Decrepit? Not quite …

Life in the slow lane; particularly when it comes to stairs

IT’S UNNERVING when you finally get told. Unnerving? Well … slight understatement, I admit.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is not exactly something you go down to your local Co-op to pick-up for Sunday lunch. If you do … then I can only conclude that some of Storyboard4’s ‘followers’ are weirder than I already thought. Autoimmune disorder? Do you get ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’?

Do you know what ‘Demyelination. is? No? Nor did I! Isn’t life fun … MS is an inflammatory disease — ‘disseminated’ sometimes or ‘encephalomyelitis disseminata’ — oh dear, I think I want to crawl, to the best of my ability, into a small hole. It damages the nerve cells in your brain (that may have been my own fault) and spinal cord. Again, that may have been my own fault. Journalists today, as ever, are being imprisoned, tortured and KILLED for doing their job. Would I encourage a young journalist to become a foreign correspondent today? Make sure you get a job on a glossy travel magazine … oh, and don’t forget to make a Will!

The damage apparently involves a ‘disruption’ to parts of the nervous system to ‘communicate’ — “well I’ll go to the bottom of our stairs”! MS may well include physical, mental and psychiatric problems (although the difference, or relationship to, the latter two is never made clear). Quite whether anybody will notice … Medication can be ‘modestly effective’ but also have ‘adverse’ effects. Why not just hit me over the head “Midsomer Murders” style. There are also ‘alternative’ therapies; if anyone suggests ‘feel-good’ cookies I AM GOING TO SCREAM VERY LOUDLY!

“white matter”

The term multiple sclerosis refers to scars (sclerae—better known, apparently, as plaques or lesions) particularly in the ‘white matter’ of the brain and spinal cord. Did you know you had “white matter”? If you did you clearly didn’t sit in a science class at Brookvale High school. MS, so it is claimed, was first used as a description by a French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, in 1868. He has been ‘dubbed’ the “Napoleon of the neuroses”. That’s not something I would tend to boast about. In the latter 19th century conditions such as MS or epilepsy were considered to be ‘delusional’ or ‘hysterical’. I can assure you that if you collapsed in the middle of a busy road you’d become quite hysterical!

Hospital consultants have obviously passed a special course in ‘how-to-be-coy’. Well done! I have an Orwell prize — it never did me any good. My ‘turgid’ point is this: my consultants don’t know, or are not prepared to say, what type of MS I am developing. What is clear is that there is no known cure. Thanks ‘Dr Longwinded’; I feel so much better already ✪

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