The 9-1-1 Salmon Incident of 2013

Always on the lookout for new dinner options, I subscribe to several recipe websites. Lately, all seem to feature salmon.

Now I have nothing against salmon. But salmon clearly has something against Hubs, which is why it is now banned from our home.

I refer to an incident that occurred several months ago — one that took about 10 years off of my life.

Hubs and I were eating a late dinner — salmon with a crusty dill topping  — asparagus and corn. One minute we were conversing and having a perfectly pleasant meal and the next … well, Hubs lurched forward, hit the floor on all fours and started wheezing.

At first, I thought he was choking. So I whacked him sharply on the back and prepared to attempt the Heimlich.

But after I hit him, he waved me away.

And then he continued to wheeze and gasp. The children, who were getting ready for bed at the time, rushed into the living room.

“What is Daddy doing?” the eldest asked.

“Dad, why are you on the floor?” the younger chimed in.

And then I helpfully added my input: “If you don’t stop that right now, I am calling 911!”

That’s right, folks. I actually thought I could threaten Hubs back into good health. Or at least an upright position.

In response, he merely wheezed.

So I called 911.

When the dispatcher answered, the conversation went something like this:

Me: “Uh. Yeah. I think my husband is having some sort of allergic reaction to the salmon we were eating for dinner —”

Dispatcher: “Is he choking?”

Me: “Umm… well, no, I don’t think so. He can talk and wave his arm…”

Hubs: “Hang” — gasp, wheeze — “up” – wheeze — “the phone.”

Me, cheerily: “Never mind!”


Hubs lurched to his feet and staggered off to the bathroom, where he continued to wheeze while I forced Benedryl and a glass of water down him.

The Benedryl, of course, knocked him out, which left me awake and alone and constantly checking to make sure that Hubs was still breathing. I also did a little Googling and decided that Hubs had developed an adult allergy to salmon.

The next morning, Hubs’ face was swollen — so much so that his eyes resembled mere slits, supported by two very puffy cheeks.

“You are allergic to salmon,” I declared.

“I am not,” Hubs replied indignantly.

(Because, really, this rugged deer hunter and carnivore is made of sterner stuff. How dare I suggest he was overcome by a mere slab of fish?)

But when he went in to the newsroom, even those unaware of the salmon incident remarked upon his appearance.

“What’s wrong with your face?” Moody Mom asked as Hubs slunk through the photo department.

I pestered Hubs into going to the doctor. Unfortunately, our regular doc wasn’t in, so Hubs saw some dude who declared that Hubs had merely choked on the fish.

“Did you show him your face?” I inquired incredulously.

“Well, given he was looking at me during the exam, I’m sure he couldn’t help but see my face,” Hubs replied dryly.

“Did you tell him you don’t usually” — I pushed up my cheeks and slitted my eyes for effect — “look like that? Does he really think you look like that all of the time? Seriously?”

“Well,” Hubs said, “it’s not like he’s seen me before. How would he know what my face usually looks like?”

“But did you tell him that you don’t normally resemble a puffer fish?”

“He says I’m not allergic to salmon,” Hubs persisted.

“You’re not a wuss if you’re allergic to salmon,” I reassured him, patting his arm.

“But I’m NOT allergic to salmon!”

“OK, fine. You’re not. But if you ever decide to eat it again, you will do so while sitting outside of the ER.”

So yes. My husband’s vanity supercedes all common sense. Meanwhile, I’m not even buying a bag of cat food that contains even a hint of salmon because I’m worried that Hubs might end up collapsing in a helpless heap whilst simply trying to feed the cat.

So, thoughts? I still worry that he might be tempted to prove me wrong at some point. And if he does so, I will NOT cancel that 911 call.





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