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My MS Adventure - May 2018


May has turned out to be an eventful month and it appears I’m dealing with things a little better having been run over by a disability scooter - which didn’t faze me! I’ll cover that a little later in the blog and I’ll also try and show you the various aids I have been using to help you understand when I talk about the constant tripping. So let’s begin May.

My lunchtime outings with ex-colleagues and friends were good and I changed where we meet up to stop it getting boring. Afternoon tea was a high spot, not just because I was with a great friend who tells a great story, but the cakes and scones were to die for, so obviously I completely ignored the fact that I’m trying to diet (and I’m sure the lashings of cream I piled on the scones will come back to haunt me) but I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful!

Another high point was lunch with a close friend and old colleague; we sat outside and enjoyed the views - not lush green fields and blue skies with birds singing - no we were admiring all the lovely ladies in their summer outfits! I believe the term for them is Yummy Mummies! We were being typical males but we laughed and reminisced and had a great afternoon.

Disability scooter incident

So let’s get onto the incident with the disability scooter because it still makes me smile. It’s still a little painful, but now I laugh about it.

I was sitting enjoying my coffee in the café in the park (where I frequently go and even manage to do a little exercise occasionally), minding my own business when around the corner came a lady who I know, heading straight for me at full speed, on a large scooter. She ran straight into me, knocking me to the ground, snapping the chair leg, all the time saying “Sorry Roger sorry, I pressed the wrong button” - and just in case that wasn’t bad enough, she only pressed the wrong button again in her state of panic and clobbered me again!

I laugh now - I mean being hit by an old lady on a disability scooter could only happen to me! I brushed myself down and we had coffee together - she kept enquiring as to my wellbeing, bless her. Bloody dangerous though!!

Visitors from Eastbourne

I also had a visit from a great friend who lives in Eastbourne - a place I love and often visit. He came with his entourage of girlfriend and her daughter plus two Tibetan Terriers. They stopped at a hotel nearby. The main reason for coming up was to watch the FA cup and yes, That Wedding.

On the first day we headed straight down for breakfast in the park - I tried to be good and only had a sausage sandwich - then back to mine where I switched on the wedding. To be truthful, I have no real interest in the Royals but the girls did, and while they were watching, the door opened and in walked another friend of mine from North Carolina. He looked at the TV and said he’d just watched the couple take the carriage through Windsor – it turned out I’d forgotten that I’d watched a programme on ITV+1 the previous evening so the girls were watching the Royal Wedding an hour behind!

For the FA cup we went round to a friend of mine who we’d met earlier in the park. She wanted to do a BBQ and invited us to her house so the lads could still watch the game. We all had a great afternoon with too much food and lots of laughter. On Sunday we had breakfast then set off to a local craft centre which has a beautiful outdoor area where they serve great cakes and allowed my mate to meet up with my ex-wife as they were at school together.

In case you’re wondering, my ex-wife is a great friend and very good to me! We all had a laugh and yes the diet took a back seat once again as banoffee pie and me have a special relationship!! Later that evening while we were still in my back garden, having a laugh and as always acting the fools, my phone rang (not a number I recognised) but answered and it turned out to be my ex-wife needing a favour; her and her fella had parked their car and gone on a marathon walk - as we used to do and she got them lost - again something that sounded so familiar, so could I pick them both up as they were miles from the car! So off I went and there they were with aching limbs - her new chap was very calm and I smiled as I drove away because I was happy that they looked good together but also I remembered once many years ago when we’d got lost locally after going for a quick walk!

On Sunday night my friends left and it truly had been a great weekend with lots of chat, laughter and too much food. It may sound strange but I’m very fond of this friend who has been kind, generous and supportive - and I look on him as a brother. I’d coped well with a busy weekend and it was early to bed for me.

F E S - Functional Electronic Stimulation

Now, revisiting the early stages of my illness and drop foot – a by-product of MS, made it difficult for me to walk and not being able to lift my foot meant that curbs, steps or any general roughness in the ground I was walking on was a problem - dragging my leg was not an option. The QE hospital sent me to a specialist in the orthotics department and they made me a splint that slid into my shoe which raised my foot slightly, allowing me to walk in a fashion but a lot better than I was. The leg part was attached using Velcro which was not the prettiest of things!!!

I used this splint for a while which was better than nothing but quite cumbersome and meant I had to wear shoes with laces which were very different from the style of footwear I’d always worn in the past. In fact I’d always prided myself on my wardrobe choices – I now live mainly in looser jeans and tops that are easy to pull on without lots of fiddling around. It’s actually quite a big deal that this MS even dictates what you can wear which has been hard for me as I loved clothes and looking after my appearance.

Anyway I was informed of a department that dealt in F E S - Functional Electronic Stimulation that there was a large waiting time and I’d have to wait for them to get in touch so bearing this in mind I continued to use my brace and stretched some expensive shoes in the process. I got a call asking if I could attend a trainee course at the FES centre as they had had a cancellation and I jumped at the chance.

I sat in the reception waiting to be called (as I was my usual one hour early), watching patients coming in - some limbless and in wheel chairs or walking with crutches. One in particular was a stunning lady in a chair with no limbs and I thought, “There by the grace of God go I”- and perhaps it’s one of the reasons I try to remain upbeat because there’s always somebody worse off.

