Life before diagnosis of multiple sclerosis
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995 but my journey started much earlier. In 1972, only 18, I was in the pub having some beers with a couple of friends. Suddenly I had the urge to go to the loo but when I went nothing happened. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. This was the beginning of my life before diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Advance to 1979
I was working in Christies South Kensington, the auctioneers. I used to be an auctioneer’s clerk for the silver department. During the auction I sat up on the podium next to the auctioneer. It was my job to write up the bills as the auction progressed It was the day of the silver sale; there I was on the podium in my suit trying to look very important.
The auctioneer reached lot 99
He started the bidding on a silver 3 piece teaset.
“Do I have a bid of £200?” he asked the room.
Bidding progressed steadily, “Its your bid at £380”. Suddenly I needed to go to the loo.
“I have a £400 bid at the back of the room”. Then the need became urgent.
“Selling for £450”. Now I couldn’t stop myself.
“Sold for £450” and the auctioneer banged down the gavel and then…. it was all too late.
My trousers were soaked
I couldn’t nudge the auctioneer and tell him to stop the sale. What could I do? I can’t remember what happened next except that I was very embarrassed. Okay I had wet my trousers, no that was not okay. Should I go to the loo or should I sit tight? It was all far too embarrassing, I had soaked myself but why me, why then and what had I done.
It happened again
A month later I was at a wedding. I had had a couple of sherries for lunch and was sitting at the back of the church. Suddenly I needed to go to the loo. I couldn’t hold on, my bladder just emptied itself.
It hurts me just to think about either of these episodes.
Just one off events
At the time The Wife to be and I were living in London and not registered with a doctor. Why tell anyone about these episodes when they just appeared and then disappeared. Were these events significant? Were they linked? In fact I put them in the back of my mind and did not think about them again for many years.
A few years later
I started to get the occasional sensation of urgency. I had to get to the loo in a hurry and have a pee. This always seemed to coincide with having a cup of coffee but it was only a sporadic event. Sometimes a tiny leak before I reached the loo but nothing serious. I just thought it happened to everyone and was a part of getting older.
Advance to 1995
I suffered a brief outbreak of double vision driving to Southampton. The doctor referred me to a consultant. After an MRI scan I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The consultant, who will remain nameless, told me I had relapsing remitting MS and told me to come back in six months’ time. but it was all a blur. He was not at all helpful and I still had my wonky bladder.