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Gallon of milk resting on the floor outside the pantry

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh at Yourself

Shortly after my journey with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) began, I realized that my cognitive function was not always working the way it should. It was nowhere near as bad as it is today, but nonetheless, I noticed a change in the way things were ticking up there. As the Cog-Fog rolled in, I started to notice myself misplacing stuff more often, but at first, I would really think that someone else had taken whatever it was I was looking for. “I didn’t lose it, someone stole it!” But it wasn’t long before the subtle mysteries like how my car keys made it to wherever they were hiding, or how the TV remote found its way into the bathroom, became something with an explanation that was little more apparent.

“What was I thinking?”

One of the first instances I can remember of something “stupid” that I realized I had done was when I went into the kitchen to make myself a snack one day. I was going to pour myself a bowl of cereal, but when I opened the fridge to grab the milk, it was nowhere to be found. I clearly remembered myself having cereal that morning and putting a half-full jug of milk back on the empty refrigerator shelf I was now staring at. “What the heck? Who took all the milk?” I stood there for a moment wondering how the milk could have disappeared when I finally decided that I would just snack on some dry cereal like I would a bowl of chips. When I opened the pantry to grab a box of “crunchy breakfast sugar loops”, guess what I found sitting inside? A halfway-full jug of room-temperature milk! I pulled it out and just looked at it while stuck between a state of confusion and wanting to laugh out loud as it dawned on me that, “Wow, no one had taken the milk; I put it in the pantry! It was me! What was I thinking?”

How I choose to react

The “milk in the pantry” story remains one of my favorite examples of something that I did because of my MS that I can legitimately laugh about. I mean, yeah, looking back, I can now see that this “brain-fart” was just the start of what would later become an incredibly debilitating aspect of my life with MS, but to me? It was (and still is) objectively funny. But I know that to others, something like this may not be a laughing matter at all because I always find myself getting frustrated and stressing out over stupid little things that my MS causes me do – things that other people living with MS might be able to do and then immediately laugh about instead of snapping like I so often do. So obviously, being able to laugh at myself and my MS for doing something like this is not actually a matter of objectivity but a matter of how I choose to see and react to it.

What else can you do?

It’s not always easy to laugh about something you can’t really help. As I said, it’s a very common thing for me to find myself overwhelmed with frustration over something that (to others) may not seem like it’s a big deal. But when I can, I always try to stop, take a deep breath, and allow my sarcastic nature to digest whatever just happened so that I can make light of it instead of stressing myself out. Stress only ever makes things worse with MS, so why stress out about something you can’t do anything about? I can’t control everything that happens in my life, and I can’t control everything that happens to my body thanks to MS. But you know what I can control? How I react to those things. So what I realized is that when it comes to living with a chronic illness like MS? Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself because what can you really do about it?

What are some of the “MS moments” that you find to be funny? Share in the comments below!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • sevensix
    3 weeks ago

    About the time of my dx (I don’t remember before, or was it after?) as we finished pre-marital counseling I stood to leave, turning, walked into the wall where the door should have been. We all had a good laugh! I later confessed I was tired from a day at work. We did marry three weeks after my dx. That was 36 years ago.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    I have had moments like that, I don’t want to have to explain a black eye by saying, “I walked into a door” because then people might think I am in an abusive relationship haha….

  • potter
    3 weeks ago

    The other day my husband and I were making a healthy dinner and was making tequila lime chicken. I was making a pineapple salsa that required lime juice. I couldn’t find it in the refrigerator or on the counter. He decided he would find it, after searching for awhile I told him he should look in cabinets. The first cabinet he opened he found the lime juice sitting next to the tequila. He had put away the lime juice away with the tequila. My husband and son are bad about this, they usually can’t find a item they are looking for when it is right in front of them. You may had been having a Male not a MS moment.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 weeks ago

    lol! Considering how neat and organized I tend to be, I would say it’s definitely not a male moment thing. The other day I caught myself putting my coffee creamer in the pantry, so, yeah, haha

  • MommaMia520
    1 month ago

    I find myself very very entertaining!! Mostly I’m by myself, and/or with a dog named Charlie. My life is pretty damn simple now, quit stressful family job, met a great guy and moved to another town. So I’m gardening or doing a little of any 10+ things, that never get done. I personally think that it’s so ridiculous that I have to laugh… constantly. If you are going to ever even think about possibly one day you could be happy, wether you are or aren’t currently, lighten up. That’s my approach to this life with MS and I am testament. I used to spend all my time worrying about what others thought of me when I’d have an ‘accident’, my crotch soaking wet and completely visible to everyone, or I have to pee and I’m headed to the bathroom with my hand in my crotch like a little girl. And the numerous other things I have no control over that the whole world can see…. Give yourself a break and smile If you can’t laugh, at least smile. This way, I’m in control of my own damn thoughts and not MS.
    Life is about the little things.. moments that pass you by. Time is going to pass you by if you don’t start living!! Time waits for no one.

