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AUGUST MS STORY

So we’re in August and where has the year gone? I sound like my mother, but seriously - August, I’ll soon be writing Christmas cards!! Mind you, even I can’t read my own writing these days so I may have to rely on email cards this year and reserve the written ones for loved ones and family since they won’t mind! Right, let’s begin …

As I’ve mentioned several times in this bog, I have fond memories of my time in the States and I’ll often step back and share with you the thoughts that crop up in my mind when I hear a particular song or piece of music which takes me back to my time in America. Back then I would visit the local bar called Linksters on the Tamiami Trail in Sarasota and head straight for the juke box where I’d put on the usual hits; Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen – why did I choose this? No reason really especially as my partner at that time had, to be blunt, a lovely posterior! Then there was Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash – chosen probably because we all thought we knew the words, when in fact I think we only sang the chorus! But my favourite choice, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses, because it has everything and I would be playing air guitar to it or more often, air drumming along to it. Whenever I hear this song the memories come flooding back of great friends, playing pool and generally having a laugh. I vividly recall getting off my motorbike, walking into the bar (or probably swaggering in!) – just the things that at the time I took for granted and now what a massive difference when I hear Sweet Child of Mine as I sit and take the pads off my legs and drag myself round my bungalow - crazy, sad and a brief realisation of how fragile life is.

Today I went to lunch again with my regular lunch date; this lady has two wonderful daughters and the stories about them both always interest me. It’s always great when she updates me about her latest travels – she’s like a female version of Alan Whicker (for those who are either too young or non-UK readers, Alan Whicker was a famous travel reporter who had a weekly series and was actually pretty good ). Anyway we had a great afternoon and ended up sitting for hours, chatting and eating the food which was outstanding and no doubt we’ll return soon, having already booked a further couple of lunchtime dates with our good old discount vouchers !!

Today I visited my MS nurse who I admit I enjoy visiting because she is sweet and easy to talk to, which is great given that I’m so shy and retiring! I had a lot of positive things to say and before I left I spent time ensuring that my leg pads and electrodes were positioned as well as possible – I was walking quite well and probably had a military style gait as I tried and focussed on lifting the right leg which was impressive but knackering! I doubt I could’ve kept this up as I walked with the nurse down the corridor to her office, possibly showing off just a bit! I did ok and she actually commented how well I looked which is always a confidence boost (even if she says that to all the boys!)

Firstly she checked the results of my blood test and explained that my blood count was close to normal. That was great and in my mind this is the main reason I feel so well. I then explained my reluctance to take any more MS related medicines and that I accept the risk by making this choice, based on the fact that I’ve read and re-read, all the side effects of these drugs and I just don’t want to go backwards again. I understand what I have and I know it’s worsening because my right hand is weaker, which is one sign, but I feel so much better without medication and I want to see how long it’ll last. I also told her that I believe the CBD oil has helped me no end. She looked at me and said it was my choice but wanted me to visit again in November. I know she’s not happy, but hey let’s see.

I then touched on a sensitive subject -by sensitive I refer to a subject that many guys might have an issue talking about to a female! That is about a certain part of the male anatomy and its performance regarding MS. I addressed my concerns directly and she straightaway fetched a leaflet from her shelf entitled SEX AND MS in big, bold writing. She was obviously concerned about me parading through the hospital carrying this leaflet (I on the other hand had no such worries!) but she put my next appointment card over the offending words to protect my modesty! Clearly it didn’t work as I left the office and walked straight into a group of nurses who were chatting away so I felt obliged to tell them exactly what I was carrying and that an attempted cover up had taken place – much to their amusement! I’ll read this leaflet as I live in hope that soon I might get the opportunity to give it a trial run and see exactly what the outcome is! I also visited my GP to ask about (let’s be blunt here) - erectile function with MS - and he said it may be a problem but was happy to prescribe a drug to help - specifically a little tablet - amazing, one little tablet will make it all well! So that’s it for now but I will keep you all posted!!

