WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: (mom don’t read this)
It started with an innocent turkey on toast barbecue sandwich. For dinner, I was quietly munching my sandwich and watching Netflix when it happened. I began to seriously choke.
Your mind goes to some pretty incredible places when your life depends on it. It felt like many minutes, but was probably on fractions of seconds. I realized that I was alone and choking and that I needed to get an airway immediately. I threw myself forward. Phone, plate, sandwich, everything; all crashing to the floor. I dug down deep and did all I could to cough and make myself sick at the same time. Hard. This violent movement and action saved my life.
Years ago I took a first aid/ CPR course and remember watching the ‘what to do for self Heimlich’. I remembered the 1990s film of a lady tossing herself over a chair. I laughed then. I ran now. I stood up and got to a chair. Luckily, by the time I got to the chair I had an air passage and was able to breath, but I still was choking. The blockage was below my esophagus so I was safe from emergency number one, but I still needed to clear the block. I tried to drink some water to wash it down, but it didn’t work and It was filling past my epiglottis and began to choke again. I fought my body for a few minutes. I was scared, hurting, and other yucky things while trying to swallow or drink to pass the block. I was in an odd predicament at this point. I clearly was choking, but also breathing. What should I do now?
I walked to my front door and opened it and unlocked my screen door. Then I went to my phone and begin to Dial 911, but I didn’t push send. Many seconds were passing. I was breathing, but unsure what to do next. I wasn’t sure if my situation was emergency worthy anymore. I could breath, and if I just waited a bit, maybe I would just be ok. But my blockage was not moving. I didn’t want to get sick and block my airway again. So, I just prayed. Then I cried. Then I just started walking around. I was mentally fighting with myself as to what to do. I looked to see if my neighbors were home to see if they could help. I looked back at my phone with the 911. After a few minutes I firmly decided I would be ok and actually begin to clean the floor. Mind you, I was still in pain from the blockage in my esophagus. I was still choking.
My mind went over all the options; from the cost of emergency care to the embarrassment of asking neighbors for help. I was not sure what to do. Why did my mind go there? Why did I consider embarrassment and financial aspects over my survival. I was still in an emergency situation. But I began cleaning.
It was a solid 30 minutes before I was able to drink a bit of cold water and feel it make it to stomach. The blockage had made its way to my stomach. I showered and just sat for a bit wondering what action to take next.
I was out of the woods at the point, I think, so I locked up the house and went to bed early. The situation had drained me. Today, I have a very tender chest area, I am only eating soft foods, I went to work, and I am blogging the situation. As I write these words I’m still not actually sure if I didn’t hurt myself. I won’t go check myself out, but probably should.
So, my ultimate purpose of this blog is a friendly warning and a encouragement.
I live alone, so it is vitally important I have emergency plans. However, we are alone at points during our day and need to have some sort plan in place. I encourage you to begin making that plan.
1. Get First Aid/ CPR training. Not only can you save someone, but you can potentially help yourself or get help sooner.
2. Think of possible situations and come up with your plan of action. Your brain will remember.
3. Talk with friends and neighbors and be social. Having a circle of contacts can help you make healthy decisions when you might be unsure.
4. Pray. Comfort and guidance comes from the Lord above.
We can’t plan for every situation in our lives. We would end up stressed over everything. But putting a bit of thought into our own self care can save our lives.
I challenge you to make your emergency plan. I also want to encourage you to put yourself on the list of important people. If my mom or dad was choking I would move into action and take them to a doctor immediately. No questions. I would pay whatever fees. No hesitation. I need to see myself and my health with just as much priority. We only get one body and one life. We need to value ourselves as much as we do others. Because I am coming to this realization as I write these words, I have already called a doctor and will see them this afternoon to just make sure I am ok. I am worth it. You are worth it.
Have a safe and healthy day my friends.
A few resources: