Did you ever wake up one day and everything started and continued the same way it usually does and then you just knew, you were going to die today?
Your fate appeared right before you?
A few weeks ago it was that kind of day for me. I woke up; worked in my makeup studio and stopped at home after work that afternoon to change my clothes before going to a party my husband and I were to attend. I decided to eat a little something before we left, as I was a little hungry. I toasted a ¼ piece of fresh pita bread. It was so delicious and crunchy I had to have another small piece. Then chewing and looking out my kitchen window at the cold winter day view, the sun was shining but I was in big trouble. I could not swallow and that pita bread would not go down my throat. Breathing became a struggle. I turned towards my husband in the other room and with much difficulty tried to say a word. My husband watched and wondered just what had happened and what was I trying to say or do. He sternly stressed the importance of sipping some water, as it would make the bread loosen up and make it go down my throat. I tried but I could not even swallow a sip of water. It was terrifying not being able to swallow, choking, coughing and not being able to breathe, I tried the only thing I could and tried to cough and spit to get this bread down or out.
Almost thirty minutes later which seemed like an eternity…I am still choking and coughing and am able to tell my husband in a raspy voice grunt “I need to go to the new emergency care around the corner from us”.
We had just gone there not so long ago for a flu shot and I felt cozy with them and they were close to the house.
Dressed to the nines in winter white with a luscious red lipstick on and a strand of long white pearls around my neck I at least would look pretty at the morgue. I know its morbid but oh so true. That is all I could think of too.
No, I did not see a white light, no visions of God or other family members that have passed on. I was so scared and choking. My husband shouted “Let me take you to the hospital instead ”
(FYI it is fifteen minutes or so away from our home). I said in a rough barely able to speak tone…”I WILL BE DEAD BY THEN”
We flew out the door and went to St. Vincent’s First Care. My husband went in and told them what was happening. He forgot me and there I was out in the cold. I was choking and trying to spit whatever I could in the parking lot outside my car door. No coat or purse I hurried in the door and they rushed me in to one of the treatment rooms.
They asked me what happened my husband and I tried to tell them and the nurse got to work patting my back and trying to make the bread come up or go down. It just stayed there in my esophagus. It did not make it down. Then they gave me oxygen. The doctor then pushed me on my stomach sideways over the examining table and started banging me on my back to get me to cough something up. Only some bread and a little water came up. He then ordered oxygen and another nurse gave me a shot to help me get relief of some sort. Then he had me raise my hands, and start coughing not spitting what I could up. I struggled so. Then the doctor came in and did the Heimlich maneuver on me! OMG I WENT TO THE MOON & BACK.
They tried everything to save me! The nurse and doctor were the reason I am still alive.
They tried, and tried, and then came the loud words from the Doctor now across the hall. He shouted ‘Call 911” to the front receptionist. I looked at my husband waiting in the hall as the door was open and I could see he too was afraid. The doctor calling 911 was not what we wanted to hear!!!
The nurse staff told me they would have to step aside when the paramedics arrive and they could not work on me anymore. I could hear the ambulance sirens…I knew they were coming for me. Four paramedics arrived and they quickly asked questions and placed me on the stretcher.
Embarrassed, terrified and freezing without my winter coat, glasses, purse or a lipstick tube. You read right. No lipstick! I was in the ambulance being hooked to wires and trying to spit or cough up in a plastic bag, they gave me.
They asked if I wanted my privacy and close the blinds. I saw no blinds on the windows and said choking “I don’t care…Thank you!”
All of a sudden, the windows turned a white opaque and I could not see out the window. I heard the siren go on and it stayed on loud and clear as they weaved through traffic to get me to the nearest hospital.
We finally arrived at the hospital me freezing…my husband followed in the ambulance but we had forgotten my coat home. The ambulance has no heater. My twin died in the winter, I wondered how he FELT when he was in the ambulance, and he too must have been freezing and hooked up to wires to save his life.
Then vainly I asked the paramedic…Mr. Brown according to the name embroidered on his jacket. “Mr. Brown do I look awful? DO I HAVE LIPSTICK ON?”
He must have thought I was crazy asking that kind of question. Who asks that? I do.
On deaths door I wanted to look the part of the makeup artist. I was choking, spitting, coughing and watered eyes from the whole ordeal…. I JUST KNEW I looked awful!
The doctors and nurses asked me how I was feeling and did a lot of blood work, x-rays, taking my vital signs and feverishly worked to get me relief. The doctor ordered a procedure with a specialist to get that pita bread lodged down my throat out of there.
In the meantime we had to wait and wait. Then the doctor came in and wanted to try an injection of something that may help me. I told him let’s try it. I overheard him as he left the room say it only works on 1 in 200 people. Wish we did not hear that.I was terrified even more!
They gave me the shot a specialist was still on his way and then we waited some more. However, we prayed this would work. After an hour or so, he gave me a half a glass of water to see if I could swallow it and drink it down. I managed to be able to swallow the small glass of water even though my throat was so raw and I had been to hell and back!
He left me alone again for half an hour and served me another round of water.I swallowed it all. THIS WAS PROGRESS and what they were looking for. The injection they gave me relaxed and OPENED up my airway to help clear that bread out of my way. My throat was killing me and I could barely speak.
The doctor stepped out of the room and came back and said he thinks we can cancel the specialist doctor and would not need the scope to get the bread out anymore. He told me I could go home if I felt up to it. I jumped for joy and after over six and a half hours I could be in my cozy home resting.Halleujah!
I wanted to share this with you as you know I love to blog about beauty,health,fashion and food.
Maybe you could learn something from my ordeal.Perhaps I COULD HELP SAVE YOUR LIFE or someone elses by my sharing this true story.
What I do know about CHOKING:
1.Don’t stay where you are for more than 30 minutes.
2.Go to the NEAREST emergency clinic or hospital.Seeking medical help as soon as possible will save your life.The doctors and nurses told me I would have been dead if I waited any longer for medical attention.I did the right thing by telling my husband I wanted to go to the emergency clinic around the corner NOT the hospital.
3.ALWAYS have a beverage with any snacks or meals.
4.When choking place your hands in the air not at your sides to get the whatever is stuck in your throat to pass.
5.Don’t spit it up try to COUGH it up.
6.The difference between life and death is not panicking.Try and stay as calm as you can.
7.If they give you the lifesaving Heimlich Maneuver they may save your life but break your ribs.And another consequence can be lung leakage.Some of my ribs are broken on the right side of my body and it is very painful.
I realize it is not glamorous and my blog is not about beauty, travel and decadent food…this time.Although I never want to have another piece of pita bread agin as I am terrified. But I simply had to share these words of wisdom and true story with you.They say it takes up to six months for your ribs to heal and all I can do is walk slow and take an acetaminophen for the inflammation.
FYI for the record paramedics,firemen,ER nurses and doctors are hard working AMAZING PEOPLE! And please remember the next time you see an ambulance with their flashers or siren on….be kind MOVE OVER and remember my story.They saved my life! They may save yours or your family one day.
Life is a gift! I am so happy I AM STILL ALIVE and can WRITE this blog and share my experience with you. Really! I have wanted to post this for weeks but was afraid to share as it is not my typical blog. BUT I cannot hold it in anymore. I had to share. I hope you’ll learn from it too!