My MS Buddy (and why you shouldn’t download it)

When I’d first found out that I might have MS, I went on a mission to find out as much as I can about it. This involved researching all the reputable websites possible (you know, like MS Trust and MS Society and the NHS).

I also found my way into a couple of forums. Shift.MS seem to do so much for people with MS and have loads of great resources, but after a couple of days on that forum, I just found myself terrified. People were only turning to it in their “dark” periods. It was awful. Fortunately, I was pretty quick to realise the damage it had already started doing, and unsubscribed from it.

I found lots of apps too, which connect you with people around you. Again, these seemed like a good idea at the time but I rapidly went off them.

One looked pretty good though. MS Buddy. MS Buddy is an app you can download and it matches you with someone else with MS. That bit wasn’t the appeal to me though. What really did tick the box for me, was that you receives regular push notifications telling you about advances in clinical research and stuff. Having that info coming to me, hugely appealed to me, rather than having to go searching for it.

Trouble was, everytime I clicked on one of those push notifications, it took me to the sign in page. And I couldn’t sign in.

As part of the sign up process you have to say what type of MS you have. There was no option for “awaiting diagnosis”. Even though I knew deep down what I had, it felt wrong to put something that was yet to be confirmed by a medical professional. It just didn’t feel right. A bit like sending the wrong message to the universe!

Anyway, as I was getting fed up with receiving notifications for information I wanted to read, but couldn’t access I just decided to delete the app for the time being.

After I’d received my diagnosis, it took me a few weeks to remember about MS Buddy. I did eventually remember it though, and deciding I wanted to have the medical research information come to me I quickly downloaded it and signed up.

Within minutes I’d received my first match. She was in America, was a similar age to me and had been diagnosed with MS two years prior. I was lacking the courage to message her first, but only another few minutes later I received a message from somebody else.

“Bubbles” was a 31 year old, married male from Plymouth. He had relapsing remitting MS and had done so for quite some time.

His first message to me was a long the lines of “great to see a fellow Brit on here”.

To which I replied by agreeing, that there didn’t appear to be many Brits at all based on my initial glance.

This didn’t bother me really – as I’ve already said, my driver for using this app was the news stories on medical advances.

He then replied with the following message, which was absolutely LOADED but in my usual way of wandering obliviously through life, didn’t get it at all!

“You’re from Wigan I see. Is it true what they say about girls from Wigan?”

I replied (which was my first mistake)!

“Well I wouldn’t know seeing as I’m not from there, I just live here. Are you referring to the pie thing by any chance?”

Him: “Aah it might not apply to you then!”

Me: “What exactly?”

Him: “That girls from Wigan have big boobs!”

Me: *deletes app, but not until after shrieking eww, and sharing my disgust with my friend Kat*

So me and Bubbles didn’t hit it off.

It gave me and the girls an excellent laugh though and an excuse to whinge about how some men have no shame and will try to pick up women ANYWHERE!

One of my friends had immense fun coming up with dating site names but they’re best placed in a game of “Cards against humanity” so I’ll spare the details so that she can remain a decent human being!

**EDIT** The more I’ve reflected on this story, the more I’ve realised how awful it is. Sure, I see the funny side, but some people sign up who perhaps aren’t. in a great place when dealing with their health condition. They could be signing for genuine support or answers. It’s a scary time and SO overwhelming. To for all intents and purposes “prey” on people in that way is quite frankly, abhorrent.

B is for…

Right, well I guess we’ve established I’m pretty rubbish at this blogging malarkey! It’s almost 6 months since my last post and we’ve made it through B, C, D and have our E date planned imminently!

Now though, is my time to tell you about our B date. I’ve gotten a bit addicted to scouring Groupon for deals on the experiences that they have and I stumbled across Bingo and a bottle of wine for £10. Dave had never been to Bingo before and he does like a cheeky bet so I thought the prospect of winning some money would be perfect for him. It ticked all our boxes (plus I got wine!)

After a false start (I made the almost unforgiveable error of booking to go when it was Man United v Liverpool, which Dave, as a huge Liverpool fan, had plans to watch with his United supporting best friend) we booked in for a Sunday afternoon in early September. We got that wrong though too; our booking said midday and it didn’t even start until 1.30.

We eventually made it in and the first thing we needed to do was sign ourselves up. Then we had to pick up our bingo cards and find somewhere to sit. When we retrieved our bingo cards I was expecting the old fashioned things with the dobber…***NEWSFLASH*** You don’t get that anymore. They gave us those electronic things which is basically like online bingo. All you need to do is tap the screen and it crosses off all your numbers for you, even the ones you’ve missed. I’ve got to say, I was disappointed by that. For me, half the fun is that panic when you start missing numbers, and that hoping and praying when someone shouts BINGO, that they’ve got it wrong. That’s impossible with the tablet thingy and I feel like you lose a bit of the spirit of the game.

Once we sat down they brought us over our free wine. I was actually impressed to receive a bottle of Echo Falls (after I requested rose). I was seriously expecting something minging that tasted of vinegar! Whilst it’s not my first choice wine, it’s definitely drinkable!

After what felt like a lot of waiting, the game finally started, and it was at this point that I realised what a crap date activity Bingo was. I quickly realised, talking is not acceptable in a bingo hall after laughing like school children at ’69’ and getting some pretty evil glares. Add to that, Dave is a rubbish loser and the more times he wasn’t winning, the more grumpy he was getting. Especially as the woman sat next to us was winning loads – she was definitely on a roll!

It’s always a nice surprise to run into one of your twitter followers. @DebsBox tweeted me saying she could see me, and then proceeded to tell the Bingo caller what we were there for (she knew about the alphabet dating as I’d been tweeting about it). He then announced it to the whole of the bingo hall which was massively cringey as neither Dave or I are good with attention. It became especially awkward when he (the bingo caller) started joking about what we’d be doing for our ‘S’ date. Aaaahh…I’m cringing just thinking about it! Deb walked past our table on the way out and said she was actually attempting to get us a free bottle of bubbly or something which actually would have been nice! Anyway, despite making us cringe, it was really nice to meet her 🙂

When we left (without winnings), we both agreed that whilst Bingo is a good laugh, it’s definitely not date material. Having to remain quiet didn’t suit either of us and it makes it a pretty anti-social date, we enjoyed ourselves but it’s probably not something we’d do again in a hurry.