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.
(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.)
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.
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.
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!
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.”
“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?”
“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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