When you ask people how they’d choose to die, you might get a chortling response that they might like to drown in lager. Well, never say that I’m not prepared to go through the mill for you, gentle reader, for on a recent visit to a restaurant in Leeds I did exactly that.
Halfway through my Chateaubriand (which thankfully I was only paying half price for, which is a good job because the normal price would have killed me of a heart attack long before I had the chance to drown in beer) a piece got wedged in my gullet. Taking a swig of my pint to try and dislodge it, I was alarmed to find that in fact the lager merely filled my oesaphagus, bubbling up my gullet until it reached my windpipe, whereupon I leapt up, gurgling and thrashing around, spraying lager over innocent diners in a mad panic in an effort to stop my lungs filling up with lager and basically dying before I’d had chance to eat my meal*. Eventually, I found myself looking wistfully back through the car window at the waiter cleaning my uneaten steak away as I was driven to the hospital
But this wasn’t the first time. 4 times in the past 18 months or so, I’ve found myself sat in the waiting room of Pinderfields A&E, twiddling my thumbs while drowning in my own saliva for 3 hours while waiting to see some kind of trained medical operative.
Naturally, friends leap forward to offer my such witty condolences as “do you want me to cut your food up for you?” and “can’t chew your food, eh? EH?” but it transpires that I actually have a bona fide medical condition.
I’ve always been prone to heartburn and thus assumed that this was part of the natural human condition – like respiration, sleep, reproduction and wanting to thrash Ed Miliband’s adenoids into weeping submission. Goodness but he’s got a dreary voice. He makes John Major sound Brian Blessed gargling anvils. Sorry, where was I? Oh – that’s it. Heartburn.
It transpires that all this heartburn is the result of too much stomach acid and has actually been burning the bottom end of my oesphagus – leaving scar tissue. Yikes! Thus, every so often, it fails to pass food through into my guts leading to the aforementioned near death experiences.
Joy of joys, I now face another endoscopy – wherein a team of people hold you down, thrashing and gagging on the table as they force a hosepipe down your gullet (the “local anaesthetic” they give you to stop you gagging has all the same pain deadening properties and medical effectiveness of a spoon of soup). If they decide that the damage is severe enough their “plan” is to put something rubber in there and inflate it to stretch everything back to some kind of normality.
I swear they make this shit up on the spot.
As well as that, I also face a daily regime of Lansaprazole which is, according to Wikipedia, a “proton pump inhibitor.” The side effects of that might include such delights as: ”
taste disturbance, liver dysfunction, peripheral oedema, hypersensitivity reactions (including bronchospasm, urinary, angioedema, anaphylaxis), photosensitivity, fever, sweating, depression, interstitial nephritis, blood disorders (including leukopenia, leukocytosis, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia), arthralgia, myalgia, skin reactions including (erythroderma Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, bullous eruption”
On second thoughts, maybe drowning in lager doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.
*The restaurant was the Blackhouse in Leeds, and I actually can’t recommend it enough – the waiter was superb about the whole thing, and actually bagged up my steak to take home, and sorted out fresh chips for my dad, who’s dinner had gone a bit cold as he hammered vainly on my back outside in the street. Top marks!