September 27, 2005

Not so Crazy for Cocoa Puffs

This home has been rendered Cocoa Puff free. Why? I’ll tell you why? Because I may very well end up with ‘Death by Cocoa Puff’ on my tombstone. I can hear my kids now, motherless, telling their friends, “My Mom was killed by a Cocoa Puff.”

Sit back folks. You’ll love this one.

The kids came home from school yesterday and were their typical ravenous selves. They wanted cereal for their after school snack and that being the path of least resistance, I said yes. Let’s face it. After a long day, I’m not too psyched about cooking up a dozen eggs and the what not at 3PM, only to turn around and cook a full meal for dinner.

Cocoa Puffs was the cereal of choice, so I poured the younger two each a bowl. Now, I’m not big on kids’ cereal. I eat some low calorie no fat cereal that is made of recycled cardboard with a fiber mixed in for taste. I prefer to waste my calories in other ways than kids’ cereals, but it looked good, being chocolate cereal… so I took a bite.

And that was my first mistake because… I inhaled a partially chewed Cocoa Puff. Yes. I felt it slide down my wind pipe and as it did I thought, “Hunh. This cannot be good.”

You can read the rest in the extended entry because this is long and only gets crazier.

I remember thinking, ‘My lungs… they are a closed system. How is it going to get out of there?” Then somehow I convinced myself not to sweat it, that it would take care of itself.

Fast forward to 4:30 AM when I awaken with this terrible chest pain… in the same exact location that I felt that damn Cocoa Puff come to rest. I got up, got a glass of water, and started to think. “Hmm. This is not good. I did breath that thing in. Will it break down? Will they have to go down my throat and get it out? Will someone have to shake me upside down and make me cough?”

Oh, for that last one, there is a story. See, we know this dentist very well. Very close family friend. It seems that one Thursday, he was putting in a porcelain crown when the patient flicked it with the tooth, and swallowed it. Dentist, assistant, patient, were horrified, as they got the patient sitting up. He swore he was fine and laughed it off. I’m telling you, that dentist was horrified. When he told me this story, he broke into a cold sweat again telling it. Anyway, he told the guy he’d take impressions and remake the crown.

The following Monday, the patient came back in with the crown in his hand. It seems he had been in pain during the weekend and went to the ER. They did a chest XRay and found his crown! So they had him upside down and made him cough and out it came. Intact. They caught it. So the dentist sterilized it and put it in that day.

So this is running through my mind by 5AM. Hanging upside down like a bat and coughing to dislodge a damn piece of children’s cereal. Lovely.

At 8:00 I call my internist's office. Do you know how stupid it sounds to say, “I think I need to be seen. I inhaled a Cocoa Puff.”? They got me in for 8:30.

The nurse practitioner came in… and she seemed to not believe me. She said, “I KNOW you think you inhaled this Cocoa Puff, but our bodies are made to resist things going into the air passages. You didn’t cough or gag or anything exhibited with something going into an airway, so although I won’t say it’s IMPOSSIBLE, you probably just swallowed it the wrong way.”

I told her the swallowed crown story. She couldn’t believe it. I swore to it. Even told her the dentist’s name and how I heard this story FIRST hand, it was not a 4th generation story.

Still, she felt certain I had merely swallowed wrong, but went to check with the doctor just in case, who informed her that said Cocoa Puff would not show up on any XRays and I probably really did just swallow it. Love that.

So we went through the whole thing of worst case scenarios and she was still a skeptic and I’m thinking to myself, “I’m a 40 year old woman. I know the difference between inhaling and swallowing.”

And I thought it was over… until… she said… “And… you have an intact gag reflex, right?”

I said, “Well, no. I don’t. I don’t have a gag reflex.”

Her face… she just looked at me blankly and I could see the wheels turning. So I added, “Watch” and I shoved my fingers down my throat. (I have obviously never suffered from Bulimia.)

She said, “You don’t have a gag reflex?” and she took a tongue depressor and started pushing at the sides of my throat. I sat there with my mouth open, staring at her, not even flinching.

Finally she said, ‘You have no gag reflex” to which I replied, “Yeah, that’s not something I advertise to my male friends much.” (Heh. I only BLOG IT!)

She laughed, but obviously that little piece of information changed things. Without this gag reflex, my body would not necessarily naturally fight off an airpassage intrusion.

We then went into the long term effects of the fact I did probably inhale this cereal. It is a fact in my mind now and I do believe hers. I could cough it up. Maybe. It could break up and slowly get coughed up. Maybe. I could run a fever and get pneumonia. Maybe.

Nothing firm. I like black and whites. Tell me what’s going to happen.

I told her I wasn’t going to stress over it… that I was sure old people in nursing homes everywhere aspirated food and lived. And I know toddlers did too… and lived. So I wasn’t going to obsess. I’m not.

But she gave me the name of a pulmonologist to see at my discretion, that they could do a bronchoscope.

