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Those AGMs Can Be Dangerous: A Heimlich Emergency!

Friday, April 01, 2016

Last year when I attended the AGM for our local professional group, one of the members fell off a stage: there was unfortunate stripy carpeting on stage and floor which was quite disorienting. She was badly cut, an ambulance needed to be called, I was standing next to her and actively involved in getting her medical help . . . quite an incident. LOTS of blood mopped up with big linen table napkins. Subsequent stitches and bruises which took weeks to heal.

And this year, same event and different venue: at the dinner we were served big hunks of steak. I don't eat that normally by choice (or any red meat, generally) but on "social occasions" I'll work away at what's put in front of me, pushing it around mostly (and the vegetarian next to me was told, no options except on advance order . . . etc.) So: first bite of unaccustomed beef went down the wrong way and I was choking. VERY scary, struggling for breath, nobody really knew what to do or that I was seriously in trouble. DH managed to get some water to me fast and eventually with quite a struggle I got it horked up.

Gahhhhhhh! Not my most elegant moment. Thank goodness for large linen table napkins. I was in tears, slunk off to the ladies', managed to recover: a little fresh lippy and back to the table pushing food around without even my table mates realizing how close a call it was. Biggest concern of the old friend right next to me: that the server wrap up my dinner so I could take it home. Believe me: I don't think I will even pretend to attempt to eat beef ever again!!.

Had a couple bites of the dessert (hunger is never an emergency) and a cup of coffee: and then when we got home a bowlful of my marvellous chicken barley soup at 11 pm (it had been a long day, but the soup soothed my throat, which this morning is still quite sore).

Choking is a bit like drowning (and as a young woman I worked as a lifeguard/swim instructor). It only takes moments, people around you often don't know what to do: and when you're choking you can't explain. No breath to speak

OK then: get behind the person, put your arms around their ribs under their arms, hands clasped in a fist under their breastbone. Pull in and up, sharply, using a J-shaped motion: it can take some force. Repeat as necessary. This is the "Heimlich manoeuvre". Someone else should call for medical help while you're doing that in case the person becomes unconscious. (I was on the edge myself and that's a very helpless sensation.)


And: I'm going to make sure my DH has a bit of practice.

This morning I'm feeling yet again: life is precious. It is.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Scary! I'm so glad you're ok and thank you for reminding us what a great danger choking can be. Many years ago I had the experience with my little daughter who was 18 months old at the time. Ever since then choking has become a fear and I've practiced Heimlich again and again in and out of First Aid classes. People don't always understand this is a real emergency and that's why experiences like yours should be shared.
    1453 days ago
    So glad you are okay! Sorry that no one realized you needed assistance and came to your aid.

    I have used the Heimlich maneuver twice - once on a niece and another on my mother. Both were choking on meat. Neither could speak or cough. They were truly choking. It was very scary and quite a relief to see the meat come flying from their throats.
    1453 days ago
  • GABY1948
    HAD read this guess I just forgot to comment...and yes, life is PRECIOUS and fragile...have to be cautious EVERY single second of every single day!

    1454 days ago
    Glad all is good
    1455 days ago
    I am glad you are Ok..That was scary. I choked on some meat also..years ago. It is good to be reminded of the Heimlich hold.

    1455 days ago
    Very scary! I have seen hand signals used--hands to the throat, I believe. I think I'd understand--have explained such to my girls so they would know, too. Glad you are okay.
    1455 days ago
    How awfully scary! So glad you are not hurt worse; hope the sore throat is fine now. Take care. I haven't had beef in more than a year now, so I will heed your warning and be very, very careful if I ever do decide to indulge.
    1455 days ago
  • DS9KIE
    yikes I'm glad your doing good after all that

    I did that on a baby and a screw came out...and every one was looking at me like what did you do and that is what idid to the baby.

    This was big as it was a very new thing at the day care (at the collage I went to) to have babies....so every-time the director needed to leave early she always asked me to stay.

    it was not a big deal cause i had training in this from college and working at other day cares.

    You better believe the director got everyone training fast.
    1456 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Oh, how scary. Thank God you're alright now. I wonder if the odd leftover response was an anxiety reflex? I've done a couple weird things in panicky situations-I think its a form of denial of what is happening or just happened. Just a thought...
    1456 days ago
    it's at times like this that i appreciate being married to a doctor. and all too reminiscent with my own encounter with... shudder, to even think of it today, turkey skin that got caught in my throat and wouldn't go up or down. blech!!

    so glad all turned well and someone had the right technique in the end!l
    1456 days ago
    I am so glad you are OK.
    I did this on the child of a friend, he had choked on a hard candy. It went across the room and DF and I looked at each other and said not another word about it, we were in a remote spot and if unsuccessful that boy would be dead now instead of a new father just a month ago.
    Another friend's little lad died choked on a sausage, it had gone so far down his windpipe no amount of Heimlich or anything else could save that toddler.
    You dodged a bullet, be happy and thankful, Ellen.
    1456 days ago
    I'm so happy to hear you're okay! Thanks for sharing I hope you had a Happy April 1st! Wishing you a Healthy and Happy Month!
    Hugs and love, xoxo
    1456 days ago
    So glad that you are well. Scary moments. Remind us of the value of savoring our choices. Thankful for your well-being, dear Spark friend. Never in my 56 years eaten beef - love cows too much. Let's love our choices in the moment.
    1456 days ago
    My dear man has saved my life twice with the Heimlich...once with chicken and once with beef.
    I am pretty good, though not perfect, about not talking with food in my mouth as that annoys me so much when I see it, and, since my first scare (20 years ago or so) I cut all meats up small.
    One of my brothers performed it on himself at one of our family parties by stepping out onto the deck and throwing himself against the railing at just the right spot...either none of us noticed he was choking or he just dealt with it himself.
    I had heard that waitstaff are trained to do it, especially at large group venues.
    So glad you are ok.
    1456 days ago
    How scary... and what a wake-up call. EVERYONE should know about choking and the Heimlich Maneuver. You are very fortunate. Hugs to you, Rhonda

