Monday, January 9, 2012

Hi ho! Hi ho! To the doctors we go

Douglas Winslow Cooper

My beloved wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic due to a near-fatal MS exacerbation eight years ago, limits her trips now almost exclusively to doctor visits. We have a specially equipped van for transporting Tina, her wheelchair and equipment, including back-up supplies. However, we live in a rural area, and a breakdown on the sometimes lonely road would be a major problem. Unnecessary trips represent unnecessary risks.

Even so, Tina travels many times a year to see various doctors, including her pulmonologist in Middletown, NY to whom we give the lion’s share of the credit for saving Tina’s life almost eight years ago, during her 100-day battle against pneumonia and septicemia in the Critical Care Unit of Orange Regional Medical Center.

Perhaps surprisingly, she looks forward to her doctors’ visits. We try to shield Tina from pain, and she is an exceptional patient: alert, upbeat, stoic, appreciative. Being alive and married to each other is a daily miracle, and we try to find a laugh wherever possible, joking that we’ve “put the humor back into quadriplegia.” Not always, of course. Now and again, tears are more appropriate than laughter.

Each doctor is a character. One is a mountain of a man, truly a gentle giant; I call him “the Moldovan Marvel,” acknowledging his country of origin and his surgical talent. Our family doctor epitomizes the caring, gentlemanly country physician; he is the former head of the county medical association. And her now semi-retired pulmonologist knows us longest and best; he wrote a lyric forward to our memoir and has come to truly care for Tina, I believe.

So—Hi ho! Hi ho! To the doctors we go. Even medical trips can become change-of-pace, change-of-space adventures.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, PhD, a retired environmental physicist, lives in southern New York State with his beloved wife, Tina Su Cooper, a former editor at the Encyclopedia Britannica and mother of two. Tina was first diagnosed with MS in 1981 at the age of 37. She is the central figure in Dr. Cooper’s book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available at


  1. Give her intraveinous Rocephin and I will bet she will be able to walk again. People that have been diagnosed w/ ALS that were given IV Rocephin killed enough bacteria and got their Immune system under control to re-suppress the HHV6 and HSV1 and other viral infections. MS is either bacterial or viral OR a combination of both. HHV6 is implicated in MS. Lymes bacteria and other chronic intracellular bacterial infections suppress the immune system and allow suppressed viral infections to re-surface. DIRECT from the Nobel winner that discovered HHV6. Try it, instead of taking Tysabri. It will work.

  2. BTW, I was diagnosed w/ MS and lost the use of my legs until I spoke to 3 Nobel winners/ nominees. I had IV drugs, then was on Macrolides while I was boosting my immune system to help eradicate the bacteria. Now I can walk and function. I had to locate an ILADS dr to treat me w/ long term antibiotics that the standard Neuros/ID/PCP,Cardiologist/Gstroenterologist did not even consider. Found out I had Lymes and a Mycoplasma Fermentans infection. Never showed up on any standard test till I had genetic tests done on the bacteria.

  3. To the care giver. You touched my heart talking about your Tina. Diagnosis last year. Twice i have tried to run my husband away becaue I hate to see him go thru MS with me. He say that he will not leave me like this. When I read your thoughts, it gives me hope, that he will continue to be there for me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have lived with MS for 40 years and I'm now in a wheelchair. I was with somebody for 18 years before he left me and I was devastated. He found someone was more able-bodied and dare I say sexier. I have come a long way in the 15 years since I would divorce to the point of contemplating suicide to having written a book about my experiences with MS. My profane sense of humor has kept me intact.

    I am greatly impressed at your goodness and the amazing strength of your marriage. I wish you and Tina all the best.