Yes, you can choke on coffee!

We had just moved into a little farmhouse about six kilometres from Maleny and had been there about two weeks. The farmhouse had been owned by an elderly couple who had let the pot plants grow through all their pots and the front yard had become a jungle between the house and the street, so much so that you could not see the house from the street. We had purchased 100 acres of land and figured we were going to enjoy living with the beautiful scenery and lovely rolling hills.

It was early one evening that my husband had made himself a cup of coffee and he walked over to the table to sit down, taking his first gulp. It must have been a big gulp because next minute he was racing over to the sink appearing to choke on his mouthful. He took another sip while at the sink thinking it would help.  Suddenly he collapsed backwards on the hard floor and was gasping for air. 

Now my husband is a really big man and falling down so hard was not going to do much for his health at his age. I raced over to him and could see he was having trouble getting his breath and was going blue. I rolled him on his side and tried to clear his airway with my finger. He ended up vomiting up a little but was still gasping for breath making a horrific noise.

Now I am not very good in emergency and my first instinct was to ask him if he wanted me to call an ambulance. It was probably not the right thing  to ask him as he was busy, but I got little response to my question so I ended up making the decision to call the ambulance.Don’t know why I was so hesitant to call an ambulance, but in this case it was the right decision. They told me to make him comfortable and turn on a light out the front of the house so the ambulance could see us.  

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I started to panic, grabbing a pillow and placing it (he will tell you I threw it) under his head. I turned on the outside light and raced outside realising that any light would not be visible to the street. As we lived 6km from the nearest town and a long way from Nambour Hospital, I thought it would be ages before they would come. I ran back inside and started to look for my Medicare and MBF card…I think I even asked him where it might be. I really don’t know why… he was so very busy going blue and still making horrible noises. 

It was really only about four minutes and I could hear the ambulance siren. I raced out to the gate and flagged them down. Stephen was still on the floor gasping when we got inside and the ambulance driver asked what had happened. My husband had come down so hard on the concrete base floor that he broke his tail bone and it had thrown his head back. Consequently he had hurt his jaw and taken some skin off the top of his head. It actually looked as though I had hit him over the head with something. 10 minutes later we had another ambulance from Beerwah with two ambulance drivers.

The three ambulance drivers worked on my husband for 45 minutes and then took him off to hospital. It was only then that I was told there was a small hospital in Maleny and that was where they were going. I followed the ambulance into town and my husband was admitted so he could see the doctor. 

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Thank heavens they found fluid in his lungs…I was really worried they might have thought I had hit him. I had been getting some really strange looks up until that discovery. The doctor said that when people fall backwards so badly they can even break their jaw. My husband stayed in hospital overnight and was alright to return home the next day. So it just goes to show you can choke on coffee….thank you Queensland Ambulance. The jungle at the front of the house was cleared the very next week so the house could be found from the street.

Tell us, have you had to save a life or assist in an emergency before? 

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