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MS and slow communications

Updated on April 1, 2017


This is a previously published blog which deals with a previously practicing physician who is trying not to give up in the face of MS.

Quiet Thought
Quiet Thought

Life Throws (another) Curve

I have now been away from this blog for many weeks. I had intended to religiously add to it and outline my thoughts about backpacking in general, in the light of new-found MS in particular. With the onset of hot seasonal temps in Arizona my ability to concentrate and stick to any plan waned.
Was it a flare? No, I don't think so. I have been downed in the past, unable to rise from my bed to the point of uncontrolled, embarassing micturation, but not for five years or so. This time it was the temperature and limitations of the same. I have moved to Oregon for the Summer and it is very much cooler and my brain has had a good rest. So I will continue where I left off.

The picture I started with today is of a lounge chair at my brother's house in Portland. Very comfortable, a good place to nap.

I received a 'comment' from the Hub Pages Team, which has judged my last effort as 'substandard' and had requested a re-writing prior to another attempt at publishing... I am more than willing to finish my thoughts, since I seem to have moved out of whatever MS experience I was going through and since this has been the most successful blogging experience I have had. I guess I should be grateful my blog wasnt cancelled when my latest flare left me unable to write for so long.

Backpacking, continued

(C) 2011 Thomas Vetto, MD

Maybe one of of the unsuspected benefits of resizing the Walk is that less water need be carried. And, of course, you have people with you to help carry things. You could have a lot of fun and may avoid taking advantage of your friends by bringing good things and surprises with you, by separating yourself to some extent from the group and by that, avoiding being the center of the endeavor. If someone else is willing to turn their weekend walk outdoors into a short, potentially boring experience, please mitigate the unpleasantness as much as possible with humor and treats.


Personal toilet is an important topic and can be a sticking point of the entire MS/Outdoor discussion.You must stay clean. You must avoid constipation. Since you are packing light with minimal extra clothing, you want to avoid significant urine soilage of your pants.( A little is OK: it helps the dogs find you.) Remember, too, that carrying adult diapers may have to be an option. These may be parceled out, with minimal comment, to your group. with the water and other gear.

You need to stay regular. Colace-like stool softeners are useful, as are mild colon-cleansing programs which use senna or psylium husk as the basis of their action. Increased water is necessary to avoid inspissated stools and is good, anyway, as its' action may be thought of as anti-inflammatory and MS may be thought of as a condition of severe uncontrolled inflammation. All things considered, I think it might be best to always wear adult diapers as a cost of walking out of doors with MS.

Adequate hydration may prevent release of stress steroid and adrenaline, which can have you eventually walking like a leuetic puppet. Avoid any laxative containing a strong chemical cathartic like phenolthalein as you would the Great Pox - an instigator of night surprises now and very bad for your bowels in the long run. Also avoid Cascara sagrada, coming from the bark of the Chittum, or 'shittum' tree. Well named.

The point of it all is to focus on Nature and its' sights, sounds, tastes and smells, not on bowel habits and bladder control. And remember, the reason someone else runs the show in your walking group is really to put you to the side, where the pressure to perform is off. The camping experience is for everyone and evening campfire conversation shouldn't center on how well you've managed your symptoms or how dam brave you are after your day-long three mile hike. Let's cook marshmallows, shake hands with the unemployed and get a long, comfortable sleep.


Much of this change in scale we discuss is an unamerican change in tempo. We are not rushing to finish our four-mile day any more than it made sense ten years ago to rush through twenty four.The chance of being out for a week is small, if real. An overnight, perhaps. Anything else might be unreasonable for those who go with you.This can be taken to extremes, so beware. You must decide that, if you are fairly ambulatory and might otherwise manage a real walk, a burger done on the barbecue followed by a night on the chaise lounge next to the pool does not a backpack make. I only say this because I have done this many times when unable to do more and find it a very pleasant 'camping' experience. A little disquieting to the relatives, though, who wake to find me in my sleeping bag on a chaise lounge by the pool out back.

Publish this!!

Please publish this; the end is redone, which I think had been the problem.


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