I was called into a room and seated next to a guy and his family. This guy was shaking quite badly but I didn’t pay much attention as there were four people in front of me and they explained what was about to happen - adhesive pads were placed on my legs with wires to my shoe where there was a small receiver and then to a control box on my belt or in my pocket. This seemed easy enough until I looked across to the guy with the shaking body who was also having pads attached in different places; this was fascinating.

Two pads were placed at points on my legs where I was told they cover nerves, and the wires

attached to both the pads and control box. I was told I would feel a tingle that would grow in strength and true enough I felt this tingle that grew in strength and I have to say it was uncomfortable but then suddenly my foot pointed up for the first time in over a year! It was incredible. I was told to keep practising while they went to deal with someone else.

As I looked across they were doing the same with the guy who was shaking - he held out his hands, they turned the control box up and amazingly his shaking stopped – I believe he had Parkinson’s Disease. He and his family broke down in tears because this was wonderful for him and how much his life would improve. It made me realise how much my life might also improve - like the little things we take for granted that make such as difference when we lose them but now I had part of mine back. The staff told me that an appointment would be made where I would be fitted with a complete set of pads and offered the support to enable me to start walking using the FES equipment. Happy days.

I didn’t have to wait long to have my pads fitted. Pen marks were put on my legs to help me with where to stick the pads on and every day I would test to make sure my foot kicked up. Then one day I had the bright idea to shave my leg to help the adhesion. Big mistake! My leg developed a rash as the strength of the current irritated the skin, so now my pads are in different positions and thankfully I am still able to walk. I have a step counter on the control box and every month my step count improves. I may not be able to run a marathon or dance the quickstep but hey, I’m moving.

To be honest I’m not sure the staff fully appreciate the gift they give people in helping them to improve their lives but for me, I have the freedom to make it to a car and socialise. I have the confidence to try and lead a decent life and no words can explain exactly how it feels but I just thank the FES team for all they do.

My son

My son had a birthday this month and I struggle with the fact that he’s now 33 since I have a photograph on my wall of him in his Thomas the Tank pyjamas and I can remember the conversations we used to have! But now he pulls up in his van - all six foot plus of him comes walking in, we hug, have a bottle of water and then he has to rush off - one busy guy, a good looking one, obviously with his looks from his mother! But you know he’s a chip off the old block and although I miss him I know he is always there and has a great life ahead of him. I offer little advice as I know he will be OK but God I feel old!

There is so much I could say about my son and the times we had when he was a small lad and seeing him grow into the guy he is now. The love you have for a child is difficult to put in words but my lovely, happy memories are something that will never fade and I know how lucky I am but there are times I wish I could do more for him but hey, that’s life.

Helping hands

I’ve always enjoyed helping people but today it seems all I can really offer is my time because the days of furniture moving or lawn mowing are out. So one day in May I gave a lift to two local people as a favour to one of my bingo buddies (and also to curry favour with their delightful daughter who works in the local supermarket and someone I flirt with terribly), so a lift to the airport was a pleasure.

The outbound journey was simple enough but the return was not. The French air traffic control went on strike delaying their flight and I arrive an hour early (as always) and now the flight is going to be two hours late, so three hours pass and I need a pee so eventually I picked up my two passengers and off we went. All was well for a few yards then we hit a traffic jam. This was painful and I was desperate to pee, but it was great hearing about the holiday and we got onto the motorway. The relief I am sure was noted and we travelled a few miles which made me quietly confident that I would make the comforts of my own bathroom. But no, that was not to be as we headed into another snarl up, traffic everywhere … that was it, I pulled over onto the hard shoulder and apologised but I had to pee, so I scuttled out of the car, got to the crash barrier and it was too high for me to lift my leg. I was almost bursting and had to call over to the car for help which was hysterical because I couldn’t remember the guys’ name! He promptly rushed over wearing his holiday hat and flung my leg over the barrier - I made it to a tree and just hoped I wasn’t visible to oncoming traffic but I peed like a horse I was that desperate. I must have been there a while and it was heaven so then I gave no thought to passers-by nor did I care if my passengers had an unpleasant view I’m sorry to say! I got back in the car, made my apologies again and off we went!

Internet dating

Now – moving on to Internet dating. I’ve dabbled with it and got loads of views but little in the way of winks, which I’m told is a sign of interest and to be honest I’m not really in a position where I have the time or strength to pursue potential dates in Dundee, Cornwall or Newcastle, and forget travelling to France only to meet up with Shrek’s sister,! So no, I live in the hope that my charm and George Clooney looks will eventually win me some unfortunate female whilst I‘m shopping or in the local park but I’m confident I’ll have a story to tell soon!

CBD Oil

Now, that’s May all done, but before I sign off I just want to introduce the website for the CBD Oil that I've spoken about. This incredible oil that I’m now taking, and can highly recommend, is suitable not only for recognised illnesses such as MS but also for many common ailments including sleep problems, smoking, nerve issues and many more.

CBD Oil is available online and here is a link to the site.

Or copy and paste https://kannaway.com/eu/?6950799

Once on the site you will have many options to order or place a repeat order to save money. Take a look to see if you think it could benefit yourself, your friends or family – it is also available in vape form for those that prefer to take the oil in a different way but it has been fantastic for me personally and I feel great since starting it.

If you want to read up on the benefits this oil can bring have a look at the ECHO website where all questions will be answered. (Web address https://echoconnection.org/)

If you have any questions please call me on 07970 495191 or email rogersouthall@yahoo.ie

Good luck and I'll be back in a few weeks.

07970 495191

ROGER SOUTHALL. PROUDLY CREATED WITH WIX.COM