  • freedom
    1 month ago

    taking a shower with my glasses on and wondering why I can see spots of water…almost marveling that I can see them…

    not washing the shampoo out of my hair and looking in the mirror trying to figure out why I look so different…..gotta learn to laugh…great artical.

  • collena
    3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing Matt. No use crying over pantry milk, har-har.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    Haha, pantry milk… right you are!

  • vvxjr9
    3 months ago

    Matt Allen G – I usually fall inside our condo, the rugs seem to cushion me so I don’t get hurt. The beginning of December I fell down on the sidewalk. There was a woman nearby that just stared at me and didn’t bother to help me up. I had broken my hand, which really hurt and was able to go to the orthopedic the next day.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    Wow, that is definitely not funny, how does someone just stand there???

  • Lamm
    4 months ago

    I just read about cog fog and i definately have it. ! And i had to laugh at myself again because i was looking for my phone and i was actually reading an article, on my phone !! Seems crazy at times but i loose things all the time. I seem to forget that I’m heating something up in the microwave then remember when it’s cold. This happens often, but i have a sense of humor about MS. I don’t really drink alcohol but i look like I’ve had a few drinks almost daily. My husband & i laugh about the neighbors that don’t know about my MS & how they probably think I’m drunk daily. Lol. I just try to roll with the symptoms & have a good laugh each day.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I often wonder what people who don’t know about my MS think about me when they see me in public. When I was in Ireland a few years back, I was stopped by a bouncer on the street in front of a bar because he thought I was drunk (it was St. Patrick’s Day) and I had to laugh because I didn’t really even drink at the time.

  • MyMe2isMS
    4 months ago

    As I read many of the comments regarding humor and ms. As I relate forgetting things, misplaced items, hot/cold and mood swings to my primary care dr., things that never happened til ms was diagnosed, he said “those are also age related. Happens to me too.” Hmm.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I really hate when I get the age-related remarks considering how young I am, I was diagnosed at the age of 20, the whole old age thing doesn’t usually start affecting people that soon.

  • CindyLou
    4 months ago

    I constantly loose my sunglasses which can I keep safely on top of my head, although a few times I lost them because I was wearing them. Go figure.
    Sure do feel like a nut those days. I can only imagine what my friends are thinking during those times.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    yeah nothing really beats the whole walking around the house with my phone in my hand while looking for my phone LOL.

  • MyMe2isMS
    4 months ago

    While taking a long leisurely walk by a lake, my husband and I went to have lunch. I was overheating and getting wobbly so sitting a restaurant with AC was a good idea. The booth in the front window gave a nice view. The sandwich complete with lettuce, tomato, and mayo looked very good. I was a bit shaky so my husband cut it in half for me. Perfect. I still needed both hands to hold on to it. Then my shaky-shakes kicked into high gear! Even while still holding on, it EXPLODED! Lettuce and tomato flew across the table. The server very calmly said “you might need these”, with a few more napkins. Maybe one….. . It’s part of my life, make the insignificant mishaps silly. Yes I do have issues that are not at all amusing. The exploding sandwich, not so much.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I can relate to that, the crazy myoclonic jerks I get in response to sudden loud sounds have made me fling things across the room that were sitting on a plate in my hand. Very frustrating at the time but looking back definitely pretty funny

  • Heather
    4 months ago

    I would say that my most misplaced item these days is my cell phone. I NEVER used to have this issue (My husband was always misplacing HIS phone and asking ME to call him so it would ring, he would hear where it was ringing from, and his phone would no longer be lost.)

    Now, I would say that I seriously ‘lose’ my iPhone on a daily basis, and it is SO frustrating for me because I always could tell you exactly where it (and everything else was, for that matter) was before my RRMS diagnosis on September 13, 2012.

    Thankfully, I have an iPhone, and I will walk through my house yelling, ‘Hey, Siri!’ like I’m calling for one of my dogs or my son!