I can just hear myself now, “I need to schedule a bronchoscope. Why? Oh, I inhaled a Cocoa Puff. That’s right. I inhaled a piece of childrens’ cereal.” Lovely.

And where I am more in the wait and see mode… lets just see what happens… and I am feeling compelled to go hang upside down on my kids’ jungle gym outside and cough… my husband is of the mindset that I need to go get scoped.

Yeah, that’s easy for him to say. He’s not the guy they’re going to put a scope down the windpipe.

Oh and when I was telling VW about this she said, “Oh, that’ll make your throat sore.” I said, “My throat? That is the least of my problems. I’m afraid I’ll have a damn anxiety attack as they try to snake this thing down my throat!” She replied, “Yeah, you’ll need to meditate.”

VW is excellent when it comes to meditation. She's got that whole thing down pat. Not me. I’m thinking I need drugs is what I’ll need. Good drugs.

All this for a damn Cocoa Puff. Can you frickin’ believe it?

And I LOOOVE the fact that this I am probably now known in my doctor's office as 'The Cocoa Puff Patient'. Great.

Posted by Boudicca at September 27, 2005 08:20 PM | TrackBack


Only you. ONLY you!

Posted by: Tammi at September 27, 2005 08:44 PM

I'm with Tammi!!

Just wait until that stupid cocoa puffs commercials comes on TV 20 times a day....that bird will be mocking you!

Posted by: Sissy at September 27, 2005 09:02 PM

If you thought you were popular before?....You just wait till the guys get wind of this.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at September 27, 2005 09:22 PM

Dh wants to know where to find someone like you. J/K. I hope you okay. But I'm still trying to think of anyone I actually know that this would happen to. So how do you inhale a Cocoa Puff, just a need of oxygen, and food at the same time is a devil huh?

Posted by: Emily at September 27, 2005 10:35 PM

Now I feel badly for having linked to you when I posted this:


At least this isn't a 10/04/98 (email privately for that story, Bou) aspiration. There's that.

Posted by: David at September 28, 2005 12:08 AM

OH my. What are the chances? Poor Bou, you've got the worst luck.

(I do like Cocoa Puffs though, but Count Chocula was better IMHO.)

Posted by: songstress7 at September 28, 2005 01:05 AM

Don't sweat over it. About a year ago Clone asperated a Cheerio. (Long drawn out story) What one of the leading pulmonologists in the country told us before he scoped it was, "When I go in, I may not find anything, I may find something. However if it is cereal (we weren't sure at the time) it would have started absorbing the mucus in the lungs and start to break down making it almost impossible to retrieve" He found a cheerio, and removed what he could. Then he told us that if it wasn't for the fact it was an 18 month old child he wouldn't have gone in for cereal.

Posted by: Contagion at September 28, 2005 08:25 AM

My goodness! I'm glad I ate my cereal before reading this! I'm sure they hear it all at your doc's office -- I just hope you get squared away. Freakin cocoa puffs.

With the crown story, I thought you were going to say that it came out the other end! Hey, I recently paid $800 for a crown. I'd fish it out if I had to!

Can't wait to read the followups!! No more after-school snacks for you!!

Posted by: Marie at September 28, 2005 09:29 AM

Hang upside down, be batty, and cough it out. Otherwise, I am with him and think you need to get scoped. Thoughts are with you (all sorts as a matter of fact...)

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at September 28, 2005 11:11 AM

where is Harvey at? I thought he would have been here by now.......

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at September 28, 2005 02:20 PM

I think I'm in love. ;)

Posted by: Ogre at September 28, 2005 03:52 PM

See... before when this stuff happened to me, I could only laugh quietly to myself and think, "Sheesh. Does this craziness happen to anyone else?" Now I can blog on it. It feels oh so much better to share.

David- I will e-mail and that's too daggum funny.

Contagion- You have confirmed my suspicion that I do not need to be scoped. I mean, what could the half life of a cocoa puff really be?

Marie- The dentist wasn't going to charge him, so it was the dentist that was REALLY happy. He was going to eat the cost. Ironic since he thought his patient ate the crown.

Songstress- I'm switching the boys to Count Chocula!

LW- Believe it or not, I hung upside down off the edge of my bed and succeeded to break it up. Now I feel cocoa puff all up and down that windpipe. I'm hoping it gets absorbed soon. Everytime I feel a stitch I think, "Cocoa puff?"

Ogre- I have a special tip for you in tonight's post... ;-)

Posted by: Bou at September 28, 2005 09:33 PM


Unfortunately, I've never been Smilin' Bob enough to trigger a woman's gag reflex :-(

Posted by: Harvey at September 28, 2005 10:22 PM

No gag reflex? My wife has the mother of all gag reflexes.
I can sympathize. Spent the night in an ER when my wife inhaled a horse-pill. A constant tickle in your throat. Incessant coughing.

Worst ofall, it makes you feel stupid as hell.

Posted by: gamongrel at October 4, 2005 08:19 PM