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1457 days ago
    Am surprised people were not prepared for the Heimlich. My nephew used it on my Dad, once, also eating steak. So glad you are ok...and as usual helping others to realize a simple maneuver can save a life. Thank you.

    PS Another great reason not to eat flesh.
    1457 days ago
    Wow! Scary. I must say, there is nothing more panic provoking than choking.... Whether it is that your water or even your spit has gone down the wrong way, the sensation of choking is horrific! I also think the panic makes it all worse! And, so many don't notice! I'm so glad you are OK. During my dad's stroke induced delirium he choked a little an had nightmares for days after. He was confused and the choking scare just left a mark on him! My heart broke for him! Anyhow, thanks for the reminder lesson and again, glad you are OK! Shame about the no other option deal.
    1457 days ago
    Totally scary. It's a life saving maneuver and works like magic. I've used it, though the situation is always very scary. Victim and helper end up trembling all over. I'm so glad you are well. I hate those big chunks of beef. Though I love beef, I always cut them very small, in prevention.

    emoticon emoticon
    1457 days ago
    Wow, that's so scary!!!!!! So glad you're okay!!!!!

    And yes, I've had to do that on a friend, it's actually how we met at a breakfast place in St. Thomas. Had to do it on two different occasions, he was talking while eating quickly, suddenly started choking and turning red. I said "Heimlich" - he nodded - we jumped up and fortunately he isn't very tall so I could do this. Very scary!
    1457 days ago
  • _LINDA
    *whew* so very glad you were able to get it out. I am familiar with the maneuver fortunately. Your old friend didn't notice you were choking?? Unreal, or very insensitive..
    I would have never even taken one bite, I have never eaten steak and just the smell of it is enough to make me gag. A sign from the Universe it was not meant to be..
    Glad you could enjoy your ever ready delicious soup!!
    1457 days ago
    I am glad that you are okay! Did you know that you can do a similar maneuver on yourself if you are choking? I did it once when I was alone and was choking so I know it works. You fist your hands, just like you would do on another person, under the breastbone. Then propel yourself forward onto the edge of a counter and push in the "J" motion. I bruised my knuckles but it stopped the choking.
    1457 days ago
    So happy that you are OK. Whew! What a close call!
    I remember the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" commercial and I would think, NOT for me. In fact, they had to change it when James Garner the actor spokesman suddenly needed bypass surgery. Oops.

    1457 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/1/2016 10:14:15 AM
    Have had to perform this several times on the kids when they were little. But you can't put an adult over a knee with the head and chest downward. But I was with another woman when we rushed to the side of a man choking and she shoved him over the back of a chair and a hard candy popped out. I was glad she got there first as that is not the action I was going to take. I think I will review the article now as refreshers are always a good thing.

    So glad you are ok! emoticon
    1457 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    Do you know about the two hands to the neck signal so those of us who do know and can perform Heimlich can see you need us? Or is it so scary one can't possibly remember that? OMG, I can't believe I'm tearing up worrying about you (and not being there for you, this is nuts)!

    So glad you escaped that close call! Hope your throat feels better soon!
    1457 days ago
    Whoa! That's scary. I am so glad you are alright. I take CPR/first aid every two years and hubby is a trainer for Red Cross. The classes are top notch.
    1457 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon glad you are okay.

    By the way, one can all perform the Heimlich Maneuver on herself/himself in the absence of help:

    1457 days ago
    Glad you skirted through that close call!

    Never hurts to refresh one's memory....jeez it's been a long, long time since beef & I have crossed paths...! ;-)

    1457 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15520036
    Oh my goodness! I didn't realize when I read your comment on my blog, how close to home it was. I'm so sorry for your horrible scare!

    I used to freeze when someone else was in an emergency. Such a human but dangerous lack of reaction.
    1457 days ago
    OMG! How very scary indeed! And the big concern was wrapping the leftovers to take home??? UH . . . don’t think so! I’d swear off beef forever, too. Actually, I rarely eat it myself.

    Your video could save MANY LIVES. We should all know how to perform the Heimlich, even on ourselves!

    Glad you’re all right, albeit I sore throat. I can only

    1457 days ago
    Yes, LIFE is precious! And fragile! Glad you're OK and thanks for the reminder about Heimlich! emoticon
    1457 days ago
    I am glad you are ok.

    I have seen several people choke on food and darned if it isn't usually red meat. If you are going to eat it, it must be small pieces and well-chewed.

    1457 days ago
    Wow! So very glad you were okay! It is such a simple life-saving technique... Thanks for posting the reminders.
    1457 days ago
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