Releasing A Skeleton

Something that not a lot of people know about me is that I sometimes have a swallowing problem.  (Oh, get your minds outta the gutter, people!  I’m not talking about THAT kind of swallowing!  Ahem.)  I’m talking about swallowing food.  Even some of my closest friends don’t even know about this little issue of mine, because quite frankly, it can be extremely embarrassing.  Imagine talking to your friend and suddenly having to excuse yourself mid-sentence to get the food outta your throat.  It’s not really one of my finer achievements.  And oddly enough, would you believe that my husband suffers with this same swallowing predicament from time to time?  I often blame him for cursing me with this ridiculously stupid inconvenience.

When my husband and I first got married, I found out that he would occasionally get food “stuck” in his esophagus as he was trying to swallow it.  I’d bitch at him for not chewing up his food enough, and he’d tell me to bite him.  And since what goes around tends to eventually come around, wouldn’t ya know that I would be plagued with the swallowing misfortune, as well?  Karma’s a real bitch, y’all.

So what happens is that the food literally gets caught as it’s making its way down.  You’re not choking, and you definitely can breathe, but it hurts like a total son of a bitch.  It’s worse with things that need to be chewed up REALLY well, such as chicken.  You end up swallowing over and over again, often to no avail, and sometimes when it’s REALLY bad, you may have to force yourself to barf just to get it outta there.  Yeah, it’s really sexy, let me just tell ya.

It’s happened to me a few times when we’ve actually been in a restaurant, which is beyond awkward to say the least.  One time when we were in Mexico, I had to excuse myself from the table to try to walk around and hopefully dislodge the stuck piece of tortilla chip from my throat.  After walking around for a solid ten minutes, I finally returned to the table with the tortilla chip still in its unwelcome place.  My husband had apparently struck up a conversation with the couple at the next table, and they politely tried to include me in their discussion upon my return.  However, I was in such miserable pain that I once again had to leave the table.  I was gone for another fifteen minutes before I finally got the chip to descend.  When I took my seat again, I could tell from the looks on their faces that they thought I’d either taken a massive dump in the john or that I was some kind of anorexic freak.  Either way, they were glad to get the hell away from us, I’m quite certain.

Another time when we were on vacation with some friends, I had a setback with a rather large clump of noodles that had gotten caught while eating at an Italian restaurant.  This particular time was so incredibly bad that it took me until the next frickin’ day to get the damn thing to go down.  I spent the entire night sending telepathic death threats to the jackass who decided to invent fettuccine noodles.  It was one incredibly miserable ordeal.

Surprisingly, after some intensive family history research, I learned that my grandpa actually suffered from this exact same affliction.  In fact, his problem was so severe, that he even had to get his esophagus surgically stretched to prevent it from happening.  Now I can tell you without a doubt that there is no way in hell I’m about to go out like that.  The bottom line is that I just need to chew my food more carefully before I swallow it.  Isn’t there some kind of general rule of thumb about chewing up each bite so many times or some shit like that?  Whatever.  It’s just one more thing that puts me closer to old lady status….

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11 Responses to Releasing A Skeleton

  1. Brook says:

    my husband has some swallowing issues. What he has found to help somewhat is to A. eat softer foods B. drink a lot of fluids to help with the flow and C. chew a lot more than you want to. It got really bad for a while. His doctors found that he had some weird esophageal infection thing. He had to use this weird inhaler thing for a while to get rid of it. (He has several issues, so that helped but did NOT cure it.)
    His standing orders in the hospital are for “mechanically softened” food. Which means that whatever meal it is they throw it in the blender. Hot dog w/bun? blender. meatloaf? blend it (he says it looked like dogfood)
    He also says they told him to eat less more often.
    Maybe that helps a little :)

  2. Oh my word my husband has this problem and has to have his esophagus stretched by a baloon every year or two. It’s called Dysphagia and he has it so badly that sometimes he does start to choke. I get worried in restaurants and have had waiters go in and check on him. I’m so sorry that you have this problem it totally sucks! I hope youare wrong and he can’t pass it to me!

  3. stacy says:

    yes my mom and dad both have this issue; as do my grandfather and uncle.. it’s an awsome family trait.. i’m hoping that it stays FAR away from me! However they’ve all gone in to get their esophagus stretched too and it REALLY has helped them…

  4. Travis says:

    interesting.. never heard of an issue like this.. thanks for the education…

  5. JC Little says:

    How interesting….I feel sorry for you, especially as it seems like it’s kinda painful. In my family we have a tendency to be lazy swallowers. That means we don’t swallow completely and little bits of food get inhaled and POW!! Choke City! Gasping for Breath! Get all RED in the FACE!

    It does happen in restaurants and everyone stares helplessly with their fingers hovering over the 911 on the key pad. Or they get all heroic and try to Heimlich you, or slap you on the back.

    The fun never ends when you are Super Glamorous, huh?

    The Animated Woman

  6. We had a couple over here for dinner last Friday night, first time meeting them and all that good stuff. Mr 51% who is an awesome cook, made all these delectable goodies. So the Mom sat down, took a huge bite of baked brie and rushed to the kitchen sink where we thought she was throwing up – turned out she had invisalign braces and had forgotten she couldn’t chew with them in … she will be forever remembered. He hasn’t given her a name yet, but he fondly remembers The Mugging Victim, The Refugee, The Cheese lady and go figure, Boobalicious :)

  7. Jodi says:

    You mean I’m not the only one with this thing? Whoa!!! I totally thought it was stress related. When it happens to me, I get the hiccups & eventually end up barfing… which sucks. Bad. Especially if you’re on a date and trying to impress someone.

  8. Boomer says:

    Bummer for you and your husband. I empathize. My wife has a similar problem from acid reflux. The scar tissue builds up to the point she can’t swallow anything. Then she has to get her throat “stretched.” Not that kind of stretched. They put a balloon down her throat and blow it up- it breaks the scar tissue down and she can swallow. She has to go in for a tune up ever 3 years or so.

  9. This is the first I’ve ever heard of this issue. I can’t imagine how this would feel with food stuck though.

    You know ice cream may be the answer, but even that would get old eating all the time eventually. ;)

  10. mc in Toronto says:

    Just to keep parents aware, there is something else that can present the same way. My DS is 7 and has trouble swallowing things, due to hypersensitivity/spd and his diaphragm is too tight. His throat will close but more because of stress/discomfort than it’s being technically too narrow. In fact, he doesn’t like eating much so the few foods he does eat, he pretty much scarfs and hardly chews. Not good either. Good luck! Might try an osteopath, perhaps, before you go the stretching route.. and/or accupuncture.

  11. Irene says:

    talk to your Dr – I am not a fan of Dr’s at all but in this case be sure to let them know. They may be able to do a relatively simple procedure to relive the issue. A friend had it done and was so glad she did – My mom is headed to the Dr to have some tests done and see what she can do for it. It’s more common than you think.

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