Very odd day today.
Cathy Seipp died, after a long struggle with an aggressive lung carcinoma. (She told us the actual histology in her blog, but I’ve forgotten now; it was one of the weird bad ones that just apparently comes from nowhere. She was not a smoker, as every obit seems required to note.)
It’s not like she was a great friend; I read her blog, but I doubt if I commented more than a couple of times. It’s more that it’s been obvious for quite a while that it was coming; she was only 49, almost three years younger than I am.
Then today I was at my desk, drinking coffee as I worked through the various emails and things I had to do today. I’m still suffering a little from the Flu That Ate Cincinnati; I coughed as I was slurping coffee, then aspirated. I started to cough, put up a hand as I did a spit take …
… and the next thing I knew, I was listening to a voice out of the dark saying “take it easy, just breathe….” I tried to inhale but my throat was spasming. One harsh wheeze, then the next was a little easier. I rolled onto my hands and knees — how did I get on the floor? — hung my head and the last of the coffee drained out of my throat. Then I was breathing again, and pretty quick I could see and everything.
(The two most peculiar things: I was completely calm. When I was trying to breathe unsuccessfully, I was thinking “I wonder if I should tell him to call 911?” And the earworm music that had been stuck in my head was still stuck in my head, even as I was coughing and choking.)
Tim Penick, who has the office across from me, had heard me choking and come out to see what was wrong; his was the voice I heard.
Within a couple of minutes, I was fine again, and back at work. Nothing to get excited about.