Sunday, July 24, 2011

happy to be alive.

yesterday i had a booth at our downtown festival. it was extremely hot (near 100 degrees) and no one was in the shopping mood - the people who did come out were basically trying to get from their cars to anywhere with air conditioning fast so they weren't even stopping to look at our hand made goods. I was feeling crabby and complaining that we'd barely recoup our booth fee.

at about 2pm, i figured i should eat something as i was getting sick - it was just so freaking hot - the last thing you want to do is eat. Right next to our booth was a group making rib-eye sandwiches so i bought one of those and sat down next to rhiannon and started to eat it. she was telling me a story and i have NO idea what she was talking about because the first bite of rib-eye contained a great deal of grizzle and it had lodged in my throat.

she kept talking, oblivious that i was beginning to panic as i realized i was actually for real choking and could not dislodge this piece of meat from my throat. i looked at her panicked but she must have thought i was just interested in her story because she kept talking. I tried to cough, tried to swallow, tried taking a drink of my soda. when I took the drink it all just pooled in my mouth and i stood up fast thinking "I need to find someone to help me RIGHT NOW". I looked toward the sidewalk at a little old couple and thought "no, they won't be able to do heimlich" and Rhiannon wasn't catching on that i was choking (yes, i should have done the international symbol for choking by wrapping my hands around my neck but i really thought the gasping sound and pointing at my throat would have done it). My thought was "i am going to walk back over in front of those guys selling the sandwiches, they'll be strong enough to help me or at least call someone". At that point I tried really hard to take a breath and the sounds was awful but the panic was definitely setting in. The old couple FINALLY looked at me and said "is she choking?" and Rhiannon said "what? are you choking?!" At this point i'm doubled over in our little booth area and she stands up and gives me a good whack on my back, at the same time I am able to cough the piece out. It was actually two pieces of meat connected by grizzle so I thought I had chewed the first piece well and swallowed without realizing it was connected to the other piece (gross i know - it was my own fault for taking too big of a bite).

i of course threw the whole sandwich away and was shaking and had a moment where i almost started crying because i was so freaking relieved and scared and emotional. Then we started laughing at the absurdity of it and how Rhiannon was just talking. (I told her I had NO idea what she had been saying the past five minutes and we laughed some more). Gab showed up about ten minutes after it was over and of course he told me i should have done the hands on throat thing and Rhiannon agreed (I said she probably would have thought I meant "kill me now" in referring to her story being boring or something).

After that I really didn't care if I sold anything because I was so relieved to be breathing. The day could have gone MUCH worse. I had stress dreams about it last night and while I was on my run this morning it played through in my mind again, i just needed to get it out.

My new Mantra: Take small bites. Chew thoroughly. Be Happy to be Breathing.