I am embarrassed (actually ashamed) to tell you about this, but if I can save you from experiencing the same emergency, I’m passing it along.
I was home alone at noon one day last week and I was hungry and in a hurry. I understand that advocates of healthy eating don’t recommend hot dogs. I won’t try to convince you that hot dogs are good for you, but I happen to like them. And, I am a firm believer that two hot dogs will give you more than double the pleasure of one.
So, I got out the mustard, ketchup, relish, a couple of hot dog buns and two big, thick cheddar-filled hot dogs and popped the dogs in the microwave and nuked them. They came out looking juicy and delicious.
Now I’m going to tell you what I did that you shouldn’t do. I was eating alone, so I made no pretense of eating like the gentleman my mother and wife have urged me to be. You have heard the expression "wolfing down" your food. Well, I painted that dog with mustard, ketchup and relish and wolfed it down in about 30 seconds. Delicious. Then I hurriedly prepped the second dog with extra thick layers of the same condiments and proceeded to wolf it down in even bigger gulps. Pure pleasure, but not smart.
About halfway through the second dog, I look one huge bite. Way too huge. The result was it got caught in my throat and I couldn’t breathe.
I tried to cough it out and I managed to get a little air through my throat. After many coughs, it was still there and I was terrified. When that didn’t work, I remembered the Heimlich maneuver. The Heimlich maneuver was developed by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich (1920-2016), an American surgeon. It’s a system to dislodge choking obstructions from the throat by applying sudden strong pressure between the ribcage and the navel. It has probably saved thousands of lives. But, it’s a two-person procedure and the person applying the pressure stands behind the person choking.
Breathing only tiny gasps of air (each gasp pulling the hot dog further down my throat). How much time did I have? I thought two minutes was the absolute maximum.
I decided to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself. I leaned forward over the back of a chair and threw myself over it with thrusts as fast and forceful as I could. After about a dozen thrusts with no progress, I slipped down on the floor exhausted and prepared for my final gasp – killed by my own stupidity. How could I get out of this? Did the doorbell ring? No. Then I remembered when you would be reading about this.