One time I choked on a bite of a pear for 4 and a half hours.

While conversing with my mother I grabbed a not yet ripened pear from the basket of fruit, and the very first bite – a large one at that – got stuck right in the middle of my esophagus. Right behind my Adam’s apple. The initial panic was more of an internal foray of confusion. Am I really choking right now? On a fucking pear?! Yes yes you are! I rushed to get some water (which I learned, after, is something you’re not supposed to do) to try and wash it down. It didn’t move. Now, despite the pain of having something lodged in your throat, which is higher than one would think, and thankfully due to the shape of the bite of pear, I was still able to breathe – somewhat. However, the convulsions of my stomach and body trying to get this pear out of my throat, throwing up everything but the pear, including blood, failed attempts of the Heimlich by my father (which I also learned, after, is something that only works when your airway is completely blocked), I nodded to my mom to call an ambulance.

And so, a four hour wait of seeing whether or not this pear would naturally come out, or rather in, ensued. Not to sound pretentious, but it was literal torture. You’d think that your body would kind of get used to the obstruction or at least slow down after an hour or so of trying to get it out, but it amazingly does not. It only takes a break every couple seconds before convulsing and vomiting again. Swallowing emitted great pain, so drooling into the already vomit and bloody filled waste bucket on my lap was the only option. The drugs did squat and since I was able to still ‘breathe’ and choking only becomes ‘dangerous’ after 24 hours, I waited and waited with this bite of pear lodged in my throat.

After the doctors realized that this pear wasn’t moving, they finally called in a guy who stuck some tubes down my throat and pushed it down. Something I wish they had done four hours ago! Nevertheless, it was unstuck and I was free-ish.

Why am I telling you this story? Other than wanting to say that you should never talk when you’re eating or that you should always chew your food. When I was sitting in the ER, drooling, vomiting up blood and my previous breakfast and lunch, feeling as if I was being tortured and admittedly tearing up a bit, there were people screaming as if being dragged through hell, just on the other side of that dismal blue curtain. Literal cries of agony. I imagined limbs severed, gashes and openings spewing out blood and cracked bones on every limb. It sounded like they were being burned alive. This was not a movie, these were real people in real pain and there I was choking on a pear, thinking I was being tortured. Granted, choking is high up there on the pain scale – look it up, the comparison to what those screaming bloody Mary were experiencing lends something to be considered. It could always be worse.

So if you’re stuck at home, which sucks of course, it could always be worse. You could have been one of those people screaming for relief or you could and can very well be one of the people currently fighting for their life.

And all that was brought upon by a pear.


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