“Find beauty in the simple things”
Throughout life, I’ve found that sometimes the smallest things are the sweetest. Those moments that force us to stop and smile. Or the little things in life we take for granted like breathing in a cool breeze, seeing the sunset, or being able to swallow your food.
Lately, I am very grateful for this; to eat, drink, and swallow. Not being able to swallow or having something lodged in your throat isn’t very pleasant. As a result of childhood cancer and too much radiation therapy , I have many physical disabilities. Although most of them I can easily deal with them, one in particular has the tendency to cause issues every now and then.One side of my throat is paralyzed which forces me to eat slower than most and to make sure I chew well. After getting food stuck in my throat several times and having it surgically removed, I had another procedure to expand my esophagus.
Well flash forward a couple of years, I still take my time eating and sometimes have difficulty swallowing but usually taking a short walk or putting my hands above my head move things around enough for the food to go down correctly.
Last weekend, I went to the renaissance faire with my friends. It was my first time at a ren faire and it was so much fun! As my friend said best “we had a wonderful time minus a couple hiccups!”
For lunch, I had a chicken kabob, chicken on a stick, and it wasn’t very easy to eat or cut into pieces. So, I tried tearing it apart and thought I had done a pretty good job but guess not good enough. With the first bite, I quickly felt a huge piece of chicken sliding into my throat before it was properly chewed. Immediately, I grabbed my friend and went to the bathroom in hopes that I could cough the chicken up. However, the chicken never came up. It was lodged in my throat and I wasn’t able to eat or drink without it coming right back up. As I mentioned, this had happened to me before and I wasn’t too worried. Since my esophagus had been stretched, maybe the chicken would slide down to my stomach as I walk around. That was a poor assumption.
After spending several hours exploring the grounds, having fun with my friends and going to the bathroom every now and then to try throwing up the chicken, I did what every mature 28-year-old does, call my mom for help. My stomach felt very irritated, kind of like when you drink too much water and your stomach wants to explode. Having experienced this before, I knew this feeling wasn’t a good sign. When my mom arrived, she convinced me to go the ER. So a great day with friends turned into an exciting evening at the ER.
Before going straight to surgically removing the chicken, the nurses gave me a muscle relaxant to calm my throat and stomach muscles with the hopes that any built up tension would disappear and would release the food. Usually this doesn’t work but it did this time around, although it took a while to take effect. About 20 minutes after taking the medicine with no food coming up but still not being able to swallow. I went to get X-rays for surgery. Just as the technician was helping me get situated, I felt it coming and immediately covered my mouth as she grabbed the throw up bin. Out came a huge strip of chicken, fully intact! It was disgusting but also pretty impressive, no wonder I couldn’t cough it up all day. I felt so relieved and a million times better. And the best part was I didn’t have to go through another surgery, even if it was only a minor one. (that would have been surgery 15, not that anyone is counting)
After returning to my room and seeing what I threw up, a nurse gave me water just to make sure it would stay down this time and it did! After not drinking for hours, that was the best water I’ve tasted in a long time! Then, they gave me graham crackers and it was like a little slice of heaven! My empty and irritated stomach started to feel normal. It was so great to swallow again! What a wonderful thing! I ate so much the next day, it was amazing to be able to swallow.
It made me think how we take something as simple as swallowing for granted. On a daily basis, how many times do you actually think about swallowing? For the majority of people, swallowing is just a natural function of the body like breathing. But have you ever stopped to think how awesome it is to swallow? How awesome it is to breath? How lucky I am to be able to swallow, to be able to enjoy the taste of food, to be able to breath on my own, and to live everyday.
“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things
makes home happy and life lovely”
-Louisa May Alcott