Another Life Experience

They happen when you least expect them.

You’re walking out of church and you witness an elderly person backing into a car and then driving away.  You drive to lunch in Seattle in the sunshine, only to be back at work an hour later and it’s snowing outside.

All part of the daily adventure we call life. You never know what’s going to happen next.  Could be a boring day–or all hell could break loose.

Last Saturday seemed like a fairly subdued day.  We had a memorial service to attend for a woman Victoria knew better than I did, but we had constantly seen the couple at the many Norwegian events around town and so out of respect, attended her service.  The church was packed to the rafters. In fact, that’s where we sat.  Over 300 people turned out for the service and for the buffet that was served afterwards in the church hall.

Needless to say it was packed.  Barely enough room to stand, with a few tables set up.  As we squirmed our way through the crowd, we saw a woman we know that wanted to ask Victoria something.  But as she tried to speak while eating at the same time, a piece of a meatball became lodged in her throat.  She started to cough…and then choke….and turned beet red. I hadn’t planned to perform the Heimlich maneuver that day, but I’d see it done on TV so, it became showtime!  I wrapped my arms around and thrusts my fists just under her ribs a couple of times, patted on her back rather firmly, then repeated, until the meatball finally became dislodged.  I’m sure the whole incident only lasted 20-seconds but it seemed like an hour.

Afterwards, she thanked me for saving her life, but I don’t think I really did that.   I probably made getting that meatball unstuck from her throat a little easier, but I’ve gotta say, the adrenaline rush I felt carried me through the rest of the day.  Up until that point, I had been yawning and had a case of the Saturday morning lazies.  Not anymore.

So, while performing the Heimlich maneuver on someone wasn’t ever on my bucket list of things to do, I can now write it down and cross it out in one sitting.  And while I’m prepared for an encore performance, I think once in a person’s lifetime is enough.

Tim Hunter

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