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.