What I Learned About My MS While on Vacation

What I Learned About My MS While on Vacation

You wouldn’t think that a guy who was diagnosed with MS more than 37 years ago would still be able to learn a thing or two about his disease. But that’s exactly what I did while on vacation about a week ago.

I guess I really did know these things, but it took a trip to the beautiful island of St. Kitts to make a few things that were staring me in the face impossible to ignore. In addition to being beautiful, you see, St. Kitts is hot and humid, and that’s a big part of this story.

Ed in the pool
(Photo by Laura Tobias)

The heat and the humidity kept me immersed in the resort’s swimming pool for most of the time I was there. I’d spend about 25% of my time sitting next to the pool and reading and 75% in the pool keeping cool. And I didn’t just sit — I walked. I never did much pool-walking back at home. In the summer I’d swim, but not walk. But, since this pool was more conducive to walking than to swimming, that’s what I did. Water exercise isn’t anything new as an MS treatment. In fact, I’ve written about it before. I’d just never done much of it (and I still haven’t been in a water program that’s structured for MS).

The heat and the humidity also had me chugging drinking water. Like many MS patients, I drink far less water than I should, thinking that what doesn’t go in won’t come out … urgently and frequently. But that sun in St. Kitts is strong! So, I drank at least one, 20-ounce bottle of water each hour that I was outside. That’s a lot more than my usual water intake.


  1. Phil Longford says:

    Interesting observations!
    Certainly, everyone recommends drinking lots of water, but my reckoning has always been, drinking less means less journeys to the loo. Always an adventure, with MS.
    Swimming in this country, lacks a certain appeal. Might have to make the effort. Or go somewhere warm (not too hot!!)

    • Cathy says:

      Not disagreeing with any of the author’s observations. Just wondering if the high end mattressess present in a lot of hotels may have had something to do with sleeping thru a little longer. I’m sleeping much deeper, and my bathroom trips are down from 3-4 to 1.

  2. Harvey Connors says:

    I am unable to go into a pool to do water walking. do to I have an Illeostmoy (bag no colon). But I drink often and plenty and I can say it is healthier and I have more energy for sure. I also make better food choices because of it. Try it or Pedilyte type product is good too.

  3. Anitta Harkonen says:

    Hi! Waterwalking is only and best way to training walking to wheelchair patient like me. I have had MS sinse 1990, 7 years in a wheelchair so that I´m walking is a wonderfull feeling !!!!!
    Anitta Härkönen

  4. Barbara Dalziel says:

    I have always thought that swimming or at least walking round the side of the pool which I can do in the pool,is of great benefit to me drinking lots of water as well is good as it flushes out your bladder and makes going to the toilet more regularly better water is the most understated thing that we all can do to improve our wellbeing. I know some people who gain great benefit from going to a hydro therapy pool but your local swimming pool can have the same results as well. Boosts your mood as well.

  5. Karen says:

    I live in a hot, humid climate in Queensland Australia with a backyard pool. I tend to go for a swim irregularly but maybe I should try walking in the water more regularly to see if it helps my balance. I was diagnosed in 1993, am still mobile but getting less so.

  6. Juel says:

    I live in North Queensland and my daughter has a backyard pool.Easy to get in but don’t know how I would get out.I’m a bit like Karen still slightly mobile but yes there is no improvement.I am going to have to organize something to do more water exercise.Thanks for reminding me as summer is here.

    • Ed Tobias says:

      Hi Juel,

      I wish that summer was here in Maryland. We had 1 or 2 inches of snow fall yesterday.

      I also have trouble getting out of the pool but I’m able to do it if there are steps and a hand rail that I can use. There are also seats that can be installed that can be used to life a swimmer from the water onto the pool deck. Any pool company should be able to provide information about them.

      Good luck,


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