    And, the best part? If I don’t get any response from her, I know exactly where to look. I go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator, and there’s my iPhone, sitting on the ‘floor’ of the fridge, right in front of the crisper drawers!!

    I guess I have a (bad) habit of putting my iPhone down there when I’m getting something to drink, especially if it’s something that I have made, and it’s in a pitcher because I need one hand to pour and the other hand to hold my glass. Then, I put the pitcher away and walk away with my drink and not my phone.

    I put the remote for the TV in the living room in the fridge a lot, too. The problem with that, is that I can’t yell for it! I need to get a tracker for it or something. (My 12 year old son will actually ‘hide’ the remote so we can’t change the channel off of whatever he’s watching, and I can only ‘handle’ so many episodes of ‘Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn’ before I freak out!! )

    And, the milk in the kitchen cabinet thing? Also guilty of that, as well. The good news for me is that I caught my mistake immediately after I did it. I have to do the Almond Milk thing now, and that stuff is not cheap.
    Immediately after my first, and only, so far (Knock on wood.), relapse, I became unable to drink regular cow’s milk. It all tastes and smells ‘sour’ to me.

    And…another ‘good one.’ I can only drink bottled water, and I can only drink one brand. Any guesses? It’s one of the more expensive ones out there…Fiji.

    Any other water, tap water, other bottled waters…They either taste ‘salty’ to me, or they taste ‘like I’m licking a rock.’ (I’m assuming that’s all of the minerals in there.)

    Wow…and that’s how MY MS brain works. This started off as a simple comment about how I leave my iPhone in the fridge, and it ‘took the scenic route’ to get back to the part where I, too, have put my Almond Milk in the cabinet and not in the fridge.

    With that being said, keep laughing, stay above ground and don’t be so hard on yourself. It is what it is. (This last paragraph is my outlook for 2019.)

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    Well better to leave your phone in the fridge than the oven because I’m sure it does better with cooler temperatures than heat.

  • Gmrobin13
    4 months ago

    Glad you have a Sence of Humor, it helps for sure…

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I don’t know if I would have made it as far as I’ve made it without a sense of humor

  • Bkboo
    4 months ago

    I was working one day in 100 degree weather bailing hay! Hard work and was standing on the hay on a trailer and went to throw the hay into the Barn and swung my arms and there the hay went and I followed. I landed on my elbow and heard a pop. I said to my boyfriend at the time…um I think I broke my arm. Long story short, I shattered my elbow and now have a plate in my arm, but I laugh at how that happened…

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    Wow, I’m sure it took some time before you were able to laugh at yourself on that one!

  • Bkboo
    2 weeks ago

    When the pain was gone 😉

  • Bkboo
    4 months ago

    I have always had a great sense of humor. I am the life of the party making everyone laugh. In 2013, that changed when MS attacked my focus, thinking skills, etc. It was no laughing matter it changed my world.
    Today, I am finding my sense of humor again when I try to explain something to a friend and sound like porky pig on pause….and I just look at them, stop stuttering and say yep Know what I mean and walk away.. Some days are better than others. My frustration can get the best of me and it will be something simple like walking in a room and standing there thinking what was I doing or getting, etc….ugh! I have to find the humor and eh get mad if I want to its my MS and will cry when I want to…. or laugh 🙂 Humor is wonderful!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I have to admit, I still have issues laughing at things like my poor cognition and difficulty speaking… I have yet to find the ability to laugh at myself over that. It just frustrates me so much! But other things like stepping into a room and wondering why I walked in there? I can still laugh at that.

  • Bkboo
    2 weeks ago

    Oh I get very frustrated, kick scream, cry, etc., but I can find the humor too….its so important to find when a lot is out of my control
    .

