How advice from a ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ host helps me live with ALS

An encounter with Monty Hall still helps me in my path to finding calm

Dagmar Munn avatar

by Dagmar Munn |

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Last month, a series of health issues bombarded me. They flew in on top of my usual ALS symptoms, causing me to become frustrated and ask, “Has this become my new normal?” But the advice I once received from a TV game show host rescued me — advice that continues to help me carry on when life’s curveballs head my way.

My month of health challenges began when I got my COVID-19 booster and — typical for me — felt the side effects of a sore arm, body aches, and blah feelings. Then a few days later I caught a cold, accompanied by a dry cough. I armed myself with a powerful cough syrup, which unfortunately gave me the wobbles. I misstepped and twisted my foot. Argh! Limping and coughing while pushing a rollator are not fun at all.

While waiting for the cold to disappear and my foot to heal, I spent time looking back to when I first heard the words that give me guidance today.

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A special seatmate

A number of years ago, my husband and I were returning from a trip overseas, and just before boarding our flight to the U.S., he gave me good news. “We’ve been bumped up to first class, but we’re not sitting together. Are you OK with that?”

Extra leg room and comfortable seats for a multihour flight? I quickly agreed to the new arrangement.

Boarding, I was led to the very first row, seat 1A, and I thought things couldn’t get any better. The seat next to me was empty, but within a few minutes, the occupant showed up. I recognized him immediately; it was Monty Hall! As the host of the TV game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” Monty was known for pressing contestants to choose between unknown options and surprising audience members with questions such as, “Madam, do you have a hard-boiled egg in your purse?” If they produced one, they won money.

We exchanged pleasantries during takeoff, all while I imagined the fun to be had with him as my seatmate. But once we hit cruising altitude, the fasten seat belt light flicked on and the pilot announced we’d be flying into turbulence.

Turbulence? It was rough and relentless.

Noticing my death grip on both armrests, Monty turned to me and said, “You know, I’ve flown this leg many times, and there are always some bumps.” Knowing he had my full attention, he added, “Flying is much like riding a speedboat over waves. Instead of hitting waves of water, we’re skipping over waves of air.” In his calm, smooth TV voice, he continued the comparison, explaining how the bumps are only temporary annoyances and just a variation of the natural wind currents. “We’ll soon find calmer air,” he added, his voice trailing on.

As my mind followed his words, my hands slowly relaxed.

Although we couldn’t unbuckle our seat belts for the entire flight and Monty and I never had the opportunity for light chitchat, I’ll always be grateful for his advice. In fact, I still use it as an analogy today, now that I have ALS.

Using Monty’s advice today

Instead of water waves and airwaves, life’s curveballs are the cause of the occasional turbulence I experience now.

When I’m experiencing the curveballs or “bumps” of life and they’re coming at me too fast and too strong, I think back to that special flight with Monty Hall. I hear his calm, soothing voice assuring me, “The bumps are temporary. We’ll soon find calmer air.” They’re words that reassure me and give me hope.

A postscript on Monty

I was saddened to learn of Monty’s passing in 2017, and after reading about his life, I came across an interesting fact. When not on TV, he was an avid fundraiser and received the Order of Canada for his charitable works for the Variety Clubs International and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. So I double thank you, Monty Hall!

Let’s resolve to learn to live well while we live with ALS.

Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Mark Reedy avatar

Mark Reedy

Thanks for the inspiring article! I'm at an age where I remember the enthusiasm and good humor of Monty Hall and "Let's Make a Deal."

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you, Mark... you are spot on... Monty's personality was the same on camera and off. Dagmar

RWR avatar


Thank you for sharing. Anything positive is good!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

High-fiving with you, RWR! ;-)

Richard Mowry avatar

Richard Mowry

That was good and inspiring...I have that speed bump...daily...and only three month into it but have support from numerous people and SAN DIEGO...KAISER HEALTHCARE...and day at a time...


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