I have a major phobia of choking.  Scares the shit out of me.

I learned how to do the Heimlich Maneuver when I was about nine years old, while taking a babysitting class.  Shortly after I learned how to do it, my sister choked on a bite of pork chop at the dinner table, and I gave her the Heimlich.  My parents were freaking out, and I just walked over and pushed that bite of killer pork chop out of her airway.

So I can say that watching my sister choke, and my parents freaking out pretty much scared me to death.  I was always ever so cautious to chew my food, to take small bites and make sure that it never happened to me.

When Mack was about four years old, she and I had appointments to get our hair cut.  She went first, and when she was finished our hair stylist gave her a piece of candy, and gave her a spinning stool to sit on.  She was being remarkably good, just sitting there eating her candy and spinning.  Until she turned blue and fell off of the stool.  She had lodged the piece of hard candy in her windpipe.  Heimlich Maneuver number two.  She was fine, she was scared more than anything. 

I was a mess.

Mack was mad because her candy landed on the floor in a pile of my hair, the actual choking didn’t seem to phase her.

So the year that I turned 30, my husband took me out for a really nice dinner at one of my favorite hole in the wall Italian restaurants.  We were enjoying some wine, and bread, chit chatting about what we should do when we were done with dinner.  Our waitress brings our salads to the table, and we both dig in.

I love the Italian salad dressing at this restaurant, so I always look forward to the salad. 

There are many memories of time spent here with my Nana, as her best friend was one of the original owners.  The week after I was born, my parents and Nana brought me to dinner here, and my Nana’s friend took me into the kitchen to take care of me so my parents and Nana could have a dinner without a wailing baby.  I was fed my first bite of pasta that night, at one week old.  (No wonder I have a weakness when it comes to carbs.)

We dig in to our salads, still talking here and there, a sip of wine, a bite of salad, etc.  Then I put half of a slice of a Roma tomato in my mouth.  My husband said something funny, and I inhaled it.

I am choking.  I am coughing.  I am trying to get his attention.  I put my hands to my throat like they teach you.  The universal sign for choking.  My husband just looked at me.

Finally the waiter came over and realized what was happening, my husband finally got a clue.  My husband gives me a big whack on the back, and the piece of tomato goes flying. 

I was happy to be alive.

However, for the rest of the evening, while we were waiting for our meals, etc. every single table in the dining room was discussing various different choking stories. 

All. Of. Them.

It was a long wait for the main dishes that night.


5 Comments on “Choking”

  1. judy froman says:

    I have my own of course, and yes Im petrified too of choking , my father passed away as a result of choking. I was at a steak house..and yup started choking. My life literally passed before my eyes. Finally i got up ( still dont know how ) and used the chair back on myself . Piece of steak went flying and the waiter came running.
    Not a great day and i still wont eat steak lol.

  2. missohkay says:

    Oh my gosh, I just told my abbreviated Heimlich maneuver story in someone’s blog comments yesterday. It really deserves its own post as a cautionary tale. Apparently nine years old is a fine time to learn about choking, and I’m so glad you did! Seven years old is apparently not the right time. Or maybe they just taught you better. In my school they showed first through fourth graders a movie about choking. Kids and adults just turned blue and green with no warning, jeopardy-like music, and then voila they were saved. No one ever explained to poor little missohkay that you wouldn’t just choke out of the clear blue sky on nothing. You wouldn’t choke to death without KNOWING you were choking. I spent the next few months getting out of bed and shining a flashlight on my face at night to make sure it wasn’t blue, spitting my spit into a kleenex so I wouldn’t have to swallow it, and barely eating anything for a whole year. It screwed me up big-time!

  3. KimN says:

    My mom also had to perform the heimlich on my brother when he choked on a piece of candy at the hair dresser. Scarred me for life.

  4. libbylogic says:

    I choked on steak when I was a kid. Meg has never had a piece of meat bigger than a tic tac because of it.

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