Coronavirus advice update for MSers gives cause for reflection

Please note: The current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


Just seen the updated global advice about the coronavirus and MS. It was issued by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and sets out to explain what coronavirus COVID-19 means for people living with MS.

I am not going to repeat what the MSIF is saying because you can read for yourself here. But I do want to pick up on one particular point.

That is those living with MS who are considered to be most at risk. The advice says certain groups of people with MS may be at an increased risk of becoming severely ill or dying with COVID-19. Hmm, how reassuring!! It goes on to say that anyone in the following groups should take extra care to minimise their exposure to the virus:

  • People with progressive MS (that’s me, I have PPMS).
  • People with MS over the age of 60 (oh, me again, turned 67 last November).
  • People with higher levels of disability (for example, an EDSS score of 6 or above) (ugh, that’s me too, my EDSS score is 8.0).
  • People with diseases of the heart or lungs (oh my word, I’ve hit the jackpot, I have atrial fibrillation which is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate – plus scans have revealed that at some time I have had a silent heart attack. That’s one I didn’t know I had suffered).

That means that there are four particularly ‘at risk’ groups who should each take extra care and, oh lucky me, I am in all four of them.

Fortunately, Spain has been under a rigorously enforced lockdown, but I have been nowhere since December, except twice by ambulance to hospital, both before lockdown began.

Was it? I wonder


Carnival Miracle, the cruise ship on which I first fell ill – but only after flying across the Atlantic about 10 days previously.

If you read my ramblings regularly, you may recall that I was taken ill in December. It actually started on board a cruise ship but took a turn for the worse the day after disembarking in San Diego, California. Things were so bad that I was rushed to hospital with one of the ambulance EMTs saying I might have flu.

After being assessed, and given initial treatment, in the Emergency Room, I was put in ICU, the intensive care unit.

My symptoms included:

  • a fever, not sure of exact figure but over 100F.
  • shortness of breath.
  • low oxygen level in blood. I was given oxygen by mask, not respirator.
  • congested lungs.
  • bad dry cough.
  • no appetite, once off the drips.
  • tired and weak.

UC San Diego Healh. The hospital in which I was placed in intensive care and given oxygen.

I also had unfortunate problems with my rear end, if you know what I mean. Suffice it to say, even someone without mobility problems would have been unlikely to have made it to a bathroom in time. This was doubtless made worse by the, then unknown to me, laxative side effects of a couple of the medications I had been put on.

By the time I was discharged, though not better, the diagnosis had gone from flu, through pneumonia, to sepsis. But were they missing something? Did I have an early case of COVID-19?

I will find out. When I have my next, long overdue blood test, I’ll ask the doc to have it tested for coronavirus antibodies. He’ll agree because Spain is keen to find people who were infected but survived.

I should say Lisa was also ill, but her symptoms luckily seemed to be not as bad as mine. But, she is a woman and we all know they make light of such things.

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


3 thoughts on “Coronavirus advice update for MSers gives cause for reflection

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