Saturday, 28 February 2009

Bloody Cold War

So while my blood laboured in LA the rest of me flew east to Moscow. I lived in and around NY for a while in the eighties but nothing beats the insane joy of Moscow. Last time I was there I met up with an old family friend, Dr. Nickolai. We met in the foyer of a old style soviet hotel. He's a big bear of a man, not unlike Breshnev to look at. In his younger days Dr. Nickolai was the countries foremost immunologist and he still has contacts in the business. As customary at such meeting we exchanged carrier bags containing gifts, the whole meeting resembling a cold war exchange of information. In fact we were exchanging information on MS and the best treatments as well as a few boxes of chocolates.

MS feels like a cold war of course. Lots of waiting, the constant threat of worse to come with sudden bursts of unexpected activity. As your nerve endings fray it seems that feet freeze in the heat and swelter in the cold which with harsh winters and cheap heating makes Russia perfect for confusing your extremities. As is customary in icy conditions I fell A over T on my way back from buying a cappuccino and had to helped to my feet by an old lady. My cappuccino was intact even if my self respect wasn't. BB was quick to point out that falling over with or without ice is something I've done for years and is nothing to do with MS

This visit culminated in the launch of the Moscow Chickenshed (Taganka Shed) at the British Embassy. Now that was cool. Well cold actually. Minus 12 outside and snowing as we arrived at the security gates. But if you are going to enter the British embassy in Moscow then quite frankly with snow falling and furtive glances is the only way. It demands to be John Le Carrier. Alas my cover was blown when our EU officer pointed out that nobody, but nobody wears their winter fur hat with ear flaps down...Russians are guilty of many fashion faux pars...but ear flaps down?...please...

With the wind taken from my sails and feeling more Brook than James the evening was saved by a bizarre interview for Russian TV (tell us and our viewers...what is you doing in Russia?) and of course great company in a great restaurant that served an even better Cranberry Vodka. That warmed us up.

Monday, 16 February 2009

It's enough to make you screen

So screening is complete, well almost. I spent the day at the Clinical Trial Centre meeting the doctors and nurses who will oversee the trial should I qualify, and that still remains an if. I met with Dr. G who Fiona described as looking Irish, having an Italian name and was actually from South Africa. This whole trial thing is his idea. He is the professor behind the whole concept and is obviously quite bright. Anyway he was able to tell me I had the right type of MS for the right amount of time. So far so good.

Dr. M. was a completely different kettle of fish. He looked like Hugh Grant and sounded like that policeman with the terrible French accent off Allo Allo. He was responsible for assessing my fitness (can you wak for 'alf an 'our) and disability level (please wak across ze floor on your eels). He also had the terrible 'metal arithomatic' CD which required me to add up two numbers whilst listening to a third, which I then had to add to the last number in the sequence whilst listening to 'anzuzer nunzer'. Then he uttered the words that you really don't want to hear from a French Hugh Grant looky-likey of a Monday, you and your, er, wife...are you know what I'm saying...It's heads up as to whether this sounded better in an Inspector Clouseau voice or an Eric Idle nudge nudge manor but it was definitely a relief to change subject. The whole funfilled hour was topped off with a speed walk down the corridor, much healthier and much more fun...him with his stop watch, and me on my eels. I passed with flying colours which i think means I'm fit enough to be ill.

Finally was the nurse who took enough blood for several patients. We struck up conversation as she removed the blood...where do you live, what do you do...Chickenshed? My cousins go there. They're in the Youth Theatre.

So the final results are...well there aren't any yet, not until my blood gets flown half way round the world to be tested in LA (and no I can't go with my blood) but I do have a timetable of events at least.....

Provided my blood meets with American approval I will be randomised to begin 'infusion' on the 16th March