(continued from this post ages ago)
So we left the hospital reeling. God knows how Emma kept it together enough to drive us home. There were a lot of "how dare he"s, and "who does he think he is"s. When we got home I completely lost it.
You see at this point, our only experience of MS was the mother of an ex-work-colleague who died. Plus people like the great Ronnie Lane and Richard Pryor who also carked it too early. I also remember awful adverts that the MS Society used to run in my Mum & Dad's newspaper -
images of people where the spine had been torn away or where a young man wets himself in a public toilet. Obviously I know now what they were getting at, but I can't think they were ever
very helpful for anyone who had been recently diagnosed. (their recent ad campaigns have been LOADS better)
At the time my dad hadn't yet retired and was paying into a private health scheme. So rather than waiting for an NHS appointment to come through, we went Private. I'm not proud, we were desperate for an answer.
Shortly afterwards we went for an appointment with a very jolly neurologist and I had my first stab at the time-honoured walk-in-a-line, touch-your-nose, push-against-my-leg, can-you-feel-this? aerobics routine which has become so familiar to me now.
He was very calming and recommended I have an MRI scan to find out once and for all what the deal was. If you haven't had one, I don't recommend it for laughs. But it beats a lumbar puncture.
A couple of weeks later he called me up - he told me there was nothing to worry about, that it wasn't a life or death situation but I should come in for a chat.
In a way, it was a relief to find out what the problem was after all this time when he said the words Multiple Sclerosis. Emma burst into tears and then we had to go outside to break the news to my parents - that was the hardest part of that evening. Like us, they were bewildered, ignorant and scared, but I guess everyone feels that way at the point of diagnosis.
The fantastic MS nurses at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham were and continue to be a fantastic source of support and real information - if you've just been diagnosed, stay off Google and talk to a professional face-to-face.
But it should also be said that the physio we had seen way back at the start of this lengthy post was bang on the money. And for putting the idea into our heads right at the start of this process he really did us a favour.