Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Part Two

In the interests of a fair temperature comparison I left Spain and went to Scotland. No chance of sun melted asphalt paths there. No burning feet in Scotland. Damp feet, foot rot and hypothermia possibly but not burning feet.

I bought all my needles with their passports and still no-one checked them. It was gratifying when a novice monk in front of me at airport security was pulled over and asked to explain the 7” Bowie knife in his hand luggage. I suspect someone of any racial origin other than white wouldn’t have been offered the opportunity to explain it but there we go. The monk with the knife claimed a hunting hobby and his knife was duly confiscated and he was allowed on to the plane. Is there a conflict of interest there? Praising God whilst hunting his creations with an effing huge hunting knife...

I was in Edinburgh for the festival where a show I had worked on was playing at the Zoo Southside. At the theatre (converted community centre (itself converted from an old school)) I met the wife of our venue marketing manager who has...MS. Blimey, we got on well. Swapping stories of numbness, pins and needles, drugs, infusions, memory loss and the like. We sat like a couple of gossiping old ladies..did your neuro offer you Copraxone? No, but does your nurse answer her mailbox? Doesn’t it annoy you when you’ve got fatigue and someone says..I’m tired as well Yes and do you ever stop mid sentance and forget what you meant to say next? And thus we went on, like we’d known each other years.

She (the marketing mans wife) is a strong lady who’s up for the fight and that is inspiring. So, in what is a simple post about simple pleasures I would like to state for the record a second positive effect of owning Multiple Sclerosis. Along with asbestos feet in Spanish water parks I will add...meeting nice people that you wouldn’t otherwise have spoken to.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Reasons to be cheerful (part 1)

After 18 months I have finally found the positive. And I shall accentuate the positive. In fact I shall compile a list of positive outcomes of owning MS. It may be a short list, but it will be my list...unless of course anyone else will add to it...which I would welcome. Florida Dave Carey is devising the MSers guide to Orlando and I think the top ten MS symptoms to rejoice about might prove a useful addendum...so it goes like this...

Our annual family vacation to Spain occurred last week. We always head for my late fathers house in Nerja. A beautiful area of the Costa Del Sol where the children swim with abandon and adults relax with a San Miguel and a fish kebab...Now the highlight of this week is the trip to the water park in Almunecar. A sprawling complex of thrilling water slides and thunderous tunnels using sea water and more San Miguel. The down side to this trip has always been the red asphalt path that leads from slide to slide. Cos it gets hot, I mean effing hot. The sun heats it through the day until it's the equivalent of walking on hot coals. British tourists are always spotted by their ridiculous owch–hop–skip–hop–find the shady bit of path–dance. The Spaniards of course stride slowly and lazily across the burning red path with a nonchalance that we Brits could never conjure...until now. And conjure it I did. I knew my soul had lost all feeling (what a tragic statement, I’ll start again) I knew my soles had lost all feeling some time ago when the French Neuro-tester devised the stabbing test. Am I stabbing you with the sharp end or the blint end? he would say. All was fine until he came to my feet when it became apparent that I wouldn’t notice a Scimitar slicing through my old plates of meat let alone a broken cocktail stick (it’s a high tech trial, I can tell you)...but lo! What joy my numb feet bought me in the water park in Almunecar. I strolled, I dallied, I nonchalantly hung out on the boiling red path. I smirked as even a Spaniard winced at the Mediterranean heated asphalt course. ..so next time your wondering what to do with your numb feet....get on a plane to Malaga, drive up the coast to Almunecar, visit the water park and look smugly around at those people doing the hop-owch-skip-owch-find the shady bit of path-dance.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

In Pilot's hands

So, interesting things abound and while my MS sleeps, my guitar gently weeps. That's a lie. I don't play guitar but you can never tire of quoting fab four lyrics. (my brother will explain that lyric is a plural and thus the last sentence made no sense but sod it, I'm feeling reckless). What brings the recklessness on? Well the thing is that many things occur in the MS world....

First, I am issued with a passport, yes a passport, for my Chinese hamster medicine. (no photo required). I have to travel by plane a lot this Summer/Autumn - this is in itself a shame as I hate flying. No, it really scares the bejesus out of me - but Edinburgh, Spain, Edinburgh, Moscow is the quite frankly unlikely list of jet setting destinations that I will be leaving my life in the hands of pilot's for. Now without my passport people might assume I intended to attack flight attendants, inject them with rebif and delay their onset of secondary progressive MS. This could become a new strand of terrorism, maybe a medical terrorism. Doctors could board flights and give passengers Tami-flu (Not Tami-Wynette, I'd worn them of this mistake) or a heavy dose of 'night-nurse'(TM). I realise this could be subject to abuse...

Now along side this, is a warning, about flu. The hamsters are it seems, an immune suppressant. Now when your immune system is suppressed you are more likely to get flu...swine, man, common, bird....it matters not which one...but, here's the cunning plan (bear with me). The side effect of the hamster injections is flu like symptoms...which we combat with paracetamol and ibuprofen...so now, all you users of immune suppressants...are your flu like symptoms a side effect of your immune suppressant or merely your immune suppressant working effectively? I leave it in your hands, which, I should remind you, the latest government guidelines suggest should be washed.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

No country for middle aged men

Discovering I had MS relatively late in my life is one thing. I was 43. It was late onset of MS. Far worse, far more sinister and altogether disturbing has been a recent development. Late onset of Dolly Parton. I know when it began. Beth had to use '9 to 5' as part of her reception assembly. I downloaded it so she could practise it in the car. Wake up in the morning...I have always hated country. But then i-tunes offered to download the rest of Dolly's hits for £3.49. Bargain. Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeeene, ...please don't take him, islands in the stream, that is what we are.

What was going on? I was listening to Dolly...no, I was singing along to Dolly in the car. And iyiyiyiyiyi will always lurve yohooooo.... Fortunately it hadn't developed into full blown country. I could still take refuge in Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear The Reaper (digital remix). For every 'coat of many colours' there was still a 'Kashmir', for every 'Backwards Barbie' there was still a 'Wish you were here'. I could be strong. I could be anti-country.

And then it went really wrong. Badly wrong. Someone gave me a Jonny Cash album. And before I knew it I had developed full blown country. I tried to buy some Tami-flu but in my confusion I came back with Tami-Wynette. It was frightening. I was short of breath. I started referring to my wife as Lucille. I sent my kids out to work the range. I was offered a trial of Punk but I got randomised to opera. Perhaps middle aged men need country. But I do draw the line at Billy Ray-Cyrus and his daughter.

What d'ya mean he recorded 'Achy Breaky Heart'? Count me in.