Friday, 19 May 2017

"Freedom!" (shouted in a manly but appalling Scottish accent)

I was free of Multiple Sclerosis last weekend. For a whole two minutes.

Milton Keynes was the unlikely spot for my brief whoosh of whooshiness. And Xscape the appropriately named building where, just for a fleeting while, I was as absent of MS as I'm likely to be for a while. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, but I'm still on a mini-high...


That's me, the deliriously happy chap in blue. And to the right of me in red the very patient expert trainer holding on to me for dear life and controlling my rather wayward limbs. Below me a huge fan blowing 110 miles per hour air right at us. Around and above us a wind tunnel.

Without expert trainer dude I'd have been all over the shop and breaking bones in seconds. With his guiding hands and strength I was able to soak up - or suck up! - the amazing sensation of free-falling, without a care in my shrunken MS world.

It's not that I think about multiple sclerosis all the time. Though I do, too much. I know.

It's more that most waking moments involve subconscious planning of my next few seconds, my next hour, the rest of the day. Can I reach that book? Shall I bother then? What can I use to haul myself up? Will my walker get past that pile of clothes? Time for drugs? Should I self-catheterise yet? Time for a nap? Energy to talk? Safe to cut a slice of bread? What was I just intending to do? What's that sharp new pain in my leg? Am I sitting like my physio told me to? (No, usually). Will I get to the phone in time? (No, usually). Is it too late to have some water before bedtime? (Yes, usually). Hey ho. It's what I've been used to forever, so the disabled me just treats it all as utterly normal.

To experience moments of utter clarity, utter focus on a new and sometimes bonkers sensation is just... bliss. Priceless bliss. I've skydived three times, I've ventured out in an ingeniously adapted tall ship, I've flown in a glider. And there are plenty more adventures on the bucket list. Hopefully Mrs W will join me on some of them. Amazing, courageous in so many ways, my fantabulous wife. But scared of heights. Awkward. ZipWire. Paraglide. Abseil. More skydives...)

I digress. I only clicked afterwards, but what set my "iFly" experience apart was the 'awesome' (that's eleven year-old speak), precious opportunity I had to share it with my older son. High 5's and fist bumps with him as we both took our turns to 'fly' were more special than he'll really know. I can't be there to kick a rugby ball about. Or fight a Nerf gun war. Or chase seagulls on the beach. I wasn't there to teach him to ride a bike. But I was there to share some silliness in a gusty concrete block in Milton Keynes.

Freedom!


(PS, He got all his mum's good looks)

Monday, 8 May 2017

Urology. Rhymes with Eurghh-ology

Urology. The dark arts of investigating malfunctioning bladder and bowels. I doff my cap to anyone who enters or leaves medical studies and says, "I know, I'll become an expert in wee and poo and stuff."

Sadly, like many a person with Multiple Sclerosis, I'm well-acquainted with urologists and their capacity for rummaging around and describing with complete precision the shape and size of my prostate. All the while chatting to me about the time of day or this afternoon's weather.

And the title of my blog, "One man and his catheters," may just indicate one routine I have to follow three or four times a day. The first time I did it, the nurse training me, (no, she wasn't young, Swedish or gorgeous), told me she feared I would pass out. It really is rather scary at first poking something up your willy. But it soon becomes as routine as brushing your teeth. And much quicker. Best not mix the two jobs up though...

Usually a urology check-up lasts a few minutes at most. This afternoon, as a result of my recent morphine-hazy hospital stay with a stonking bladder infection, I'm in for a thorough examination. Could be up to four hours they tell me. I'm wincing thinking about it. And I won't be reporting any details back, thank you.