five years I’ve been living downstairs.

Of course, I thought it was just a temporary snag, so tried to escape. That only made things worse. My fatigued brain finally got the message that I needed help.

A close-up photo shows the columnist's wheelchair stuck on a door handle.

Er, get out of that. (Photo by Jane Davies)

Luckily, though, it was a Sunday, so members of my family were at home. Saint Jane (my wife) managed to undo some of the puzzle, but didn’t have the strength for the rest. Fortunately, that youngest son, along with his honed muscles, was also upstairs to be called down.

At one point, he was considering unscrewing the door from its hinges. Yes, it really was that bad. In the end, it took him 10 minutes, and I was eventually free.

Yup, I should’ve asked for help with the speakers in the first place, but self-reliance is a hard morality to discard. I was even scolded by my carer this morning for it.

I still just need to try for the occasional win.

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.


Nancy avatar


That’s a great story John, it’s certainly taken me a while to really pay more attention to my own fatigue levels. Especially difficult when you’re used to doing so much more in days gone by!


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