Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Buenos Aires Toothpaste Incident

I’ve got some very solid advice this week. Free, from me to you. This is all going to seem soooo obvious but, alas, I ran into a situation that I’d like to share with you, an incident that occurred during a vacation in Buenos Aires.

My advice? Do not brush your teeth with face soap. Here’s what happened:

The day was spent walking the uneven and sunny streets of BA (bee-ay), enjoying porteños dance the tango (yes, this really happened, practically at every street corner) and hanging out with Evita. Like good tourists, we ate steak for dinner and enjoyed some wine.

The uneven and sunny streets of BA

I began getting ready for bed at around 10PM, seriously early for Argentines, who are known for going to bed at 4AM (something about dancing and clubbing into the wee hours of the night), but seriously late for me.

After injecting my daily dose of Copaxone, I went to the bathroom to begin brushing my teeth. It was a perfectly normal routine. I simply squeezed a dollop of “toothpaste” onto my toothbrush and brought it to my mouth. Tube, check. Squeeze, check. White paste on brush, check. A perfectly normal routine. I’ve done this like 30,000 times in my lifetime already. This is a real number, believe me, I’ve done the math. After all, I am a number cruncher by day.

Within seconds of brushing I began to gag and realized that something had gone horribly wrong. Tears swelled in my eyes, the gagging continued and then the real fun began, I began vomiting. Ugh. Disgusting. And then it hit me. I brushed my teeth with my face soap. What?!? How on earth? And not just any soap; I brushed my teeth with exfoliating face soap designed to remove my age spots. Awful! I seriously gagged and vomited for several minutes and at some point during this horrid incident I thought about children going through this kind of torture when a bad word has been uttered. “Unimaginable”, I pondered, “Does this type of punishment really work?” After I dried up my eyes and rinsed my mouth, I contemplated how it was at all possible that I grabbed the wrong tube and brushed my teeth with face soap.

Now. I swear my sloshy brain state was not the result of the Malbec we drank that night. I asked myself, “Did my MS brain misfire and send the wrong signal? It is totally natural for me to think this, right? Why shouldn’t I attribute the Toothpaste Incident to my MS?” Call it brain fog, cognitive dysfunction. Whatever. I convinced myself that my MS really played a number on me that night, forcing me to choose face soap instead of toothpaste to clean my choppers.

Case of mistaken identify? 

Fast forward to the present. I’ve had some time to reflect and realize that it is so far fetched for me to blame my MS for not being able to (safely) identify toothpaste. Yet I find myself wanting to attribute my MS to every little physical and mental mishap. Yet, and you’ll likely agree, the Buenos Aires Toothpaste Incident was really just a simple case of mistaken identity.

Or was it?

I am sure I am not the only one who is always second-guessing things and attributing every single mishap to Multiple Sclerosis. Have situations like the Buenos Aires Toothpaste Incident ever happened to you? I would love to hear from you.

Hope you’re well.



  1. I've been following your blog for awhile now. I am a "watchful waiter" of MS (I've experienced several MS symptoms, optic neuritis, tingling, etc., but haven't had an MS diagnosis as of yet). Reading your blog makes me optimistic that even if my symptoms worsen, I'll be able to live a full life. Thank you for your optimism and lighthearted humour!

    I have had similar incidents to the toothpaste incident, but I have been absent-minded since I was a young 'un. At least your teeth will be free from pesky age spots for the remainder of your trip! ;)

    Enjoy the rest of your time in BA!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and really appreciate the kind words about this blog. Glad to hear that you are staying positive. I hope everything turns out okay for you. All the best! Christie


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