And the band played “Stupid Move Mambo Number Five”

8430915fMy band taught me to mambo today.

It happened. Food got stuck in my band.

It wasn’t a little “Oh, how cute, that itty bitty bite of food made my eyes water” stuck. It was a “Slap my chest, gasp…Oh Dear God, do I call an ambulance?” stuck. I’ve had tiny sticks where it was some pressure and didn’t like it at all. This was the mother of all sticks. I was in serious trouble and pain.

I had been up and out the door at 6:30 am to run an errand, so, when I came back later, chilly from outside, I saw my snuggly l’il CPAP looking up at me and crying so I thought–“Oh, OK a short nap“.

After about an hour I woke and was hurrying to get ready to head to the farm and had about 1.5 ounces of pork chop (stupid move number one) and was walking about with it (stupid move number two). Absent-mindedly taking bites as I read some blog posts (stupid move number three), I swallowed and realized the meat , although tiny bites, had built up in my band and was now jammed like the classic log jam in a river. The meat was too dry to be eaten by a bandster.

I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t gag.

I stood up as my eyes began to water profusely.

I started lightly patting my breastbone.

My chest felt like it was cracking at the sternum and I tried to swallow…Nothing…I tried to calmly walk to the kitchen (stupid move number four) but I was making this odd “Aaaaa, aaa” sound because I was in so much pain and had to bend at the waist. Breathing was very painfully and shallow. E. stopped in her tracks and asked “Are you OK?” I could breathe and knew this wouldn’t kill me right away but I was in a ton of discomfort but didn’t want to frighten her so tried to squeak out that I was fine, just had something stuck (stupid move number five). I hung my head over the kitchen sink to try to ease some of the spasms in my chest. My mouth began to water now and I quickly moved to the bathroom to see if dislodging this clog was going to happen. Staggering, I thought seriously about an ambulance, almost hitting my knees.

I was doing a slow mambo from the desk to the kitchen and now to the bathroom but it wasn’t a pretty one.

Nothing was moving this, so deciding to try to relax and stay calm through the pain and wait to see if it would begin to move on its own (since it wasn’t ONE big piece of pork chop but a bunch of tiny shredded pieces) I lay my head on a towel while still in classic toilet hugging position. Having had dissociation as a problem for so many years also has made me very good at focusing and trancing myself through pain. A fairly high pain tolerance is reached if you have everything available to you to focus inward. Occasionally I would do a wide chest stretch and rub my sternum and diaphragm.

I began gagging which causes the pain to feel like a tearing through my chest. Reminding myself to go back into focus I lay my head back down and imagined different warm colors and kept repeating “I can breathe, I’m OK. The muscles will relax, I’m OK” to myself.

After laying there about a half an hour or so with water just pouring out of my eyes and other places on my face there was a slight movement in the knot.Taking a couple drop of water (literally) in my mouth and letting it trickle down seemed to help there be more movement. Continuing to relax was the key. The worst case scenario was an emergency endoscopy and unfill for the dilation and removal of the offending clog. While no one wants to go through that situation and this pain, I could breathe, I could move and I could speak, through the pain. Remaining calm, I began to massage the area where the pain and tightness was most and could feel a bit of relief every minute or so.

Finally, I was able to stand up, take a tiny sip of water and feel it go down and around the stuck food. Exhausted but amped from sheer fear and the pain, I washed my face and hands and began the slow process of sip, sip, sipping water to help move the pork chop shreds while at the kitchen table with E. chattering innocently around me about God-only-knows-what. The relief was slow and gentle.

My chest is sore, I have only had a two teaspoons of prepared tuna (with low fat mayo, onion and garlic) that I made sure was VERY smooth, wet and easy for dinner tonight and am only interested in warm liquids, like my tea, for now to help with the soreness in my sternum.

I’m hoping it is gone and the soreness is just residual pain from the band and clog fighting each other and doesn’t mean there is still a food stuck.

Mel had a pretty much worst case scenario which she discusses honestly. If you are super easily grossed out by certain words, don’t watch. (I’m the queen of easily grossed out and this doesn’t affect me, but some people are even worst than I.)

I’m very worn out but not necessarily tired. I feel quiet, wary that it might not be done but being optimistic that it is over.

Once this is over I’ll do an imitation of myself because I’m sure when I am done being freaked out it’ll be hysterical. But for right now, Ima just sit the next dance out and sip my tea–k?

Gratefully yours,








  1. That was one of things that steered me away from the band. I'm a pretty panicky person and I WOULD have ended up in the ER. Frightening! But, there are others who think that my decision to forever alter my anatomy is more frightening.


  2. Waning Woman, yep these are the pit falls and things we need to be aware of and do what we can to avoid having happen./ Sometimes, we just do the best we can and it still happens.Minivan Mama, I don't know about brave, perhaps desperate?Thanks for your support both. It WAS scarey


  3. Chrissy – first and most importantly, you are an incredible writer! See, there's good that comes out of bad. Your bad experience showed me what a great writer you are. Dare I say I loved reading about your horrific experience. Glad you're feeling better.


  4. OMG I think that was one of the most terrifying posts I've ever read. Thank goodness my brain kicked in to mention that you must be alright to be able to write this.


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