Manifest and chill

The One Where I Almost Kill Myself Twice in Five Minutes

So, you remember the time I fell off my bike twice in thirty seconds and you all thought that surely that was the lowest I would go in terms of complete and utter stupidity? Well, I have beaten my personal best, folks. In fact, I will see your “falling off a bike twice in thirty seconds” and I will raise you an “almost killing myself twice in five minutes”. For that, people, is what I did yesterday, during a normal Saturday evening meal at my parents’ house.

Picture the scene: there we all are around the table – me, my parents, Terry, Rubin (Rubin not so much round the table as salivating under it, you understand). I have in front of me a large plate of roast beef and man, am I hungry. Hungry and, yes, greedy. Too greedy by far, in fact, because as I force an enormous piece of food into my mouth, and chew not enough times before swallowing, I realise, that, whoops, can’t breathe no more, uh-uh!

Of course, what any intelligent person would probably have done at this point would have been to simply stick their head between their knees, give a polite cough, and then return to the meal. Not me, though! Instead, I rose from the table, purple in the face, and began frantically pantomiming, “HEY! I AM CHOKING TO DEATH! SAVE ME!”

Luckily my reputation for regularly placing myself in mortal danger whilst carrying out the simplest of tasks precedes me, so all three members of my family realised instantly that whoops! I’d done it again! All hell broke loose as they started shouting instructions to BEND OVER! and DON’T PANIC! at me. I, of course, chose to do both, bending over and panicking simultaneously as I waited to, well, die. Just as my dad prepared to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre, though, and the thought that, “Bugger, I’m going to throw up right next to the dining table,” flashed through my head, the hunk o’ meat slid swiftly out of my throat, thus proving that no, it really wasn’t stuck that badly in the first place, and that, once again, I had managed to make a drama out of a crisis.

All joking aside, I got a pretty bad fright, and probably gave my mum a few extra grey hairs into the bargain. Sorry, mum. They say your life flashes before your eyes in these situations, though, but your intrepid reporter is here to tell you that no, actually, it does not. In fact, the only scene from my life to flash in front of my eyes was that of a depressing Blackpool hotel room, circa 1989, when my little cousin Blair almost choked to death on a Murray Mint and my dad had to hold him upside down by the ankles while my uncle slammed him on the back. “God, I wonder if my dad’s going to do that to me?!” I somehow had time to wonder, with what would have been my dying breath. Other than that, the overwhelming thought going through my feeble mind was, “OMFG I COULD TOTALLY DIE HERE!” Seriously, it was not nice.

My brush with death was not yet over, though. As I took my place, shamefacedly at the table, and conversation resumed, I pushed the roast beef aside (DANGER! DANGER! THE COW WILL BE REVENGED!) and reached instead for a harmless bread roll, my mind still replaying the scenes of horror that had so recently transpired. So transfixed by this horror was I, however, that as I took the bread knife and sawed viciously through my roll, I went a little bit far and – yes – sawed into my own hand. GOD.

To be honest, there was probably little to no chance of this one killing me, but you know what? It totally could have. I could have bled to death, or contracted blood poisoning or something. I mean, OK, a sticking plaster managed to stem the flow, but even so, I am claiming this one as my second near death experience in under five minutes. GO, me!

I managed to get through the rest of the meal unscathed, although not without thinking a good many tedious,cliched thoughts about how you just never know what’s coming, and how each breath could be your last. It was a life-changing moment. For instance, I think I will become a vegetarian now, and live only on a liquid diet (wine and vodka will be fine), in order to avoid dangerous kitchen implements. Probably safest to stay away from the car and lawnmower for a while too, because if it’s true that these things always come in threes, I still have one brush with death coming. What fun.

Needless to say, should there be no further entries after this one, it’s probably safe to assume that some bizarre accident, of the type that Could Only Happen To Me, has befallen me…

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

books by Amber Eve
  • Oh Amber, I;m sorry, but that is just the funniest thing I've read in a long time!!!

    Glad to hear you got to the end of the meal, still, well alive. Which is always a positive thing,obviously.

    On a more serious note: choking is very frightening, hate when something goes down the wrong way 🙁 So totally sympathise with the roast beef incident.

    October 8, 2006
  • It was indeed very frightening, but you know what was the scariest thing about it? When I sat back down, post-choking, and Terry said to me, "Well, at least you'll be able to blog about it…" GOD.

    October 9, 2006
  • Amber, I'm sat here in full 'snort out loud with laughter' mode at what Terry said.

    Seems our OH's have a different view of our blogging, eh? The other night, Si said, after I'd been talking about blogging (again), you're like "oooh ooh, something's happened in my life, must.Blog.About.It". I just rolled my eyes and gave him a withering look 😉 😀

    October 9, 2006
  • Sarah Gill


    Hey amber, im Sarah,19.That was a truly funny but scary story. Ive gotta tell you that i had a very similar experience..but worse..just 2 wks ago. i was having dinner with my mum and b/f. we were having steak, and as i always do..i was wolfing it down without properly chewing, and in particular, i cut of a huge piece and to this day i dont know why, but i chewed it about 4 times and swallowed, needles to say, it got stuck right in the back of my throat. what followed was about 2 mins of pure chaos, as my mum and b/f tried frantically to help me. i was gagging like hell at first, then i started coughing and making rasping noises. i could go on, but it turned out that i eventually went purple/blue and my mum was ramming her fingers down my throat to try and dislodge the steak.after loads of time givin me the heimlich, this hunk of beef just shot out of my mouth. it was really scary and know how u feel hun. choking has happened to my mum and b/f also. my mum once when she somehow managed to get 2 paracetamol tablets stuck together in her throat! dont ask how! and my b/f on a raw carrot. SCARY IS CHOKING.

    December 1, 2006
  • God, Sarah, that sounds horrific! I didn't quite reach the "turning blue" stage, but it was still pretty scary – I couldn't get it out of my head for hours afterwards…

    December 4, 2006
  • Sarah Gill


    it was horrific amber. i know what you mean when you say you couldnt get it out of your head…i still think about it, it was just so awful to experience. the feeling of this chunk of steak being trapped in my throat was horrible. also seeing my boyfriend choking to death on that raw carrot was horrific..his lips had turned blue. although this has happened…i still seem to eat fast..its just the way i am..and my b/f too.

    December 6, 2006
  • James


    I know this is like 2 years old but yesterday I choked on roast beef! I realised it was too big a piece when I started to swallow so I immediately tried to regurgitate it but then it was stuck. I was on my own though!
    I didn't know anything about bending down and I stupidly tried to give myself the Heimlich manoevre. I seriously did start thinking I was going to die, I started thinking there was so much more I wanted to do and if it was cut short now it my last few years of working hard in college and working all summer on my thesis would have been a complete waste of time when I could have been enjoying myself.

    Then I tried swallowing it (if you look back you'll notice I never gave it a chance) and it went straight down!

    July 15, 2008