♥ My amazing husband saved my life… ♥ 

michelle dodds nick dodds choking incident covid-19

This is not a story I ever expected to be writing.

Today, I want to share a deeply personal experience with all of you, one that has profoundly impacted my perspective on life and the ongoing challenges we face with COVID-19.  As a bit of background for those who don't know me; I'm a relatively young 42-year-old of average-weight who frequents the gym and enjoys good health with no underlying medical issues.  I have been vaccinated against COVID-19, although not very recently. 
However, on Wednesday January 10th 2024, I had an incident that initially left both myself, my husband and the doctors puzzled.  In some ways, what happened to me appeared to be a seizure, and that's what we were initially told by the hospital; but something didn't add up.  After 3 weeks of anguish we finally managed to consult with a neurologist last week, and I received confirmation that it was, in fact, a choking incident caused by thick phlegm from a COVID-19 infection, and not a seizure.  Thankfully, this means we were just incredibly unlucky, and it's something that should never happen to me again, and that all being well the DVLA will allow me to continue driving.
I would like to share a bit more about the incident itself… I thought I "just" had a cold!  I had felt unwell all that week, but nothing too terrible and had continued to pack for the trade show I was due to attend that Friday in London.  I'd had quite a bad cough, and for the day before this happened, I had been trying not to cough too much as I'd pulled a muscle in my upper back doing so.  (We suspect that me not clearing my chest was partly to blame for this incident).  I was awoken at around 5:30am by my husband, Nick as I was making a gurgling/choking noise, and though my memory of this moment is hazy, I do remember it.  I propped myself up on my elbow, desperately gasping for breath.  In front of my husband, I suddenly flopped back onto the bed, my eyes open and staring, and a grey pallor washing over me.  I was not breathing and had no pulse.  If it wasn't for his quick thinking, instructing our 12-year-old son to ring 999, and beginning CPR and then the Heimlich manoeuvre, then sadly, we are certain I would no longer be here to tell the tale.  I owe my wonderful husband my life.  He did exactly what needed to be done, and as a result (despite some very sore ribs and back pain), I came out out this relatively unscathed.
I am so proud of Nick and our children.  They are only 7 and 12.  Our son rang the ambulance and let the paramedics into the house.  Our daughter remained calm despite what I can only imagine was one of the worst things a child can ever see.  This has been the worst month of our lives, but we are strong and we will get through this.
This experience has been a stark reminder of the dangers of COVID-19 that still loom around us. Like many others, I had become somewhat complacent about the virus, thinking it might no longer pose a significant threat.  I have had COVID-19 before, pre-vaccine actually, without many symptoms.  However, this incident served as a wake-up call, and I feel compelled to share a few important takeaways with you all.  Not all variants are the same, and having posted on social media, I have had a number of comments from people who have also experienced choking due to this terrible virus.
The Ongoing Threat of COVID-19:
COVID-19 is still very much present, and we must not underestimate its potential impact. Please continue to take precautions, follow health guidelines, and get vaccinated if you haven't already.  My experience is a stark reminder that the virus can have unexpected and severe consequences, even for someone young, fit, and healthy like myself.
Importance of Learning CPR and the Heimlich Manoeuvre:
My husband's quick thinking and knowledge of CPR and the Heimlich manoeuvre saved my life. I strongly urge you all to consider learning these life-saving techniques, as they could make a critical difference in an emergency situation.
As a resource, I'd like to direct you to the British Heart Foundation's website, where you can find a short course on CPR.  Taking this course could equip you with valuable skills that might one day make a crucial difference.  I haven't yet done the course, but will do so as soon as I feel back to full health, and I would also like to find an in-person course.  This incident has frightened me a lot.
I share this experience with you not for sympathy but to emphasise the importance of staying vigilant against COVID-19 and being prepared for unexpected emergencies.
Thank you for being a part of my little Bean and Bemble community, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need further information.
Please feel free to forward this email to friends and family to raise awareness.  I will upload this story to my blog soon too.  Dr Google may sometimes be problematic, but stories like this REALLY helped us in our quest for answers while we were waiting to see the specialist.
Stay safe and healthy.
Warm regards, Michelle xx


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Michelle Dodds