I promise not to be one of those people who relive a trauma over and over, milking it for every last drop of sympathy. However, since my near-death experience with chili and crackers, I feel it important to pass on to you all the importance of doing the Heimlich right. See, the poor kid who was standing at the cash register had no clue of what he was doing when he was yanking me about like Bob did to Leo in the great film "What about Bob" and neither did I.
After talking to my friend, Carey, and after reading an email from another friend, Susan, I found out that many times you can do the Heimlich on yourself and dislodge the chunk of chili or hot dog or whatever, without causing a dramatic scene rivaling the funniest moments in film history. Come to find out, the kid who saved my life simply got off a lucky squeeze in all that commotion. (Providential, not lucky.) Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for it, and it was no laughing matter at the time, but if it weren't for the good Lord shifting the kids fist ever-so-slightly down, I'd be playing ping pong with my Grandpa behind the pearly gates instead of typing this here blog in my new apartment.
So here's the deal on Heimlich. It's easy. No heavy lifting involved. Meaning, a young, skinny teenager could do the Heimlich on a large buxom truck driver if he had to. The small son to father metaphor works as well.
Step one: Place yourself behind the Choking victim.
Step two: Place your arms around the victim's waist.
Step three: Make a fist with one hand and place your thumb toward the victim, just above his or her belly button.
Step four: Grab your fist with your other hand.
Step five: Deliver five upward squeeze-thrusts into the abdomen. Make each squeeze-thrust strong enough to dislodge a foreign body. Understand that your thrusts make the diaphragm move air out of the victim's lungs, creating a kind of artificial cough. Keep a firm grip on the victim, since he or she can lose consciousness and fall to the ground if the Heimlich maneuver is not effective. Repeat the Heimlich maneuver until the foreign body is expelled.