Last night, we’re all sitting eating dinner in front of American Idol. Yes, we are that family. Shut up. Anyway, so we’re watching and eating and all of a sudden something happens that causes me to suck in a sudden gasp of air, and the sharp intake of breath causes the piece of meat I’ve just put in my mouth to lodge directly in my throat.

This has never happened to me before, as far as I can remember. Sure, there have been plenty of times when a little bit of something or another went down the wrong pipe, but this piece of meat is completely blocking my airway.

I can’t speak. I can’t breathe. My family is glued to American Idol. And in that brief, brief moment of absolutely blind panic, here’s what I think:

Oh my god I can’t breathe holy fucking shit this is no good and no one is looking at me and I’m going to choke to death and die on a piece of friggin’ steak and my family’s going to notice after I’m dead on the floor and be like “Oh, no biggie, we can just do CPR and bring her back but first let’s see how Diana Degarmo does” and also I think Nanie’s chihuahua died from choking on a piece of meat so I’m going to die just like a yappy little dog and oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap….

And then, seconds later, the killer meat became dislodged. I think it fell into my lung. And I sucked in the biggest, hugest, most grateful breath I’ve ever taken and proceeded to begin coughing my face off. Which really sucked, and hurt. I seriously coughed so long and so hard that I nearly vomited, and my throat was so trashed that I spent the rest of the evening barely able to speak.

I’m still coughing today, which I think is mostly pollen-related, but I think the killer steak is also involved somehow. That was pretty scary.

And I’m walking around with a piece of steak in my lung today.

TMI? Yeah, maybe. But up until this point my greatest memory of oxygen deprivation involves getting cocky on an innertube in a California hotel pool, falling in the deep end, and swallowing about three gallons of pool water. And I was something like 6 at the time. So I felt like sharing.

In retrospect, of course we’re all laughing and joking about it, because that’s what my family does.

9 Replies to “Choke”

  1. Man. I can't imagine my last moments being watching American Idol. I have drown a few times, but mostly that was because I was a swimmer. I don't have to many suffocation fears anymore. I hope you are okay!

  2. Oh, I know that awful feeling!! Now perhaps you know how the president felt when he choked on the pretzel and passed out during the Super Bowl. Glad you're ok.

  3. 6 years old. Tortilla chip. I distinctly remember chewing said chip, yet when I finally coughed it up, it was completely whole. I got into all sorts of shit for not chewing. I hope you feel better.

  4. yeah, alex, we were in rare form last night. when we brought ginny in to watch tv, her hair got caught in a piece of her giant mechanical chair and she screamed in a way-out-of-proportion reaction to it. someone said “damn, ginny, you act like someone broke your legs or something.” and we all died laughing – even ginny.

  5. people gag all the time, no big whoop. but still it's hard to describe the paralysis of having your wind completely blocked. it's happened to me and i felt like another 10 seconds and i would have been a goner.

  6. our mother always chokes on random things. it gets to the point of getting used to it, and her pacing back and forth. she gets really pissed off and yells for me to do something at the end…but i always laugh. once i asked her what i should do, in which she responded ,”call your dad!” like..really. what the HELL is my dad going to do? the only medical thing he knows how to do is put a bandaid on…and i dont think putting bandaids on our mother's lung is going to help the situation. also, we need to do another “sister lunch/target” thing. its about that time again, yo'!

  7. Speaking of oxygen-deprivation. Ever had the wind knocked out of you? I know it's not exactly “choking” and you can start breathing again, but the same panic is there.

    I was about 8 yrs old and riding my trusty BMX bike up some ramp and I wasn't going fast enough. Stupid neighbor boys laughed at me as I laid on the ground not able to yell or scream because I couldn't catch my breath. Assholes.

  8. i'm torn in-between laughing at you and thinking about how you choking on a piece of steak while watching american idol became too close of a call. yep the laughing is winning.

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