My visit with the MS nurse was pretty good I felt and she reiterated how well I’m now both understanding more and learning to live with MS and she encouraged me to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing, I consider this a result of sorts even though I then walked out, stopped concentrating and felt my foot adhere to the floor, resulting in a near miss prevented only by stumbling into a nearby table but hey, I was still hanging on to that leaflet!

Now strangely enough, after seeking information on MS and sex, I was invited to the home of a female I’d been chatting to over the past few days, sometimes for a very long time! We’d covered a wide range of topics, both current and a little saucy and I was actually quite excited as she looked very attractive in her pictures and although a few years older than me, she looked fit. I travelled a fair few miles to her home and in a bid to impress I left my walking stick in the car, proceeded to her front door carrying a bunch of lilies and yes, took one of those tablets (cos you never know! I’m an old charmer). I knocked the door and waited for quite a while except when it opened this lady almost fell onto me – having unfortunately knocked back too much alcohol which was not a good start. She was indeed very attractive and invited me in … I gingerly stepped forward over the step being extra careful without my support, picking my way through rather a lot of clutter! Even though she was fully aware of my condition, for some unknown reason I wanted to impress. Well the visit went from bad to worse. I was instantly offered all kinds of adult favours and invited to stay the night! I pointed out that in all my years I’ve never taken advantage of anyone under the influence then I made my excuses and left. Yes there may be a few out there wondering what I was playing at and I’m sure there will also be a few saying Well Done for not taking advantage but for me I was disappointed and frustrated. I felt emotionally and physically drained having taken the time to drive all that way and it was just something I could’ve done without. On the drive home and late into the night this female kept leaving messages declaring her love for me and describing the fun we could have if I went back so in the end I had to block her. Then there was the small problem of the tablet I’d taken - the one that would help - hey ever the optimist! The following morning as I wandered round the supermarket, I felt a rumbling, a stirring - boy these tablets work! I had to try and hide my embarrassment with the trolley and hope it would subside by the time I got to the checkout. It happened again driving the car home. What a waste of a tablet!

My second visit to a different female gave me a little more faith in the dating site I’d chosen and it definitely felt a whole lot more successful. I went for dinner with an absolute stunner. During the meal she expressed her concern for my condition and explained how she didn’t think she would be able to cope with my MS and how it might get worse. I appreciate how scary this illness is and accepted that with everything else she has going on in her life it would be a difficult decision to contemplate. I admired her honesty and we agreed to be good friends as we both enjoyed each other’s company. In fact we’re due to go out again very soon. Boy she really is a looker and the picture she sent me of her and her two daughters was lovely; three beauties. So, no concrete commitments but an amusing time that I’ll have fun telling folk - one disaster followed by one really nice date and who knows, females out there may wake up and smell the Issey Miyake and realise what a catch I am !!!!

I’m really pleased that my French doors are finally going in which will give me easy access to the garden but I’m not coping with the dust and disturbance! I have to get up around 5.30am as I never know how much time it’ll take for my body to get going. Luckily I’ve been ok but on the downside it means I’m sitting around for a few hours until the builders arrive at 9.00. It’s all very noisy and messy and whether it’s the stress or complete disturbance of my routine, I feel completely out of sorts which is yet another thing to blame on my condition because previously I would have coped - yes I would have been constantly dusting and washing my hands but now I sit and watch the dust settle. I want to get the vacuum and duster out but seriously I just don’t have the strength which is really frustrating as I hate mess - but it won’t be long now until the doors let in more light and offer a way out into the garden where (and I might be getting carried away here), I’ll be able to sit with a croissant and coffee … no idea where that little picture came from since I have a banana and a cup of tea for breakfast! That’s because I am trying to get a bit trimmer so Coco Pops are out, but anyway, breakfast outdoors will be great. The view from my bed is lovely, the fact that I hate staying in bed is another story!!

