DAYS OF OUR LIVES -- Season: 54 -- Pictured: Suzanne Rogers as Maggie Horton -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Chris Haston/NBC

A pill got stuck in Suzanne Rogers’ throat, and from there, whoa. Things just got so much worse.

As happy as Days of Our Lives viewers are to have Suzanne Rogers back on screen as Maggie, they’re still not as happy — or as relieved — as the actress herself. What the heck happened that sidelined her for six months? “It was one of those freaky accidents of swallowing a pill and it not going down,” she tells Soap Opera Digest. “It was last November 18th. I had washed my hair that day and set it in curlers…

“I remembered I hadn’t taken one of my horse pills, so I took the pill and I guess I didn’t drink enough water, and I thought, ‘Gosh, that didn’t go down,’” she continues. “So I drank some more water. Well, then it wasn’t going up or down, and I got to a point where I thought, ‘I’m not breathing really well here.’”

Understandably panicked, Rogers called 911, and EMTs rushed her to the hospital. Not that she remembers much of that. After they put on her oxygen mask, it all became at best a blur. “I just know that when I did wake up, my curlers were no longer in my hair,” she says. “I had scabs all over my scalp, and I was really kind of scared that I didn’t know what was going on.”

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Once Rogers got her bearings — and saw patients with COVID being brought into the hospital — “I thought, ‘I gotta get out of here.’ That was the fear. They said, ‘Well, you’ve been here for two weeks.’ And that was a shock because I wasn’t aware of any of it. They said, ‘You have to go to rehab.’”

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get much worse, the autoimmune disease with which Rogers was diagnosed back in the 1980s flared up. “It was kind of a snowball effect of, ‘When is this going to stop?’” she recalls. By the time she got to rehab, “I was just determined, because it was at a stage where I didn’t think I was going to get home. I didn’t think I was ever going to see my house again or my dog. So that was scary.”

Finally, just after New Year 2021, Rogers did get home. And she returned to work at Days of Our Lives in May. There was still a problem, though: her trademark tresses. After they were burned by the curlers, “I looked like Beetlejuice with red hair. It was horrific,” she says. So “I’ve been wearing a wig on the show… Until I feel like my hair looks OK, I will continue to wear it because I don’t want to break the illusion.”

On your way to the comments to express your delight at Rogers’ comeback, stop off at the below photo gallery, which reveals where she ranks on our list of the longest-serving soap stars.