Monday, March 9, 2009

Scary Moment

I almost choked to death once.

That damn sandwich from White Hen Pantry! I was at my job, eating my lunch at my desk while trying to get 5 million projects done (never a good idea). At the time, I had my own office (gone are the days!), and I was completely alone. I bit into my sandwich and thought, “Man, this bread is dry!”

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe at all. I frantically grabbed my water bottle and tried to wash the bread down—but to no avail. Nothing—no water and no air—was going in or out.

I panicked and ran out of my office. Luckily, there were a few people standing around the photocopier right outside the office, and I ran up to them and started gesturing wildly, trying to tell them what was wrong. (I didn’t even think to do the hands-on-the-throat international symbol for choking—I was just so panicked.) One of my them looked at me and said, “Are you okay?” and rubbed my back a little. (She thought I was just sad or something!) In exasperation and terror, I stamped my foot on the ground.

“Oh my God, she’s choking!” someone finally said.

“Who knows the Heimlich?” someone else asked.

It seemed like an eternity before one of them finally put her arms around my back and squeezed hard. And pop! Out popped the offender, a very dry piece of bread from a White Hen sandwich.

I coughed and sputtered and breathed deep breaths of relief. “Oh my God, thank you, thank you!” I said to my rescuer, Elizabeth (one of my temporary employees). “You saved my life!”

Everyone was asking me if I was okay, and insisting that I sit down, but I felt wonderful, just being able to breathe again. I felt like I could run a marathon.

I thanked Elizabeth profusely, over and over again. I will never forget how she saved my life that day.

Nowadays, Iwanski sometimes makes fun of me for taking tiny little bird bites whenever I eat (sometimes they really are teeny tiny little bites)…and when I’m with a group of people, I’m usually the last one done eating.

But I will do whatever it takes to never feel that choking feeling again. It was probably the scariest experience of my life.

And as far as work goes, I never eat at my desk while working any more. That shit just ain’t worth it.


Mathman6293 said...

I am glad your story had a positive ending. I, too, have Heimlich story. Years ago, my mom was on the phone while eating some onion soup from Charcoal Delights (Kedzie and Foster). She was choking on a bit of something. I came along and performed the Heimlich and dislodged the food. However, for the next few days she complained that she was soar from the procedure. I remember that I was listening to Under the Double Eagle March - so that song is a perpetual flash back. And sadly she passed away several years later from something else - at least we had a little more time.

Jeanna said...

OMG, you could have died. And thanks for giving me one more thing to keep me up at night, haha.
The sad thing is it would have been a dry White Hen sandwich that killed you.
Did you hire the temp?

Barb said...

Oh man, that is scary! I've had to heimlich Julianne twice! Once was a life saver in the airport and the second time was a marble! KIDS!

sageweb said...

I was having an asthma attack once and someone tried to give me the Heimlich. I about knocked them out.

I also once choked on a hotdog everyone thought I was joking...I shoved myself into a picnic table and launched a hotdog about 15 feet. That was actually really cool.

Random Thinker said...

Did you know that humans are the only animals that can die from choking? Other animals can get things lodged in their windpipes but our ability to talk is what causes the windpipe to serve two mutually exclusive purposes. Glad everything was OK. Itty bitty bites are good for your digestive system anyway.

Sling said...

Choking is totally the scariest!
You're suffocating,while everyone stands around thinking you're playing charades.
I'd rather break a leg.

Chris said...

OMGosh, that is so scary! I am glad you are okay, I don't know if I would have known what to do. Did Elizabeth get a nice bonus?

I once had one of those round hard mints go straight down my throat. I didn't choke but it was close. That thing hurt like hell going down my wind pipe. I won't eat those thing ever again!

MaryRuth said...

OMG--White Hen Pantry! There is something I haven't thought of for a zillion years!
Glad you are OK! =)

Leah said...

Choking is scary stuff! My youngest turned purple and was choking the other day-it's sickening to watch, I can't imagine how it must feel.

I'm happy all turned out well. Chewing is under-rated and important ;)

Buck said...

OMG. Whenever I hear this story, I feel so sorry for my Poodle!

BTW - I've done the Heimlich on a restaurant customer who was choking. If you ever stamp your foot around me, I'm grabbing you from behind!

Buck said...

You should fake some choking the next time your work-husband is nearby just to get his arms around you.
I would.

rosemary said...

Whew...too close a call. I had to do the Heimlich on Steve once...thankfully he was a few pounds lighter so my arms fit around him.

Maria said...

Everyone should be familiar with the Heimlich, it is relatively easy and as you found out....someone can die very quickly.

Diane said...

OMG!!!! You all are too friggin' funny! MPH,,, you forgot to mention that the sandwich you bought usually comes with a little packet of mayo and that time it didn't thus,,, the dry sandwich and the choking incident. Thank you for sharing this story with your blog readers... you may have inspired them to learn the Heimlich and as a result save a life.

Lisa said...

That feeling of no air in or out is terrifying! I'm glad you were saved by Elizabeth! because what a way to go - choking on a White Hen Pantry sandwich.

Stick with bird bites and I'll stop taking pills while I'm driving.