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Breathing difficulties - John C. Kirk

Aug. 8th, 2008

11:58 am - Breathing difficulties

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There are various ways to wake up in the morning: gradually being woken by the sunlight on your face is quite nice, whereas looking at your clock and realising that your exam started 30 minutes ago is less nice. Today, I woke up at 5am because I was choking.

This was a bit scary, particularly once I realised that I wasn't just coughing, I was also having difficulty in breathing. So, I stood up. This wasn't a brilliant idea from a first aid point of view, since a lack of oxygen to the brain could make me dizzy, and cause me to topple over. However, I was basically working on instinct (as mentioned previously), which said "If I'm in trouble, I want to deal with it on my feet."

I made a conscious effort to take a slow, deep, breath, and I got a bit of air that way; less than I normally would, but enough to reassure me that I wasn't in imminent danger of death, so that calmed me down. After a bit more coughing, my breathing settled down to normal.

The top of my mouth and my nose felt a bit raw; particularly for the nose, that's what it feels like if I get water up there when I'm swimming. Meanwhile, my mouth tasted as if I'd thrown up, although there's no sign of vomit anywhere on the bed. There's a phrase I've heard on the internet a few times: "I just threw up in my mouth a little bit." That's normally hyperbole (I assume), but I have had a few cases where I've belched and it tastes a little like vomit. So, my guess is that I started to be sick, then swallowed it again, and blocked my airway in the process. Ah well, it worked out ok in the end.

Comments:

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From:elvum
Date:August 8th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
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CUUUUUUUT!
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From:johnckirk
Date:August 8th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
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Done - sorry if I upset anyone.
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From:rileen
Date:August 8th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Wow - that would be a weird way to choke, esp. if it got serious and nobody had a clue.
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From:johnckirk
Date:August 8th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that's partly why I posted this; since I live alone, I can't really expect the hamsters to do CPR, so if it happens again then at least there's some form of medical history. (If my last words were talking about reusing plastic bags, I'm not sure whether that would be depressing or inspiring.)

Doing a bit of digging on the web, a couple of terms which crop up are sleep apnea and acid reflux. When I went on the ski holiday in February, mrpj_antarctica mentioned that I snore at night, which surprised me; given that I used to sleep in a dormitory at school, I'm sure that someone would have complained about it if I'd snored back then. I'm guessing that the snoring/choking are both happening now because I'm a bit fatter than I used to be, but I could be wrong about that.
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From:rileen
Date:August 8th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
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I too was surprised when I was told by a friend a few years ago that I snored, and reached the same conclusion, that it's likely due to the extra weight.

Well, we could be wrong, but getting back to a healthy weight can't hurt :-)
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From:ext_5743
Date:August 8th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
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I've suffered from occasional acid reflux, but never bad enough to actually choke me. But your description of the symptoms is spot on.
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