This is what happens when I actually take the weekend off

With a birthday bash or two on schedule, when's a columnist to ply his trade?

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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A few columns back, I wrote about my lack of time to get anything done. Sure, the way around it would be to get up infernally early — well, early for me. But I’m most certainly not going to pay to be punished. And that’s the story I’ve always stuck to, M’lud.

The Bohemian lifestyle was always the one for me. However mainstream my professions became, I unerringly worked from home. The only early commuting I had to worry about was the traffic up the stairs to our loft office to answer the phone at 10 a.m.

In the 1990s, Jane, my wife, and I had one of the few casting director companies to work from home. By the time she effectively retired a few years ago, this approach was de rigueur for our industry. I kept going as long as I could after my 2009 diagnosis, but multiple sclerosis, as always, won.

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Back to the weekend. We’ve continually said no to going to things as a couple. OK, OK, I’ve continually said no. Since four months of hospitalization combined with November to April in a physical recovery unit, diarrhea has been my near constant companion. Even sitting outside is not the answer, unless it’s just me alone in a corner of a field, masked by the ordure of the field’s regular inhabitants.

It’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve brought it under control by self-medicating copious amounts of loperamide, the anti-diarrhea drug often known by the brand name Imodium. And now I hardly use it. My digestive system seems to have been wrestled back into shape.

While celebrating birthdays …

So, on Saturday, we went to a local pub to celebrate the 60th birthday of an old friend. Very old, as it was her 60th birthday. I’m allowed to tease her as I became an official old-age pensioner the next day, as that milestone has slipped back to 66 here in the U.K. It was 65 until very recently, yet unlike in France, there wasn’t one riot. Our population is far too busy just surviving for that.

As it happened, I did have to sit outside. Many of our public houses (pubs or bars) date back to the Victorian era and therefore are completely wheelchair no-go areas. Hey-ho.

The 5-year-old daughter of a policeman who, as a Boy Scout, was the mate of my youngest son, Jack, became fascinated with me. She kept popping out of the pub to ask me questions. No, I couldn’t do magic. “Why was I out here on my own?” she asked.

“Because no one likes me,” I immediately replied.

She thought for a while and sweetly replied, “I like you.”

I couldn’t resist the quip, “You’re a fool.”

Her demeanor drooped. Five minutes later, she’d worked out she’d been teased, and back she came.

As we headed home to beat the sunset of mid-October, we went a different way and I was faced by an Indiana Jones dilemma. An old man in a wheelchair had to go around the corner of an incredibly narrow sidewalk with an immense wheel that wanted to throw me into the road, as did someone’s massively overgrown front bush. Jane had to push me back as I teeteringly maneuvered around this insane corner.

Someone shouted at me from behind. I thought at first it was the bush’s owner, but it was a kindly gentleman who’d stopped his car to help. He turned out to be another close mate on his way to the same party. “If I’d known it was you, I wouldn’t have stopped,” he bellowed.

“If I’d known it was you, I wouldn’t have wanted you to!”

His wife got out, and we all had a catch-up. They’d moved out of the area, so I hadn’t seen them for quite a while. Still, their son Bill, who was Jack’s best friend, is now our regular pool man. See how right-on I am?

We made it back without further incident, and the next day was indeed my birthday. We had a leisurely family brunch followed by the chance to watch the fabulously insane horror-comedy gore of “Cocaine Bear,” then had a glorious homemade vegan cake supplied by my sister-in-law Sarah. Immediately thereafter, it was my 7:45 p.m. bedtime.

No bureaucracy done for the whole weekend then. Monday and Tuesday there were oodles of it. Writing this column was thus somewhat miraculous.

If nothing is published by me this week, I’m sure my editors will suddenly agree with my atheist’s mantra: There are no such things as miracles.

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.


Wendy Roe Hovey avatar

Wendy Roe Hovey

I consider you to be a miracle! Albeit a bawdy, prone-to-black-humor miracle...

Ginny avatar


Thanks for the laugh, loved the column. But, oh, I'm envious...vegan birthday cake! (Well done, Sarah!) Happy belated birthday and best wishes , John!


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