Andrea's column: All choked upA friend and I had a discussion recently about not-so-pleasant tests required by doctors. I confessed to putting off one since May. One requiring me to eat 100 grams of fat a day for three days.
By: Andrea Langworthy, Rosemount Town Pages
A friend and I had a discussion recently about not-so-pleasant tests required by doctors. I confessed to putting off one since May. One requiring me to eat 100 grams of fat a day for three days.
It hadn’t seemed like a big deal at first but after looking at the list the gastroenterologist gave me, I realized many foods I thought would have a high content didn't. Some that do, like butter, I don’t eat.
After settling on a few that would fulfill my quota, I told my friend that if I ever stop procrastinating about the test, all I had to do was eat a cup of salmon, two tablespoons of olive oil and sunflower nuts all three days.
My friend questioned the nuts being on my list until I told her three-and-a-half ounces have over 47 grams of fat. Truthfully, though, I was surprised to be considering them, too.
I have had a fear of anything sunflower-related since the summer evening my parents went out and left my younger siblings and me with a babysitter, an older woman who adhered to their rules that we couldn’t go outside or have anyone over to play.
It didn’t matter. Earlier that day, my friend and I had walked to the store and bought sunflower seeds. They would keep me company. To prove it, when I got home from my friend’s house, I took the bag from my pocket, stuffed a few in my mouth and sucked on them until the shells could be cracked with my teeth and I could spit them into my hand and savor the meat.
I had learned the procedure from some older kids. My mom and dad thought it was a filthy habit akin to cracking gum or blowing Bazooka bubbles that exploded across my face. That night, though, my parents would be gone.
The next thing I remember about the evening is that I woke up and couldn’t talk. Something was caught in my throat. I went downstairs and pantomimed my situation to the sitter. She called the number my parents had left and told them to come right home.
Then she made a tiny ball with soft white bread and told me to swallow it in the hope that it would dislodge what was stuck. What I knew to be a piece of a sunflower shell.
When Mom and Dad rushed into the house, I expected them to yell at me. Instead, they put me between them in the front seat of the car. Dad sped towards downtown and more than once went through an intersection on a red light. I heard him say, “Where’s a policeman when you really need one?”
At the hospital, I listened while the doctor talked with my parents about the X-ray I’d had. An unfamiliar word — tracheotomy — got my attention and I made little whimpering sounds to let them know I needed an explanation. Once it was given, I got scared and started crying. That led to choking and coughing and, luck being what it is, that tiny shard broke free and I spit it into my hand.
The doctor sent us home and my parents made me promise to give up “that filthy habit.” A promise I have kept until now. What do you think? If they’re already out of the shell, should I take a chance on the nuts for the sake of the test? Or eat a slippery, soft, stick of butter instead?