We finally ended up having a little break from customers, and I decided to take the opportunity to devour my Caesar salad. The salad contained crunchy green veggies, sliced cheese, and chopped grilled chicken, all topped off with a delicious mouth-watering dressing. Tearing apart the plastic lid, I started to shovel salad into my mouth because I didn’t have much time to eat. I knew that I was eating too fast, and I often didn’t chew my food all the way.
Oh, shoot, I shouldn’t be doing this, I thought to myself.
I felt a piece of food block my airway. I continued to eat my meal, thinking it would push it down my throat. When I swallowed the last bite of salad, I could still feel the piece of food stuck against my throat. That made me a little more anxious because breathing was getting harder.
I tried to cough it up but that didn’t work. So I tried pushing it down with water; that didn’t work. I was starting to struggle to breathe and looked around. Everybody was busy working, not noticing I was choking in the back. I felt helpless as I was gasping for more air. My body went into panic mode as a rush of adrenaline hit me.
I’m going to die.
I had to save myself, so I ran into the bathroom and slammed the wooden door behind me; I pushed myself against the white sink to give myself the Heimlich Maneuver.
It didn’t work.
Fearing for My Life
I looked into the foggy glass mirror, opened my mouth, and saw a flat piece of lettuce stuck in the far back of my throat. I gripped the thick lettuce and tried to pull the part out. That didn’t work as the lettuce didn’t budge from its place. The entire situation overwhelmed me with emotions, and tears started falling. Desperate, I came to the hard decision that I would have to rip it out to save my own life. I ripped out the lettuce piece by piece seeing the wet green chunks fall into the white sink along with blood droplets.
As soon as the last piece came out, my airway opened up again as a breath of oxygen entered my body. What just happened to me was unreal. At that moment I feared for my life. I opened my mouth once again and looked in the mirror. I could see a scratch in my throat that was red with irritation. This one piece of green crisp salad scarred me for the rest of the shift.
I felt alone during that shift, and I was scared that death was becoming a reality that day. No one understands the self-inflicting pain that I felt during that moment. I truly feel in my heart that my guardian angel helped me when no one else could. If it hadn’t been for that angel, I’m not too sure I would have seen the next shift.
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Samuel Savard writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.