Out to the End of the Esophagus

Jules had a post that brought vividly to the forefront of my brain a memory. I was going to get into it on her comments, but decided I'd just skip straight to my own blog and tell the tale…

When I was about 3 I was living with my paternal grandparents subsequent to and after my mother's dying. They were terrific people and had raised four children of their own – the youngest still in high school as I was living there. I'm pretty sure back then they didn't have all the warnings about children choking on small toy pieces, bites of hot dogs, or, in my case, a lifesaver candy. Let's just say, thank goodness lifesaver candies have holes… it probably saved my life.

I remember walking in the house from outside when suddenly I couldn't breathe and yes, the candy was stuck perfectly in my little throat. I remember Grandma keeping her cool as she tried to get it out, then getting my Grandpa and between the two of them trying to get it out. I remember barely being able to breath through my throat, but in thinking back on it, I should have been able to breath through my nose, right? Hmmm…  I just remember them discussing calmly whether to try and put something down my throat to skewer it out or to let nature melt it out. I remember thumps on the back, lots of crying, and flashlights down my throat… "it is getting smaller!"…   One way or another, I remember it finally came out, much to great relief.

That brings me to the present. I have this weird thing I do, unintentionally, that I swear will someday be the death of me. I choke on my own spit. A lot. What's with that? I "swallow wrong", or "inhale" it, or something… but however I do it, I end up choking my fool head off turning 15 shades of red to purple and think I will never breathe again. It isn't like I'm choking on actual food, so there really isn't anything to do to "bring it up" or make me stop. I just gotta run the course.

We won't even get into the whole "once you choke, you gotta sneeze" thing. Okay, now aren't you glad you came by today?

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

6 thoughts on “Out to the End of the Esophagus”

  1. I have this problem when I’m eating too fast, my throat constricts closed and I nearly throw up. It usually happens when I’m eating fried rice. I think it has to do with the amount of air that is in each bite along with the food. For instance, it never happens when I’m eating soup or sandwiches. I love fried rice and have to learn to slow down when I eat it.

    Btw, I responded to your MOA question in the comments of my blog.

  2. Yeah it happens to me a lot as well. I can, literally, feel your pain.

    Another thing I do is get liquids caught in my esophagus. I know, it’s wierd. It’s usually something cold and carbonated (without rum in it). What seems to happen, is either the cold or carbonation interfere with the esophagus’ natural ability to contract in sequence while swallowing. This may be a sub-concious reaction to the tongue recognizing, “Hey, you forgot to put rum in your Coke!”, or it could be the combination of temperature and carbonation. Who knows?

    Anyway, what invariably happens is that my esopagus contracts below the liquid AND above the liquid at the same time causing it to stall in the middle. Painfull as all hell, becaise as a general rule, liquids don’t compress well. Hurts like a bugger for a good 5 or 10 minutes after.

    Just thought I’d share that. 😀

  3. I have had that happen too…reminds me of the tickle you get in the back of your throat when it’s dry out and you start to cough and nothing will help, not even water…it’s terrible…ugg…

  4. I have had one such unfortunate and life threatening incident regarding choking on a piece of rubbery beef rib meat in a chef’s office in Laughlin Neveada. A young but eager to please cook brought in a pan of braised ribs that were tougher than buffalo meat, wich we all sampled and instantly critisized for it’s lack of tenderness. I chose to chew on the bubble gum like texture as the flavor was pleasant enough, but when someone cracked a joke, I laughed and suddenly inhaled the massive piece of meat In front of my Boss, and all my fellow sous chef’s. The sad thing is that of all the men and women in the office, none actually knew the heimlich maneuver, I ended up “teaching” the process to the assistant chef after sadly and vainly walking away from the group to hide my distress thinking I could self apply the heimlich on the secretaries chair behind her desk. It is not as easy as it sounds, so I returned when desperation overcame my embarrasment and mimed my troubles to the group of unwary chefs only to be subjected to shaking, slaps and karate chops to the the middle of my shoulder blades. All were unsuccessful until I got the attention of Chef Cuc and wrapper her arms around me forming her hands into a fist and shoving them beneath my diaphram. She quickly got the idea and just as I was losing awareness of my surroundings she managed to launch the meaty projectile out of the Chef’s office, through the secretaries cubicle and out into the kitchen. And yes your life does flash before your eyes, at least I think it was my life. Needles to say shortly there after Heimlich seminars were held regularly throughout the casino for all staff and management.

    I have lately found myself awakening to choking from my own saliva as if my throat were constricted closed. Nothing in and nothing out and all the while I am in a state of panic and always I flash back to that one incident in the chef’s office thinking there is no one around to save me this time. But inevitabley the only solution seems to be to relax, stop panicking and allow the muscles in my throat to loosen up and I am able to exhale and breath in again.

    This was happening so often that I began sleeping with several pillows under my head for elevation hoping that gravity would be my friend but I am a night gypsy prone to covering alot of ground on my bed so it is not unusual to wake finding myself under the mass of pillows (or facing the foot of the bed for that matter) and still I am subject to the sporadic attack of these terrible occurances. I think I would rather suffer nightmares.

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