Or reach down into his gullet with a clamp. Just do something!!
Got home from work today during a moderately heavy snow, and right on my heels is my neighbor, from an eighth mile down the road, hot in pursuit. The guy, staying alone at his place, swallowed a hunk of meat, and it got stuck, blocking his esophagus. Can’t swallow, can’t spit it back up. Panicking. Still breathing, thankfully, but in a panic that he will lose that ability. Gets in his car to DRIVE HIMSELF TO THE HOSPITAL 13 miles away, sees me pull in, pulls in behind me. Wants me to do an emergency trach, or maybe a Heimlich or meat extraction!
Well, I don’t do that, but I do settle him down by talking to him, get the Mrs. to call 911, and get him relaxed enough to sit still until the EMTs got there, explaining that it was better to have the obstruction removed in the ER under the care of well-equipped professionals, over me doing it right on my foyer. which is composed of slab rock. Heated slab rock, but still.
He initially wasn’t buying it, but I explained patiently that since he was still breathing, and showed no signs of stopping, all his desired interventions were contra-indicated. Trachs gone awry are more often deadly; Heimlichs when not needed crack ribs and lacerate livers; and blind probes with my trusty Kelly forceps (of course I have Kelly forceps at home, and NOT to smoke a joint, either!!) could tear tender nerve, artery, or vein tissue.
He was still dubious, but when I promised I’d consider doing all those things if they became necessary, he found acceptance.
So, I droned on in my sonorous dulcet tones, lulling him into a state of relative quiet, as I observed just how much saliva a guy who can’t swallow will produce in a few minutes. Got a bucket out for that. Impressive amount, really!
The ambulance hauled him off. We mopped up drool. Rinsed the bucket. His car is still in my driveway, not sure how he’ll get back to it, but we’ll deal with that later.
Really, the only thing atypical about this day was that this happened at home, and not work. Work was even more action-packed, but that’s expected. That’s why it’s called work.
Seriously the neighbor should have called 911, rather than drive himself, but that’s not uncommon for people in a panic to do that. I’m just glad he stopped by my place, because he’d been a menace on the road. I’m also glad I only had to clean up saliva. That’s easy.