I wrote here about our wedding anniversary in Kansas City last year.
This year, Matt and I had a bit of an unusual anniversary celebration.
On our actual anniversary, I had parent/teacher conferences until 9:30, and Matt had to study for finals.
No complaints. Such is life. And I like my job.
So, we decided to just pick a date a few weeks later to go out to dinner.
That alternative date arrived.
And I sounded like a barking smoker. I had developed a deep cough and had lost my voice, due, I learned later, to bronchitis.
I really didn’t feel too bad, except for my lungs.
We had a groupon to use, and Matt had already made dinner reservations. I didn’t want to postpone the celebration yet again, so we went.
All was well when we arrived. The waiter kindly offered to bring me hot water, lemon, and honey when my cough started acting up.
I listened to Matt and held a little bit of a conversation, in a whisper. The food came. We ate. And continued to talk/whisper.
Then, Matt got quiet.
He reached for his water with one hand and held his chest with the other.
He looked like how I feel when a pokey tortilla chip gets stuck in my throat. Really uncomfortable, eyes squinted, trying to swallow to make the food go down. Has that ever happened to you? It’s horrible.
I felt bad for him, knowing that uncomfortable feeling, but thought, He’ll get it down.
After a few seconds of this though, his face started turning red and suddenly HE STOOD UP WITH WIDE, PANICKED EYES, leaning slightly over with his hands on the table.
Matt does not have a flare for the dramatic nor is he one to draw unnecessary attention to himself.
Oh my gosh! He’s really choking.
I yelled (squeaked/rasped), “MATT!!!!” and jumped up to help him.
I don’t know what the other people around us were doing. I wasn’t paying much attention to them. But I did hear a woman yell, “Is there a doctor?!” and a man across the restaurant yell, “He’s choking!”
They must have thought I knew what I was doing, but I honestly didn’t have a clue. I felt helpless and scared.
I tried to administer the Heimlich Maneuver, but was kind of standing on his side and doing it wrong. In between Hiemlich thrusts, I think I remember periodically hitting him on the back a few times. Matt wasn’t making any noises.
A fleeting thought passed through my mind – oh my gosh. he’s dying. am i really losing him? right here? now? and out loud again, “Oh my gosh, Matt!!”
I don’t know how long it lasted. My guess is 15-20 seconds. But it felt like an eternity.
Then, somehow, by the grace of God, he hocked up a long piece of meat onto his plate and started gasping for air.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
After a little more time, Matt gained his composure, nodded to people, held up a hand and said he was okay. We apologized for the scene to which someone reassuringly responded, “If there was ever a reason to cause a scene, this was it.”
We went to sit back down, people near us expressing kind relief.
The rest of the meal involved intermittent processing of the choking incident. –
“I can’t believe that happened.” “I thought I was losing you.”
“I always wondered how I would die, and I was thinking, oh, I’m going to die choking on a piece of meat. I’m going to die right here in this restaurant.”
“Didn’t Mama Cass die choking on a ham sandwich?”
and so on…
I’m not making light of death. Or choking. It happened, so we just talked a lot about it.
When we got home, I was coached in the correct Heimlich maneuver, to which I paid very close attention.
So that’s our Happy 7 Year Anniversary celebration.
I am grateful for this man, and have renewed gladness for his life and for our marriage.
And in case you ever need this: