Have You Ever Seriously Choked on Food?

Christmas Day at dinner I sliced a too large portion of steak and, as I was engaged in good conversation with my girlfriend, didn’t chew properly before swallowing. The piece caught in my throat and I made a couple attempts to swallow it down. It wouldn’t go down so I tried to bring it up again to chew a bit more. But it was just stuck and I suddenly realized that I now couldn’t breathe and actually hadn’t been breathing the whole time. My face went beat red and I felt a horrible panic as I knew this sort of thing could be really seriously. Visions of Heimlich Maneuvers danced in my head.

My throat and chest started to spasm, and I bent over and tried to wretch. It felt like the worst dry-heaving imaginable. Fortunately the steak piece was expelled within a few violent tries. It was like in the movies, meaning it really shot out of my mouth. What the movies don’t show is the subsequent vomitting and the feeling that your throat has been raped. I could only squeaked out a whisper and for a few seconds was terrified that my windpipe had closed in pain and I still couldn’t breathe.

It took a few minutes before I could breathe normally and at least 30 minutes before I could speak above a croak.

Really frightening experience. Has anyone else ever had this happen or been there when it happened to someone else?

I once almost chocked on a peanut butter sandwhich at the age of 13. Writhing and whaling on a Norwegian side road.
A kind soul stopped and gave me some water.
Never the same way since.

Don’t tell me you switched to Vegemite?

My Mum had thyroid surgery when I was quite young and has suffered from potential suffocation ever since. The closest I ever came was inhaling the red-hot gauze from a crack pipe. I guess that doesn’t really count as real food, though.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH. Sounds horrible and scary! Glad you made it!

Yikes, I tensed up just reading your story, MM. I’ve had a few minor close calls, near choking episodes, but nothing like you described. I remember when I was a kid, I was in the kitchen with my mom and she playfully tossed a single pea into the air to catch in her mouth and it went down just the wrong way and she was momentarily gasping for air and choking until it popped out. Scared the shit out of me.

Somewhere on here I posted the story of a beer pop top getting lodged in my windpipe outside a 7-11.
While it didn’t block my airway, I was terrified of it traveling further down.
Several minutes of violent gagging and retching finally brought it back up, whilst the dizzy dame I was chatting with inanely enquired whether I needed a drink of water :doh:

One time when Elvis was in the studio, one of his front crowns came loose and he aspirated it into his lung.
They had to remove it surgically.

Glad you’re OK pal, jeez, you were almost one of those Gremlins-esque holiday horror stories

glad ur ok, very scary indeed. Read of a young man travelling with his fiancee on a plane. He choked on his onboard steak. Died.

Steaks are dangerous, make sure to cut em up into non gagging pieces.

Damn… I’m so glad you’re OK! Things like this scare the shit out of me.

I once swallowed a pill and it got stuck in my throat right outside my windpipe. One slight inhale and it would have gone in. Fortunately I had just enough air in my lungs that I could cough it out, and out it came at high speed. That was frightening, but it sounds nowhere close to what you experienced, my friend.

True but sad story :

My 1st girlfriend to be 20 years later - when she was 2 or 3, choked on a crust of dry bread that her mother gave to her when being busy in the kitchen. Being raised in a family of 9 and only the father working, there was no money for fresh bread each day, nor milk to soak it in.
Kid turning from red to blue already, her mom failed to get it out by hand so she used scissors. Kid survived but as of that day, my GF lived her life without a Uvula (accidentally cut out by mom ) and as she was not brought to the hospital, insufficient oxygen provision gave her brain injuries.
This brain damage - resulting in delayed actions /judgement /responses - might have been a partial contributor to her death many years back when she crashed her car- avoiding an obstacle on the road.

A crust of dry bread…

Don’t tell me you switched to Vegemite?[/quote]
Not bloody likey, mate!
Glad you are alright. It is indeed a most frightening experience not only fighting the fear of fear, but having to keep breathing at the same time, in order to fight off more fear of fear.

Jah Praise the visceral reaction…

Good God! I’m glad you’re OK!


It’s quite a coincidence you mention this just now as this Christmas I happened to help in a choking incident. It was just after Christmas day and I was over at the eateries in the underground area leading off from City Hall MRT Station just around the corner from Burger King and Momi Creperie cart.

I’d just got my food and settled down to eat when there was a wail from the table next to me. Frankly I swore under my breath, thinking I was going to have to listen to a spoiled brat whining for the next few minutes (though I have been known to go up to parents and request firmly they cut the noise but hey, the hassle when I just wanted a quiet meal).

However, after a second glance at the panicky mother and daughter and the well intentioned and totally ineffective attempts by staff to help, I realized the kid, a girl of about 12, was in trouble, and possibly terminal trouble if nothing was done quickly. There was no way in hell medical help could get there in time.

Fortunately, I used to be a health and safety volunteer in a factory in England and I’d read up on the Heimlich maneuver. I confess I waited a few seconds to see if the girl could get the choker up by herself because these days a 55-year-old man had better have a damn good reason if he grabs a 12 year-old girl from behind. But she was still gasping and with a fervent prayer of ‘Dear God, please don’t let me be misunderstood’ I came up behind her and with a short ‘excuse me’ to the mother executed the maneuver with the offending blockage coming up quicker than I dared hope.

The mother’s look and murmur of gratitude was the best Christmas present I’d had in some time. The father, who’d been away during the drama was filled in by the mother and he and the little girl came over to thank me before they left.

And the Jimmy Savile Special Investigation Unit, Taipei Branch was not called upon to execute the ‘Gary Glitter hauled off in a patrol car’ maneuver. :slight_smile:

Excellent work, man. You may well have saved her life. I shudder everytime I think about what could have happened to me.

So was your gf well-versed in the Heimlich, could she have come to your aid?
You don’t really have time to teach someone the basics when you’re in need.

I was eating a lunch box in Kaohsiung and was on the 4th floor when a piece of food not properly cut got lodged in my throat. The closest person to me was on the first floor. I thought I was done. Amazingly, I reached my large hands down my throat and literally pulled it out. I can’t even swallow pills but I guess the body can do amazing things when absolutely necessary. I didn’t stop shaking for a while and for months lost my appetite any time a piece of food even felt like it was even getting close to my throat accidentally.

So was your gf well-versed in the Heimlich, could she have come to your aid?
You don’t really have time to teach someone the basics when you’re in need.[/quote]

She told me she was ready to scream in a few more seconds. So no, I don’t think there was much help around. There was only one other couple in the restaurant and the staff who did not look up to the task either.

I thought I should post a link to the Heimlick Maneuver as it is easy to do and can save lives. You can even do it on yourself:

nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency … 000047.htm

[quote=“Mucha Man”]I thought I should post a link to the Heimlick Maneuver as it is easy to do and can save lives. You can even do it on yourself:
nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency … 000047.htm[/quote]
Thanks for that. I remember once trying to do the Heimlich maneuver on my father, many years ago, when he was coughing violently (and therefore probably not choking!) - I later learned I didn’t do it anywhere near strongly enough, which is probably good since it wouldn’t have been appropriate anyway.

I really should take a first aid course when I’m in Canada this summer (there aren’t English-language ones available here, are there?). I’ve taken such courses in the past, but that was long ago.

[quote=“Mucha Man”]I thought I should post a link to the Heimlick Maneuver as it is easy to do and can save lives. You can even do it on yourself:

nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency … 000047.htm[/quote]
It’s not the Hind-Lick maneuver??

No wonder I got sued.