I have many fears in life - a fear of flying, a fear of throwing up in public, a fear of roaches and butterflies, a fear of Don King's hair.
A fear of choking in public.
I can avoid airplanes and Don King like the plague, but I'm SOL when it comes to choking in public. I have to eat to survive, and I must eat Chili's at least once a week or I'll get the shakes.
So, my co-workers and I made our weekly trip to dine at le Chilitas today.
Things were going great. I was inhaling my weekly fix of salsa and chips, just enjoying the time away from work, when it happened.
On a chip.
And some salsa.
It went down the wrong pipe.
I have no idea what the medical term for my "pipe" is called, so I'll continue calling it a pipe.
Let's just say that I sat there in complete panic mode while my lungs were about to explode from lack of air down my pipe.
Should I get up?
Should I do the universal sign for choking?
Hell, what is the universal sign? I've forgotten. Way too much Diet Coke fries the brain.
I look around. My co-workers are oblivious to my suffering. Should I kick them? Throw a chip at them? Bang on the table? Dance on the table? I can't dance, that would be embarrassing.
I try to swallow to clear my pipe. Nothing. Nada.
I try again. No air to my pipe. Help!
I say a silent prayer.
By some miraculous force, the bit of chip went down my pipe. My airway was cleared. Had it not cleared at that exact moment, I would've made an ass out of myself and lunged at the table corner in my own attempt to dislodge the particle of food. That would've been attractive.
I spent the next 10 minutes trying to conceal my panic. Since I'm the queen of over-reaction, I would've loved to have seen my heart rate at that exact moment. It wasn't one of my finer moments.
So, here's my friendly PSA for the week. Don't inhale salsa and chips - even though they're so delicious. A chip could get stuck in your pipe, and it may not dislodge like it did for me. I was one of the lucky ones.
Oh, and to top it all off with a cherry, the next chip I ate stabbed the roof of my mouth. I think it's still in there.
Not pleasant. At all.
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