  • KaseyG
    4 months ago

    I will have been diagnosed for 23 years on February 15th. I’ll be 45 on March 14th. What I’ve learned in my last 15 years is that laughter IS the best medicine sometimes. As an example, when I fall inside OR outside, there is a chance someone else saw. To make them wonder more, when I get up, I hold my arms in the air like I finished a dismount! Then laugh more because I’m sure the watchers are wondering what the hell I’m doing!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I have yet to fall outside (knock on wood) but I have already spent a lot of time thing about what I will do to use humor to mitigate the situation so that people around me don’t think it’s time to panic LOL

  • Donna Steigleder moderator
    4 months ago

    Thanks, everyone for sharing all these great stories. I’ve found that laughing at the crazy situations my husband and I get into due to his MS symptoms kicking in at just the wrong moment is the best way of dealing with the frustrations of the moments. I’ve truly enjoyed following along with your humorous adventures. Donna Steigleder, Moderator

  • TruB
    4 months ago

    I spent some time in hospital with paralysis down my left side, mealtimes were always fun. One day I took on the momentous task of one handedly removing the cling film from a plated scone, slicing open, opening the butter pat, spreading it, opening the jam sachet spreading it (all one handedly must have taken 20 minutes) I proudly raised the scone to my mouth when…..my hand spasmed! The nurse came in to find me laughing hysterically with jam and scone oozing out through my clenched fist!!

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    in a situation like that I would definitely sit there and while but probably more so as a result of me processing my insanity

  • KaseyG
    4 months ago
  • molliemoo
    4 months ago

    Well I’m new and still in limbo land now for 4 years. If I didn’t laugh I’d cry, which I do occasionally. My funny moment was when my neurologist asked me for an example of me saying the wrong things. I told him about the previous week when we had our supper outside in the garden ( a rare miracle in Ireland) my dog kept begging and I said in front of my family sit just go sit janette. Nothing wrong with that only my dog is called Jet. We laughed and they made fun of it all evening.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    I was in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day and a bouncer stopped me in front of a bar and asked me if I was okay because he thought I was drunk LOL… I had to say no but for a second I didn’t think I could probably take advantage of the holiday and just blame all my MS stuff on being drunk – also, better to make that mistake with your dog then with a friend you have known for a long time or family member

  • oneeye
    4 months ago

    My dad used to come up from the basement, and when somebody asked him where he had been he would say, “I’ve been in the hereafter.” when they asked what he meant by that he would say, “I asked myself but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I was here after!”

  • Spratt
    4 months ago

    I enjoyed your article, especially the milk in the cabinet story – I knew exactly where the milk was when you went looking! Ask me how.
    My husband and I were outside working in the flower beds last spring. I knelt too close to the rocks – any hard surface on my knees totally takes away any feeling or working of the legs. I tried to scoot back onto the grass but my legs wouldn’t work, so I was stuck. So my husband tried to help me up. I’m a large woman and the thought of what the neighbors might see made me start to giggle, which then turned into a full-on laughing spasm. The more my poor husband tried to pull me up, the harder I laughed, making it impossible for him to get me up. Then he started laughing. We had a time just sitting on the ground laughing like a drunken old couple. I did of course eventually get up. Good times! (better laugh than cry when you can)

  • jpkuhta
    4 months ago

    In keeping with your perspective.

    There are 3 sure signs of MS.
    The first is loss of memory.
    I cant remember the other 2.

    It funniest when you actually say it a deeply serious voice.

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    lol I will have to remember that one- well, write it down or- I forget what else…

  • kgbookworm
    4 months ago

    You “gotta” find the humor in the MS losses whether physical or not, or you’ll end up with a bad attitude, and/or you’ll start crying and never stop.

    So, Monday was DEFINITELY an emotionally trying and physically exhausting day. My family member was having surgery, and I had a mammogram. Not the most comfortable appointment, and it was my first one where I required a wheelchair.

    I arrived home from my mammogram appointment, and the wheelchair bus driver was kind and ensured I made it into the house safely using my new ramps. I only have my permit to drive my “superhero power wheelchair,” and the ramps are new to me. I didn’t want to drive off the side of the ramp!

    I got out of the wheelchair and sat in my lift chair for a while. I became hungry, so I decided to power wheelchair into the kitchen to make some lunch. I completed that task, and sat eating. After a while, I decided to back my wheelchair into its out of the way spot while holding on to my walker to be able to get up and move once I parked the wheelchair.

    Years ago, I had a puppy, and I had a water bowl on a puppy pad in the living room that my Baby Girl knocked over. The water spilled past the puppy pad onto the hardwood floor that wasn’t varnished well. The wood bowed up (small bump in the floor).

    Here’s the funny. So, I’m trying to back in the wheelchair, and the small wheel of the chair just can’t make it over the bowed floor. I try again. I end up spinning, and spinning, and spinning in circles. I had to let go of the walker because I kept spinning around. I thought, oh maybe I should increase the speed of the chair so it powers over the bumps in the floor.

