Friday, 26 June 2009

Licensed to ill.

It was back to Clinical research for a quarterly check up…bloods, walking, feet tickling, all the usual stuff. It fact it begins to feel like some sort of international torture conspiracy. The French “Allo, Allo” impersonating doctor was not to be found. Instead was a lady doctor from Spain, which is nice that we’re keeping it in the EU. Lady Doctor from Spain didn't fill me with confidence. This excuse must please me she said but this time first that I test do in English. Many times Spanish we do all the time often, but in English never. I have just been reminded by the trial manager that I mustn’t tell this doctor which drug I am taking as it is a “blinded” test. It’s important that her interpretation of results is not influenced. When she says tell me if I push your fingers down or up whilst she manipulates my toes I’m reasonably confident that I could shout Rebif Interferon beta 1a, three times weekly injection at the top of my voice and she’d be none the wiser.

Next it’s on to a new Neurologist, who seems to have got his jobs mixed up. He definitely gives the impression that he’s a suave, sophisticated secret agent working for MI5. NeuroBond, (licensed to interpret an MRI) sweeps into room 0.07. Hi, Its Dave isn’t it? Dave Carey. Any problems? Any side effects? Flu? Sadness? Paranoia? (Or was that just in my head) Alas I’m free of side effects which makes me a little paranoid. I’m not shaken or stirred as he goes through the usual rigmarole of general check ups and questions. A new nurse enters. She’s 6’ tall, blond and gorgeous. Ahh Miss Moneypenny. Take his blood.

Everyone’s Favourite Nurse has followed through her threat and moved to Southampton so now I’m under the watchful eye of Miss Moneypenny. Alas Moneypenny can’t do blood tests, she is more of a secretarial nurse (she gives me the urine sample jar) so she calls in another nurse. Nurse Blofeld doesn’t take prisoners. She doesn’t take blood particularly well either. Two arms later and I’m feeling like a pin cushion. After two hours I’m released into the outside world and head for the tube. It’s probably me but I’m sure I was followed home.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Rock n Roll Saved my life

So Shimon, my great friend, colleague and drummer is the only person I know that’s iller than me. He dominates the illness competition. If we were top trump cards he’d win hands down. He tops my MS with CF. He beats my cholesterol with diabetes. Between us we’re injecting 10 times a week which probably makes our studio the most drug abusive recording facility since the Grateful Dead made an album in 1969.

Well Shimon being Shimon with CF has decided to raise some money for MS which means he’s either a top mate or dyslexic. I suspect it’s the latter and at some point he’s gonna be really pissed off that I’m cured and he’s not.

Even better is that in order to raise money for me he’s going to become a world record holder. In Birmingham on July 13th in aid of the MS society, 600 drummers will beat their drums simultaneously and create a record for the most drummers ever to play together . Birmingham Royal hospital will then treat 600 deaf drummers simultaneously and create another record. If you’d like to make my mate deaf please donate generously. Dollars, Pounds, Euros…all welcome.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


As my friend B. would say…that’ll learn ya…(she’s got northern roots)…and it did. All last weeks talk of feeling better than I had in years lasted until Tuesday. The ends of my fingers went numb about four o’clock in the afternoon. I had the kids with me, we were going swimming. Quite abruptly the numbness rolled out up my arms and down the legs, ending in the pliers relay on my toes. Swimming was off the menu.

Hey kids, what about we go to the park? I'll sit in the café with a cup of tea, you run around and be children...
Awwwhhh daaad, was the despondent answer.
What about I throw in a treat from the shop, an ice-cream and staying up past bedtime?
How big a treat?
Big as you want.
Hooray! We love Dad!
…who said parenting is difficult? It’s expensive, but it’s not difficult.

By the time we got to the park even lifting the tea cup seemed like an effort (full cream milk…should’ve asked for skimmed) and random pains were shooting through my arms. But then the real hell began…a screaming baby with an un-attentive mother. Really, if you’re going to have a baby that screams could you either show a bit of effort in stopping the noise…or go home. Don’t inflict ear piercing baby on everybody else in the café…My cup of tea was shaking, I was shaking, the whole afternoon was going down the pan.

Things settled down a bit during the evening and I put in a good 12 hour shift in the sleep department. By the morning I was cautiously optimistic. That’s the problem with this relapsing-remitting bit. It lulls you into a false sense of security. I could have sworn I had got over MS last weekend. Completely cured.

But by Friday I was feeling fine and dandy again in time for my Birthday. Cured – ill – cured all in the space of a week. We all went to a nice pub with good food and playground for the kids (why aren’t there more of those?) B. got the drinks in and I sat back confident that all was well with the world. Then the spasms started again. Full on jerky-twitchy-what's-wrong-that-bloke-spilling-his-beer-over-there spasms. That’ll learn me.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Rude boys

Talk about rude health. I'm probably feeling better than I have for years. I'm firmly into remission with little sign of MS. The hamsters have settled down nicely. I'm 7 months without any baccy, wacky or not. I haven't got diabetes. A raised cholesterol level in a recent blood test has sent me running to the soya milk and benecol department. I've given up cheese (which is more difficult than anything I've done thus far for my health). I'm a slave to five a day and oily fish. The receptionist at the gym even recognises me.

In fact, so good am I looking that friends have started to're looking well...This of course is only said by female friends. Male friends are very different. In fact when a diagnosis of illness comes about the difference between men and women becomes stark. Female friends want to know all about it...what were the symptoms?, what did the doctor say?, how do you feel?, how are the injections?...

The conversation with male friends is markedly different:

I've got MS.

Oh. Did you see the football last night?

Occasionally it reaches such emotional levels as
Oh dear. That's bad news. Did you see the football last night?

Male friends that have no interest in football (I know a couple, weird I know) will steer the conversation on to how much they hate football. It's not that they don't care, but men don't like to talk illness. Men don't like to talk health. We just like to talk rude.