Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Choke

So, Joel saved my life the other day. No, seriously, he did. He literally saved my life, right there in our humble little kitchen next to the 1970s push-button stovetop and surrounded by stylish wood paneling. It was c-r-a-z-y. And yet avoidable. I think I might have been in the process of being punished for trying to secretly gorge on butterscotch chips, because lo and behold those little suckers tried to kill me.

Basically, it goes like this: I was in the kitchen by myself, searching for a few spices for the recipe I was about to prepare, when my wandering hands stumbled upon a hidden treasure trove of pure sugary joy. It turned out to be about a quarter of a bag of butterscotch chips... exactly what I wanted that muggy afternoon to feed my sweet tooth. I tossed several chips in my mouth and began chewing, when for some unknown reason I sort of coughed/inhaled, which had the unfortunate effect of sucking that gluey mass of half-chewed butterscotch chips directly into the wrong pipe. I immediately went into evasive actions, or in other words started to make things worse.

I'm not sure why, but I couldn't stop myself from trying to swallow that sucker, and of course it not only didn't work, but actually made it even harder to breathe. Which I wasn't exactly doing, at that point; more of a gasping, loud, wheezing intake with no exhalation. I was starting to panic, walking in circles around the kitchen, when I realized I was in major trouble and somehow managed to squeak out "Joel!" on one of my inhales. He ran in the room and within about 10 seconds was giving me the Heimlich. It was so awesome! After around three tries, he finally dislodged the offending sugar bomb, and I started coughing for what seemed like the next hour but was probably more like five minutes. I went over and splashed water into my mouth to help ease the pain in my throat, and ended up splashing it all over my face and neck, too. My skin was burning, and I was red and sweating and exhausted from the whole ordeal. I couldn't believe how fast my heart was pounding, and what a close call that had been.

Although I started feeling better very quickly, I couldn't actually breathe normally for about half an hour. For the next couple of days my throat was painfully sore, and I coughed throughout the night (sleep deprivation is my constant companion these days, no matter the cause). But all's well that ends well, and I can now truthfully say that my husband saved my life. I guess that means I owe him, or something. ;)

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