I'm still not exactly sure when or how it started, but I couldn't swallow and could barely breathe since just after tea, so probably something got stuck in transit there, and maybe not even in transit on the right route. Was something jammed in there, or was it just swollen shut? No idea, better have a dekko. So I'm carefully feeling the base of my neck from the outside, looking for the blockage. Yep, definitely a constriction there. Standard plumbers' procedure would be to grab a plunger. Righto, let's try slamming some more food down there. Uh, can't swallow. Ok, this really isn't working, and we're not even sure which pipe's got the issue. Where's traceroute when you need it?

I could only fill my lungs to roughly 25%, even with manually operating the diaphragm, and even that much was very painful. I could make out a visible bulge now, and the Adam's apple wasn't moving either, obviously being restricted. It was beginning to look like the airway now, rather than the digestive tract. Certainly no use trying to shove the object further in, 'cos it can't get out anywhere. I tried to get it back out the way it went in by hanging upside-down and sending a series of convulsions down the pipe. Negative.

Well, not much more to do for the time being, it wasn't getting any worse. Relaxing all the muscles during sleep should help, one thing to try first though. Actually, Coke would've been heaps useful here, but I didn't have any. So I used the next best thing, half a litre of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and some soda water. I drank it slowly at first, building up to chugging, letting the acid effervesce over where the obstruction might be. It helped, somewhat, but there was definitely still a major problem. I slept on it, and waited to see what it was like in the morning. Eight hours later, and things were much improved. Lungs were up to 60% usable capacity, and the pain may or may not have subsided, but it was less noticeable now than last night.



Friday night turned to Saturday morning, the bug had been open for over twenty-four hours. It had been moved from Critical to Annoyance. The room lights had been turned out, and LAN'ers were beginning to retire to sleep. I was just beginning to consider doing the same myself when he did it. Actually, he didn't really do it, he just started it. He had been sitting there beside me, K, playing something or other. It involved flying road trains, whatever it was K was playing, and I hadn't really been paying much attention to his screen except for when I had commented earlier to him how dodgy the physics engine was. "Hey, Scout, check this out." I looked up from the coding I had been doing on my own machine to see what he wanted.

Certain Nvidia graphics cards ship with this demo program to show off how well they can render vector-based physics and whatnot. The demo involves the user getting a guy in a rocket sled from A to B as fast as possible without killing the pilot or destroying the sled, given that the track runs out at a canyon just past point B. I began laughing as I realised just how well everything in this program was done. The little dude's facial expression changes, and he looks like he's about to vomit as the sled reaches maximum speed. Jeremy watched on from just the other side of K. "Oh, here. Did you know you could do this too?" He reached across and pressed something on K's keyboard. Wait, what? Rubber chickens? I was laughing harder now, and it hurt my throat and lungs, but I couldn't stop laughing. K soon grew tired of trying to drive the sled, and turned his keyboard over to Jeremy. Jeremy chortled as he tested every possible configuration of the sled, knocking various pieces off and experimenting with every part of the program but its original objective.

It was well past 3am now, and I'd choked and seen more rubber chickens than I could keep track of. My lungs gasped for air. Suddenly I realised that I could breathe properly again. He'd done it. The side-splitting strain of over an hour of constant laughter had shifted the obstruction to my airway, and there has been no problem since. Just goes to show, laughter is the best medicine sometimes.

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