"You will have to go into hospital", said my doctor. This was in 1980.
I thought to myself, poor chap, he's obviously overworked. How could I, a very busy farmer, possibly afford the luxury of 'skiving' in a hospital?
"We have just taken over a badly run-down farm, and there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. There's no way that I'm going to any ruddy hospital", I told my doctor.
As I got up to leave his surgery, he told me bluntly "Look Glyn, please sit down. I don't usually tell my patients so bluntly, but as you are so stubborn, I'm going to be blunt. We (a consultant had also seen me) suspect that you may have a spinal tumour. This could be what's causing your falls, and why you sometimes walk about as if you're drunk. It could also be the reason for this unexplained fatigue you're having".
"That's all very well", I told him, "but there's no way you're getting me into any hospital until I've finished off our Spring work".
So, after working very hard, I managed to complete our Spring work of ploughing and seeding. I checked into our hospital the following day.
The Registrar who booked me in happened to be a neighbour. He asked me, 'What do you want first Glyn, the good news or the bad news?"
Being a coward, I asked him if I could have the good news first. He told me that I didn't have a spinal tumour. However, they would like to give me an injection in my back, and perform a lumber puncture (spinal tap), as they now suspected that I may have multiple sclerosis.
So they performed the lumbar puncture, telling me that I mustn't lean out of my bed afterwards. No problem, I thought. But later on I was reading a book, and as I have two left hands and ten thumbs, I dropped my book on the floor, and had to lean out of my bed to retrieve it. As I was leaning right out of my hospital bed, a ward Sister snapped at me, "What on earth do you think you're doing, leaning out of your bed like that?". I jerked back up quickly, too quickly, and I had a nasty headache later for my stupidity.
When the test results came back, the Registrar (my neighbour Brian) told me that it was now confirmed that I did have Multiple Sclerosis.
So that was the 'bad news'. Being quite ignorant about what having MS meant, I asked Brian for an explanation. He tried patiently to explain what MS was. "If you could imagine that over there is a generator producing electricity. Then there is an electric motor here, needing this source of electricity. But the cable carrying the power has become frayed, making it difficult for it to carry out its important function. That basically and very crudely, is MS."
And so my life with MS had begun.