Not Joking! Choking!
On Monday the 22nd, the EPO gave its midterm exams, and to relax after our proctoring, we professors went out for a late lunch and drinks. I was finished eating and was enjoying my second margarita, into which I'd squeezed the juice of the attached lemon, when a lemon seed got caught against the end of my straw, checking and thereby disrupting the flow of frozen margarita through the straw and down my throat, a consequence that somehow resulted in a drop of frozen margarita slipping past my epiglottis and into my lungs.
The combination of the cold ice and the lemon-lime concoction made me inhale sharply, worsening the situation by freezing up my breathing rhythm and leaving me for several moments incapable of exhaling, and I didn't want to inhale again.
One of my friends, Professor Cho, was sitting across the table from me, watching and wondering what was wrong. Another professor, one to my left, asked, "Are you okay?"
I coughed a tiny splutter, managed to exhale a little, inhale a little, exhale a little more, inhale, then utter in a guttural, scratchy voice, "I'm okay . . ."
At that point, Professor Cho gave me a drink of her water, which was exactly what I needed. I thanked her -- and later sent an email to thank her again:
Thanks for saving me from choking today!She replied with concern:
Did I really help? I may have watched you struggle for a bit too long . . .I assured her:
You helped at the right moment. There was nothing to do prior to that point other than watch me live or die.And today's Garfield comic was apt . . .