For the last few months, urinary tract infections (UTIs) have been the main subject of this column. My current disease-modifying therapy, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), has had a significant impact on my multiple sclerosis (MS). The only downside is that Ocrevus attacks B-cells in the body, increasing the risk of UTIs.
Symptoms of a UTI include the constant urge to pee, even when you’ve recently gone, and pain when you do go. The pungent, fishy smell from the urine, while inconvenient, is manageable. The issue is that UTIs complicate MS symptoms. In my case, I lose whatever mobility I have left. Getting out of bed is suddenly a major issue, just as much as getting into bed.
About a month ago, I was woken from a deep sleep with sudden shoulder pain. I had a sneaking suspicion the culprit was yet another UTI. A proper test proved I was right.
This near-constant circle of illness and recovery has me incredibly confused. I’m starting to forget what has happened. The specifics are getting so slippery that I might as well be a Time Lord. (That’s a “Doctor Who” reference for my American readers.)
I finished my course of amoxicillin on Thursday morning. To ensure the antibiotic didn’t interfere with the urine sample, I waited until Friday morning to supply one. I was prescribed nitrofurantoin, which at 250 milligrams is double the amount normally prescribed for a UTI. I took the first dose at 6 p.m. and everything was fine. My shoulder didn’t hurt. I had no symptoms!
At 11 p.m., I erupted.
I peed five times in two hours, and had a clawing need to urinate within seconds of finishing. I self-catheterize, so I usually use Cathejell when I go to the bathroom. This time, however, I was peeing tiny amounts on my own. At least from an environmental point of view, no plastic was employed!
I could hardly move at that point, so my wife put an adult diaper on me. To think we’d assumed that our days of raising children were over!
The symptoms worsened on Saturday. Eventually, we had to phone 111, the National Health Service emergency line. By 4 a.m. on Sunday, an ambulance was taking me to the emergency room. I was peeing every five minutes, which is an incredibly weird feeling for someone who hasn’t relieved himself naturally for eight years.
I was put on ciprofloxacin, a restricted antibiotic that I’ve taken previously for pseudomonas. By 10 a.m. on Sunday, I was starting to recover.
The kicker? I phoned my doctor on Tuesday about the urine sample I supplied on Friday morning. The results were clear: no infection.
No wonder I’m confused.
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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.