No Heimlich maneuver needed

People who know me tend to agree that I am really, really good at one thing:  Panicking.

I’ve not managed to prove the point very often, but there is a small occasional exception:  When something actually worth panicking about happens.  In those situations I can keep my head (and just have a delayed panic when it’s all over).  Like that time I saw a crash between a bus and a car and was the only one who stopped to give the unconscious car driver and his hysterical wife first aid.  I was fine until the emergency services turned up, then had a bit of a panic and caused a panic for a nearby fire fighter as I went to light a cigarette while surrounded by spilled petrol….

Yesterday another exception happened.  I eat a lot of mint imperials (but I don’t smoke anymore, so it’s kind of ok, isn’t it?).  Somehow while on a teleconference I managed to inhale one of the mints; it bypassed my entire mouth and lodged itself at the back of my throat.  I actually said ‘uh-oh’ in my head.  And then my thought processes did that thing where they went really fast:

  • The Miserable Man who sits next to me hasn’t spoken to me since he realised I wasn’t someone with the powers to provide him a name plate-thingy for his desk.  I really didn’t want to have to find out if he knew the Heimlich maneuver – I’d owe him way more than a name plate-thingy if we crossed that line.
  • The people I actually like on the floor were all too far away to ask for help.
  • But the mint wasn’t in my windpipe – it was stuck just before that point.
  • I thought of breathing and yoga…
  • …and I took a deep breath in through my nose and below out through….well, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was a yoga breathy thing though.  And it worked! – the mint flew out my mouth and across my keyboard.  Miserable Man at the next desk didn’t look impressed.

I was though.  I think I should name this mint freeing maneuver.  Perhaps something catchy like ‘The Pog Mint Freeing Maneuver’.  It’s a shame there aren’t any vowels there to create an acronym, but I guess you can’t have everything.  And not having to experience the Heimlich maneuver is a pretty good thing to have.

But yes, for the record, about 5 seconds after this, I went all hot and shaky and panicky.  But I did prove that I can keep my head when I really need to :o)


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