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LIFE IS SWEET AS A BOWL OF CHERRIES – UNTIL YOU SWALLOW A PIT!

By ELIZABETH

I was having a super productive Saturday, as my fingers danced across the keyboard.  I was snacking on sweet summer cherries from a pretty crystal bowl that was my grandmother’s.  They were so delicious!

I swallowed a few pits, but have always done that, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until I felt like one was stuck in my throat.

I was home alone, and worried that it could choke me, or dislodge and slide into my lungs.

I drank water.

Did downward dog yoga pose.

Coughed.

Massaged my throat.

The sensation remained.

So I drove to the neighborhood urgent care, hoping a doctor could stick some giant tongs down my throat, pluck it out, and send me on my merry way back to my computer.

“We can’t do anything for you here,” the nurse said.  “You should go to the ER.”

“I feel dizzy,” I said.

“Then I can’t let you leave,” she said, returning quickly to check my vitals.  My blood oxygen was an excellent 99%.  “I can’t let you drive if you’re dizzy.  You need to call someone to pick you up.”

I called my mother, who was out shopping but agreed to pick me up.

I felt silly.  But one of my former professors choked to death years ago in her kitchen while her husband was in the other room watching TV.

Having something stuck in your throat is nothing to play with. 

So while I waited, Nurse Sandra and I had a great talk about gluten allergies.  She told me about a great local restaurant that delivers fresh salads.  She also told me about a new kickboxing gym in the neighborhood.

My mother came and took me to the nearby hospital ER, which was buzzing with people who were vomiting, coughing, and bleeding. 

As the nurse took my vitals, we made all kinds of jokes about why I swallowed a cherry pit in the first place, and how we were suddenly in the ER on a summer Saturday afternoon instead of her shopping and me writing and working out.

All the while, the discomfort began to subside.  The ER nurse, like Sandra at urgent care, said the pit could have scratched my throat, causing the sensation of a phantom pit.

“We have no beds, and there are six people ahead of you,” the nurse said, admitting that it could be hours before I was seen by a doctor.

So I decided to go home.

Here I am, back at the keyboard, remembering that song, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries, written during the Great Depression in 1931 by Lew Brown and Buddy De Sylva, with music by Ray Henderson.  It’s been performed by the likes of Judy Garland.

“Life is just a bowl of cherries,” the song says, “So live and laugh at it all.”

We laughed really hard throughout this two-hour drama.

I’m totally fine now.

Life is as sweet as a bowl of juicy, plump cherries.

But in a split second, you can swallow a pit, and fear you’re suddenly in an emergency.

The lesson?  Savor the sweetness, but don’t swallow the pit!

©2017 Elizabeth Ann Atkins