: the heimlich :

Breakfast tends to be a hurried, scattered affair where we dart from coffee maker *gulp* to toaster *chomp* to car *swallow* without tasting a thing. Dinner, by comparison, is more deliberate and considered, and is the most likely to require real, genuine table manners.

Lunch, though, lunch falls somewhere in the middle — not as rushed as breakfast, not as formal as dinner. I like lunch the best. It’s in the afternoon, when we’re wide awake and still have plenty of energy. Plus, it’s a meal we can eat with our hands without raising eyebrows. Unless you’re having soup, then zip, up go the eyebrows. Like flags up a flagpole.

Then, too, going out for lunch is cheaper than dinner. The same exact food from the same exact menu, but at a lower price. These things defy explanation, don’t they? Why, I wonder, does the time of day affect the cost of a meal? I won’t even pretend to understand.

Last week I went to lunch with a friend of mine on a beautiful summer afternoon along the riverfront. We were the only people on the patio, everyone else was inside, packed like sardines in dim lighting and stale air conditioning. And it’s unfortunate, really, because they missed quite a show.

I had the Crispy Shrimp Tacos, thank you, and a Coke. It was the Coke that was my undoing.

In a hurry to chatter and gab, I swallowed a big, unchewed mouthful of food. Now, I do this fairly regularly, swallow big, whole bites of food, no problem. This time was no different. It made its way s.l.o.w.l.y. down my throat and, thunk, stopped. I just kept breathing and waited for it to move along. Did I mention I was in a hurry? I was, but this wad of shrimp was taking it’s own sweet time.

So I took a drink of Coke. Bad move. The Coke started fizzing violently, like it’d been shaken, and backed up into my nose, my throat, my ears, too, I think. My friend popped out of her seat, ran around the table, applied the Heimlich maneuver, and Coke exploded from everywhere.

I sat there dripping and dazed, my nasal passages on fire, but the shrimp? It hadn’t budged. I sighed, dried my face, mopped up the table, hid the wet napkins in my purse, and slunk out of there. Halfway to the car, I felt the shrimp loosen its grip and, whee, down it went. I briefly considered dessert. Very, very briefly.

On a positive note: my sinuses have never be clearer.

Copyright © Publikworks 2012

18 thoughts on “: the heimlich :

  1. I’m wondering, Lisa, can one give themself the heimlich?…..what a name ‘heimlich’?! I think we ought to call you fizzy from now on. Glad to see you made it thru the ordeal, my friend. Stay out of the restaurants!


  2. Thank you for the story. I’m glad you ended up being fine. I too sometimes take too big a bite..or don’t give myself time to chew (I believe the side effect of having children and just needing to get something in). I haven’t experienced needing the Heimlick..but I have experienced the food getting stuck…then taking it’s own sweet time to go down.

    I burst out laughing when you commented on how clear your sinus cavity was. Perhaps this can be combined w/ a neti pot for a new ‘clean’ for allergy suffers. You’d be famous. Well…more famous.


  3. Oh, sweetie, the imagination cartoon in my head played this scene over and over. Give yourself a firm, but strategic pat on the back for this post. And dessert.


  4. Oh dear, whatever shall we do with you dear. I learned from full house you should chew your food 20 times before swallowing. Maybe you should you tube the episode.


  5. I know I’m not supposed to laugh about a near death experience, but “I briefly considered dessert” was enough to almost make me require a Heimlich or two myself. Hilarious. You might have ordered a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the very least. Surely some of that soda was still traveling through your sinuses and ear canals — you could have been a walking, talking Coke float.


      1. I’d love to. Just give me a minute to brush up on the instructions at the top of this post. I feel like I need to be prepared.


  6. Wow! Lisa! How Scary! Please, never, ever leave a crowd when you might be choking or have food stuck. Wait…at least people are round you to help, such as your fast-acting, brave friend did by performing the Heimlich on you. She is a hero. I had this happen to me one time inside a crowded restaurant. I was choking to death…up to that high pitched crowing stage…when a young pregnant woman I worked with, in spite of her big, big tummy, came running from the back area and performed the Heimlich on me and saved my life. My Hero… I know it’s so embarrassing, as it was in my case, too, as I’d wet my jeans. But…I’m still alive to tell about it. I try to remind myself to chew slowly and quit being in such a rush at mealtimes. Easier said than done. Lisa, I’m happy you are still here to tell us about this today. Sincerely, Prudy


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