I have been eating a lot of fish lately which is fashionable nowadays considering its healthy benefits. As any fish lover would attest, however, it would be just a matter of time when the denizens of the ocean would get their revenge. I knew it right off the bat when a fishbone got stuck in my throat last week.
It wouldn’t be a big deal if I were in the Philippines. I could go to a suhi. A suhi is one who was born with his or her feet first. In other words, a breech baby. He or she has the power to dislodge an obstruction in the throat.
I know this for a fact. When I was growing up in the Philippines, fish was a main part of our diet. It should be expected that a fishbone would get stuck in my throat every now and then. When it happened in those days, all I’d do was run to my aunt’s house who was a suhi. She would mumble some incantations and then wet her fingers with her saliva and gently stroke the spot on my neck where the fishbone was stuck. Within a minute or two, I’d be relieved of the misery as if by magic.
But those days are long gone. My aunt is dead and the Philippines is 7,000 miles away.
As soon as I felt the tingling pain in my throat, I went on panic mode. I felt trapped like a fish caught by a hook in its mouth. I wanted to get rid of this sucker in any which way I could.
To some folks, it might appear as an overreaction on my part. If I let nature take its course, the laws of gravity would eventually cause the fishbone to fall off from its perch. And even if it didn’t, it was likely I’d survive and consider myself lucky compared to a guy with an inoperable bullet in his brain. It could even be fashionable in the future like a ring in your nose. But I digress.
First thing I did was go to the bathroom and tried to spit it out while massaging my neck. When that didn’t work, I forced myself to throw up in the sink. It was for naught. All it did was create a smelly mess that needed cleaning.
A friend suggested using a banana. But deepthroating it was not. The idea was to cut the banana into several pieces and swallow them one by one until the fishbone was enticed to hitch a ride. Unfortunately, it didn’t go according to the script. After two bananas, I gave up.
At this point, I wondered if it was a better part of wisdom to go to the emergency room and let a professional take care of it. But there was also a part of me thinking that I should hold off for a while and search the internet for answers.
After an hour of googling, I found many home remedies that I could try at my own risk. Some were variants of the banana trick that required swallowing something sticky like balled up rice or bread to ensnare the fishbone and drag it down into the stomach. Others involved drinking lots of coke, orange juice, olive oil, and even vinegar to soften the fishbone and wash it away. Another suggested using chopsticks to pry the fishbone out from its hiding place. Still another recommended begging a cat to gently stroke my throat with its paw.
In desperation, I tried a combination of these methods except the chopstick thing and using the services of a cat. On the third day, the fishbone miraculously and mysteriously disappeared from my throat. I don’t know which one had caused it to finally let go. Well, I suspect it was the balled up bread with Nutella. After all, who could resist the decadent allure of chocolate?