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I Inhaled. It Wasn’t Pretty.


This year, I had big plans to attend the Fancy Food Show and Cheesemonger Invitational. I was going to make great food discoveries and live tweet the Invitational for culture! Except, it didn’t happen. Thanks to the gentle prodding of Lassa Skinner (of  culture magazine), I’m now sharing with you why.

I choked on a piece of bread crust. Well, I guess it is more like “aspirated a foreign object.” On the Wednesday evening before the CMI, during a mini meal of sourdough bread and Gruyère, I felt a flake of bread crust break off and start to travel down my airway. It wasn’t disruptive enough to get me coughing immediately. I tried to dislodge it by drinking a lot of water, but it never went away. A few hours later, it felt like it had moved further down. I started coughing to see if I could reverse the malicious bread’s descent. The coughing continued into the night. The next morning, I ran errands on foot and tried to practice some singing, but found myself increasingly short of breath. By Thursday night, I knew I had to see a doctor.

M. Cheesemonger took a sick day on Friday to shuttle me to the nearest Urgent Care office first thing in the morning. The doctor there heard my story, and could see I was having some trouble at this point! I was short of breath, still coughing, but had also developed a fever. My voice was reduced to a croak. No fun! We were sent to the a pulmonologist at midday, who recommended a bronchoscopy that day to see what could be bothering me, and to clean out my bronchial tubes and whatnot.

We set the bronchoscopy for late that afternoon, it was all I could do to drop into bed when we returned home. Then came the chills and fever. Really, piece of bread? Why did you do this? By the time we returned to the hospital, I didn’t care that the doctor was going to have to stick a tube down my trachea. I just wanted to feel better! This was getting ridiculous. Seriously, Offending Bread Crust was cramping my style.

Happily, the bronchoscopy went well. I don’t remember much of it. As soon as I woke up, though, I noticed my voice had noticeably improved, as had the irritation in my chest. M. Cheesemonger, who was starving by this time, took me home at around 11pm.

Although my airways were now clear, the infection lingered for a full week, confining me to my bed the whole time. I’ve completely recovered now, though, and have reincorporated cheese and bread into my diet.

All that to warn all you food lovers to be careful! Make sure you always have water handy when dining! Chew thoroughly, especially when eating old bread.

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of französisches Landwirtschaftsministerium via Compfight

Veronique Kherian

Veronique is based in San Francisco, where she actively involved with the California Artisan Cheese Guild and her blog, Miss Cheesemonger. she began her cheese blog in September 2009, when she started working in a Southern California cheese shop as a cheesemonger. That gig lasted one glorious year, but the blog continues at www.misscheesemonger.com. She is in the process of switching careers to work full time in cheese and specialty foods, ideally in import/export work! If you are social media-inclined, she's on Twitter at @msscheesemonger and on the Facebook page Miss Cheesemonger.

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