This morning I’m feeling low, slow, emotional and really down and I have no idea why. Probably because I was on a high over the weekend but today I just have no energy. I started putting my leg pads on and messing around getting them positioned correctly reminds me of how I used to jump out of bed in the past and just get on with my day without a care in the world and the things that I took for granted now appear to have gone. I had a great Sunday where I laughed in the company of a charming, stunning female, and yes I know my limitations, but we had a great time. I suppose it’s mornings like this that she really wants to avoid but for a second date it was so relaxing and felt right but I understand that dealing with someone struggling to get pads onto their leg so they can walk is not what anyone wants (including me) so although I know in a short while I’ll be bouncing, it is quite upsetting and hard to accommodate. I sit here typing and as yet I haven’t started to walk to see if the electrodes are on properly. I just feel so emotionally disturbed, tears in my eyes, builders outside starting their day and me struggling. I avoid saying life isn’t fair and why me because that’s negative and I will always fight. I know there are people worse off than me so that’s it, mask on, smile, make a few funny remarks and away we go It’s hard at times but there are worse things and as I always say, I am still this side of the grass.

Thinking back to the weekend, I spent time with a lady who just wants a friendship and I can accept that; it’s easy to write about the high points of the day and if you analyse it, it was a perfect time with a perfect person but I suppose having mornings like this helps me understand why she is wary of my ability to lead a ‘normal’ life - I know I can, albeit a little slower and perhaps a little different at times and it is difficult to accept, for me as well. Anyway, whichever way you look at it we had a giggle and we’ll do it again because we’re both aware of the situation and I am respectful, even if it was hard to keep my hands to myself!!

Putting a Twitter account together is something I really know very little about but fortunately on one of the evenings where an old female friend visits me, drinks my wine and basically has a laugh with me, she brought her daughter along who, unlike us old ones, is clued up on Twitter and offered to help me set one up for future postings of this blog. She also suggested we might makea few healthy smoothies, so I assumed she was also well versed in the making of these drinks - well how wrong was I?! I went out and purchased a mixture of berries and vegetables (asparagus and broccoli to be precise, much to the amusement of my ex-wife who was bemused by a fruit smoothie with these greens thrown in). She then suggested I bought a packet of flaxseed and gogi berries from the health shop which I duly did. I laid all these things out along with the mixer and drinking vessels ready to set the world on fire with these smoothies. What a laugh! My friend’s daughter had absolutely no idea whatsoever and I ended up Facetiming my sister before the kitchen became flooded. We eventually concocted a drink of sorts, minus the greens, although the seeds were sticking to our teeth and getting lodged at the back of my throat but next week we will try again!!

We moved on to creating a Twitter account and here she was a whizz. It was set up in no time and linked to Facebook - we even had followers! Now all this said, she had some great ideas and suggested a QA session along with a radio podcast which I feel comfortable doing as apparently I have the perfect face for radio!! We’ll see; like our attempts at healthy drinks I hope all will be well with the work we do on Twitter. I am actually impressed with her knowledge of where this blog should be and in her mind, should be, so let’s see. Lots of people say I should write a book but as I’ve said before I need my ex-wife to spend hours with me as it is her who spends hours editing and proofreading my rambling to put in an acceptable format - she was always correcting my grammar when we were married but hey I’m from Birmingham and we knows that we talk proper!!

August is at an end and I’ve spent time with mates watching football, having a laugh and bingo has taken place every Friday with mother alongside. My sister hasn’t been feeling too well so she’s been quiet and I’m quite worried about her. As for me, I‘ve had slow starts to my days but in general I’ve been feeling great and looking forward to next month as I have a few things planned.

I post these blogs monthly and at the end there’s space for you to leave a comment - seriously I would welcome your thoughts, good or bad. If you are an MS sufferer or know someone who suffers with this illness, is this helpful?

That’s it for August… Until September

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ROGER SOUTHALL. PROUDLY CREATED WITH WIX.COM