Gag Me with an MS Spoon

Another very scary multiple sclerosis moment mixed with some 80’s fun


You’ve probably heard of the Spoon Theory.  It’s an essay/story/explanation of how one woman uses spoons to describe chronic illness fatigue to her friend. It’s downright brilliant.

I did some research and I think and hope the author of the Spoon Theory is Christine Miserandino.  For fear of Google thinking I’m stealing her work, I hesitate to go into too much detail about it here.  But I encourage you to check it out on the Butyoudontlooksick website.

Actually though, the Spoon Theory has little to do with what today’s blog is about.

Unless you look at it in a random sort of way, which, of course, I always do.

My day began with a new MS scare.

But first, some background.


When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I was addicted to diet soda.   I soon learned that my second favorite drink in the whole wide world (wine holds the top spot,) was poison and I broke myself of the cola habit.  I’m proud to say that I don’t even like the taste anymore and now drink a lot of water.

At an MS talk I went to once a neurologist recommended that for those with bladder issues it’s better to drink the water rapidly, not by taking small sips like you’re supposed to do with wine.  She wasn’t suggesting gulping the water, but she felt lingering too long while you drank it increased your bladder problems.

As I took a regular sip this morning I began to gag.  Really gag.

Yes, we all have had times where something goes down our wind pipe the wrong way and we start to choke but then quickly recover.  This wasn’t like that.  It was way worse.

I couldn’t breathe and I began making these horrific sounds, maybe called wheezing but since I don’t think I’ve wheezed before, I can’t say exactly.


It seemed like it went on for several minutes although it probably wasn’t quite that long.

I would have been frustrated if I wasn’t so frightened; I hadn’t chugged the water and it was water!  What did it get stuck on??

For the record, I have never gagged on diet soda or wine, not even when I was chugging them.

(Yes I have chugged wine but don’t panic; it was in my twenties and it was only the cheap stuff.)

Since I live alone and couldn’t breathe my panic during this choking fit increased.  It occurred to me that I may have to dial 911.  How to explain then, how I started frantically walking around my apartment, away from my cell phone, and waving my arms wildly as if that would help?

It was while I was moving around that something caught my eye.  It was my Footprints in the Sand throw.

Picture 90

(For definition purposes a throw is a very small blanket that is sort of useless unless you throw it on something to cover up something else that doesn’t look very nice.  In this case, my throw was covering an ugly storage bin filled with sappy junk I don’t think I should throw away but don’t know what else to do with.  I use the box as an extra chair.  I like to make objects in my home do double duty.)

Picture 91

Anyway, back to the near death experience. As I was panicking and not breathing, I happened to look down at the throw and caught the words “was only one set of footprints” and no lie, the wheezing began to let up.  Little by little I could feel my breath coming back and I began to panic less.

If you are not aware, Footprints in the Sand is a lovely story written by Mary Stevenson about how God is always with us.  I am convinced it was that line that helped me through my scare.


Many of you may not believe this, but that’s ok.  I do.

And more importantly, this story illustrates what has become my MS coping method.  Multiple sclerosis does something terrifying and I look to my faith to help me through.  And then, to cheer me up I make fun of the scare.

In this case, the 80’s phrase “gag me with a spoon” popped into my mind which made me think of MS as a big old nasty spoon gagging me.  Then my mind begins to wander with random thoughts which lead me back to using spoons in a better way than gagging and made me think of the Spoon Theory.

As my brain easily went from faith to humor to mindless wanderings I slowly started to recover.ID-100248318

By this point, my mind was full of so many thoughts that the choking terror had diminished a bit.

Do I know for sure that the choking was due to MS?  I guess I don’t but I am blaming MS anyway since it was trying to get healthier due to MS that lead me from soda to water.

And, in the past, MS cognition issues have caused me to gag slightly as I have trouble swallowing.  It’s not that I can’t swallow.  My brain just forgets how to do it from time to time and a mild panic ensues.ID-10045271

I’ve also noticed that I sometimes start to gag when I brush my teeth, something that never happened until years after my diagnosis.

It would be one thing if I was gagging on chocolate, ice cream or bad carbs but water and toothpaste are pretty innocent.

Do I know for sure that it was God who physically saved me or if it was the story about God that brought me comfort?

Does it matter?

It does not.  Either way, this particular terror has passed for now and I won this round.

Take that MS!

Just as long as this win counts even if my cognitively limited brain is now swirling between the Spoon Theory, the Footprints in the Sand story and random 80’s quotes…ID-10016881

Since I hate to suffer alone, let me share some of these quotes with you.  If you remember where they came from, then you are having a good MS day!

“Gag me with a spoon!”

“I feel the need, the need for speed!’

“I’m not going to be ignored Dan.”

“I’ll be back.”

“They’re here….”

“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz and I’m fine.”

“Can I borrow your underpants for ten minutes?”

“What’s happening hot stuff?”

“Bueller?  Bueller?”

“Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up?  If he gets up we’ll all get up.  It will be anarchy!”

“I’ll have what she’s having..”

And my personal favorite,

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”




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8 thoughts on “Gag Me with an MS Spoon

  1. Yep the non swallowing is a scary thing. Know it all too well. Comes and goes but apparently if it is around a lot OT can help with exercises (how you remember them I have no idea but hopefully they give you a hand out LOL) and that decreases the incidences. Glad it is over and glad your “throw” helped you out. Any port in a storm!

    • Thank you so much Judy and so true about “any point in a storm!” But exercises-geez. There are exercises I should be doing for my bladder too and I never remember to do them!! Seriously though, that’s good to know and something I will keep in mind if this continues as this one really freaked me out.

  2. Sounds like the worst choke since the 2004 Yankees!
    Here are my two quotes, one 80’s and one timeless:
    “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Ferris Bueller)
    “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (St. Peter)
    And that’s no gag! 🙂

    • You crack me up Rick!!! I’m ashamed to admit that I easily knew the origin of the first quote but wasn’t totally sure on the second!! I would have guessed St. Paul or John if I was on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? And whats crazy about that is my church is named after St. Peter. Poor impulsive fishermen never get the credit their due! Both are awesome quotes though so thank you!

  3. Your post was hard to swallow.
    Always wondered why the doctor asked me if I have a difficult time swallowing.
    Now in the last few years, I’ve found myself having a hard time doing that simple task.
    I know the terrible gagging noise you made–I did the same when a few drops of water went down the wrong pipe while in the shower. I thought (and my family thought) I was going to die!

    • It’s so true My Odd Sock. Sorry that you went through the same thing- it’s wicked scary… But why were you drinking in the shower? And why is it always water/ It might be worth it if it was something boring. Kidding- nothing would be worth it- it freaked me out..

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