01 May 2013

Argh! Fish bone stuck in my throat

We've heard and probably seen on some TV show how someone suddenly chokes on a fish bone.

It happened to me just last night, while having dinner with my son at home.

We had home-cooked bak kut teh, and ikan assam pedas with ladies fingers and roselle leaves from my garden.

I felt the discomfort of something lodged in my throat after I had finished my sour and spicy ikan kembung (mackerel). I thought nothing of it and continued eating. But something was certainly stuck in my throat.

So, going by conventional wisdom, I swallowed large mouthfuls of rice, hoping to push the piece of fish bone down together with the rice and water. It didn't work.

My maid then asked me to eat banana. I tried that and it didn't work either.

I was starting to get visions of me at the doctor's clinic with the doctor extracting the fish bone with forceps! Nope, I didn't want that scenario. So I tried to induce some vomiting. Eeeww! I really hate to vomit but I had to try. I coughed violently and stuck my finger down the back of my tongue.

Vomit I did, but the fish bone remained stubbornly stuck. I was sweating by now and my son looked extremely worried. He then dashed upstairs, remembering something.

When he came downstairs again, he said," Mommy, drink vinegar!" while waving a book in my face.

Huh? My maid and I looked at each other, amused and cynical at the same time. But I went along with my son's suggestion.

First, my maid brought out a bottle of Vinigen honey vinegar. I said that's not strong enough. I asked her to get the bottle of apple cider vinegar. I mixed 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar with a touch of water, and drank several mouthfuls slowly. Then I ate a bit more rice. The fish bone moved! Then I drank the remainder of the vinegar and I could not feel it anymore!

So drinking some vinegar actually worked! This morning I did a search for other fish bone advice. There was one by a a doctor (who advised NOT to cough and gag - oops!) and another really brave soul who used scissors to get the fish bone out.

I thanked my son and asked what book it was that he fetched. It was something I had bought him sometime back - Top Survival Tips by Asiapac Books, Singapore.

So the next time you encounter a fish bone stuck in your throat, try drinking some vinegar (I would dilute with a little water) to soften the fish bone. Good luck!  
(image from ehow.com)


  1. Greetings;
    1) Good job to your son! Well-done!
    2) I thought mackerel is tenggiri.

    Do you have any plumbers number with you? Intending of fixing a water pump in my house.
    Needs some quotes

  2. Hi Huba-Huba

    Ya u're rite, seems mackerel is tenggiri. But for kembung I get all sorts of translations: Spanish Mackerel, Atlantic Mackerel. So....some sort of mackerel la!

    I will put up some of the contact numbers I still kept in my mobile.