Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chew your food, or this might happen!

I had the greatest hug last week. But the lead-in event started out deadly.

One evening, after grilling some beef kabobs, I enjoyed one chunk too much – and began to choke. My wife Laura came to my rescue, put her arms around me from behind and squeezed. And at least six more times. The chunk remained, but her moves gave me a tiny bit of an airway. She called 911 while I went to the floor, hacking like a cat with a hairball.

I heard her on the phone with the emergency operator when the chunk hit the kitchen floor and suddenly I could fill my lungs again. Paramedics arrived in minutes and made sure all was well. I avoided an ambulance trip to the hospital, opting for a quiet night at home. Our dog Tess finished the rest of my meal.

So a thanks to Laura for that Heimlich hug that gave me the breathing room I needed and for making that 911 call when I could not speak.

Strokes, I know, can often cause concerns in swallowing and thus create choke hazards. So it's important that people know how to use the Heimlich maneuver. My case wasn't stroke-related - I simply eat too fast - but a good cautionary note to anyone: Friends, chew your food well!

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