    I end up spinning, and spinning, and spinning faster and faster still unable to power over the bumps. Only, this time, I end up smashing into the loveseat and the end table.

    I’m FINALLY successful in getting over the bumps in the floor and backing in the wheelchair. Only now, the walker is across the room! I decided to take the risk of moving the chair again over the bumps to grab the walker to be able to walk safely. I’m alone in the house and needed to be safe. Yay! I was successful in backing in the wheelchair.

    After all that time, I have to use the potty. Yep, I didn’t make it. After cleaning myself up, I thought it was best I lie down and rest. I shakily walk to my bed, only to see my cell phone was on red battery and needed to charge. Guess where my charger was? Yep, in the living room! I told the family I was turning off my phone and why so they wouldn’t worry. I took a nap until my daughter arrived!

  • Donna Steigleder moderator
    4 months ago

    kgbookworm, Thank you for sharing that story. You tell it beautifully. I can see exactly what’s happening. Having been in similar situations, I can guess what may have been going through your mind! Thanks for the perfect laugh this afternoon. Donna Steigleder, Moderator

  • cpcatchik
    4 months ago

    Thank you for being brave enough to admit all of that. I laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks picturing you spinning in the wheelchair while stuck on place. I had a bad relapse a year ago and needed a rollator to get from room to room safely. Trouble was that it seemed never to be where it was needed. Sometimes I’d lurch across the room to get it and once I crawled…and learned not to do that as I then couldn’t get up. I sat on the floor laughing like a mad woman. And naturally, that brought on a need to visit the bathroom, so you can guess what happened next. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Spratt
    4 months ago

    This made me laugh – isn’t that the way things go?! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    Glad you did!

  • Marnie55
    4 months ago

    I love this article. Laughter is truly my best medicine. I have lived with MS for 37 years, am now 55. I crack my self up.
    Don’t get me wrong..I hate this disease, but the endorphins feel great when laughing

  • SueK
    4 months ago

    We were at the neuro’s office when I complained that part way through an argument, I forget what we are fighting about. The doctor asked my husband if he reminds me. My husband didn’t miss a beat, answering, “do I look crazy?”

    What’s worse is when I am searching for something, standing staring right at it no less, and somehow it doesn’t register what it is. Last week I sat staring at my IPad for five minutes as though I had never seen one before. Now that is freaky!

  • StephNA311
    4 months ago

    My recent doppy moment started when I went to get a haircut I brought a picture of what I was hoping to get… The results were pretty close I looked in the mirror the next morning didn’t recognize myself saw a stranger then gut my hair without thinking it was difficult cause my MS gave me a stiff right arm that day but that’s my norm. My maybe ex hair dressers a little pissed at me cause of this…

  • SLZ2
    4 months ago

    I was really on a roll. I put the milk in the cupboard, the coffee pot in the oven and my coffee cup in the fridge. That was an exceptionally bad ms brain fart. I laughed at myself hard my hubby though I was having a fit

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    All you were doing was exploring new possible places to store things LOL

  • JimmyMac
    4 months ago

    Great writing!! Only because you asked, I woke up in the morning and nearly woke my wife to admit to her that I had killed a man. As I continued to worry, my cog fog began to dissipate. I slowly remember that not only do I oppose murder, who doesn’t, but I don’t own a gun. I woke up my wife because of the noise from my good belly laugh.

  • mdtam
    4 months ago

    So true, thank you for sharing! I’m new to the site but also plan on sharing my journey with MS as well. Your very brave, and I admire the fact you had the courage to come here and share. It’s not easy sharing the moments that you might feel judgement by others. I would like to add you as a friend on here. Can we do that here? I’m new like I said haha!! Lol

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @mdtam, welcome to our community!! We’re so grateful you joined our site. Yes, you can add friends! All you have to do is:
    1. Make sure you’re logged in and click your profile pic in the top righthand corner
    2. This will take you to your profile page where you’ll see a “Friends” tab listed on the main menu.
    3. Click on “Friends List” in the drop down menu, and you can type in any members’ username and friend request them

    Let us know if you have any trouble. We’d also love to hear your journey with MS if you feel comfortable doing so! Whenever you’re ready, you can share your story here: https://multiplesclerosis.net/stories/

    Thanks again for reaching out! Best wishes, Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • vvxjr9
    4 months ago

    It happens

  • Matt Allen G author
    3 months ago

    yup, lol, it happens.

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