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The Day I Almost Died
A Thumbnail of Dr. Mona Minkara's image Mona Minkara - February 18, 2016
A picture of three silica gel packets with some silica beads next to them on a carpet floor

For a brief time in my life, I was living by myself. During this time, I would always start my day alone, with a hearty breakfast. I used to have a routine, too. I would eat my breakfast and then take my daily vitamins, sure as clockwork. This day, though— a sunny, unassuming Florida day— was the day it all went wrong.

Today, like each other, I set aside my english muffins and cream cheese and walked over to the cabinet. I needed a cup of water to wash down my daily multivitamin. I went over to medicine cabinet and pulled out the bottle, noting that it was nearly empty; there was only one pill left. I made sure to make a mental note to buy some more next time I went to the store. This would do for today, though! Without a second glance, I threw back my head with an unrivaled gusto, and swallowed the last of the bottle’s contents.

And then I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t a pill I had swallowed; it was the desiccant! That’s the thing that keeps the pills dry. This particular desiccant was in a cylindrical capsule that was— and I’m just going to estimate here— about the size of my trachea. So, I stood there, breathless, not knowing what to do. I couldn’t take a single breath or even cough! I was starting to feel faint and I began to panic. But not before my memory took me back to a class where I learned the Heimlich maneuver. I had learned how to perform it on others, and they had told me that I could even perform it on myself!

With my entire strength, I rammed my body into the counter, praying that this would work. It didn’t, and I still felt the desiccant suck in my windpipe. I remember thinking if I don’t get a breath soon I’m going to pass out and nobody will notice in time it’s going to take DAYS to find my body!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHH!!! With that thought, I aggressively slammed myself into the counter. The capsule dislodged from my trachea and flew across the kitchen, leaving me to with my life and only a few damaged vocal cords.

That was certainly a Banana Day.