My life

Waking up dying

The other night, I woke up abruptly and rolled out of bed, gasping for breath. My vocal cords were being scorched by acid reflux, and it was all I could do to get air through them. After a few seconds of sheer terror, I discovered that by wheezing in, wheezing out, wheezing in, wheezing out, I was able to get the oxygen I needed. I wheezed and groaned for several minutes until my throat was clear enough to breathe normally.

It was more terrifying for Alicia than it was for me. Her first thought was that I was having a heart attack, or had something stuck in my throat. When she finally saw that I was okay, and I was able to tell her what the problem was, she brought me water mixed with soda to drink and gargle. She also brought me a hard foam pillow that we had purchased with our mattress.

The reflux was most likely caused by eating jello with pineapple shortly before bedtime. I won’t be doing that again.

I drifted off to sleep again pretty quickly. Alicia had more trouble. Once she saw that I was sleeping soundly, she managed to get some sleep herself.

She told me in the morning that I hadn’t snored at all after the choking episode. Last night I didn’t snore much either. Apparently this is a benefit of the foam pillow, which forces me to sleep on my side and keeps my neck straighter.

The scariest thing for me was to discover that Alicia didn’t know that 911 is the number for emergency services. In Colombia it’s 999. So we got that cleared up.


In other news, the two jewelry sets I have posted on eBay have been promised to a friend for his wife. He doesn’t know his way around eBay yet, so they may still show up as unsold, but he’ll figure it out soon. Now I have to figure out the best way to ship to Thailand.

On Facebook I posted photos of several other sets that will be available soon: Murano crystal teardrop pendants with matching earrings (four colors available); Murano crystal bead necklace, bracelet, earrings (three colors available); synthetic amber earrings, bracelet, necklaces; cat necklaces with matching earrings. The responses have been very positive. I’ll post links once we have them up on eBay.


Recent events have brought us to the conclusion that we really ought to sell our house as soon as we can get the remodeling done. Selling it would help us get out of debt, ease our budget, allow more time together, and free us for possible relocation. The circumstances that brought us to Tampa have changed, so we can consider living elsewhere.

Tampa’s hot, humid summers are hard on Alicia. We’re pondering where to move next. South California would be nice (I have two sisters in LA), but hard on our budget. I don’t want to return to Dallas, but I would like to be closer to my kids. Austin or San Antonio would be interesting, not as humid as Tampa and with relatively easy winters. I would love to be in the mountains, all else being equal, so we might consider New Mexico. I’m hoping that there will be temporary work assignments available in some of those places this summer. That would allow us to get to know new areas and escape the Tampa humidity for a whle.


We watched Turbo last night. It made us laugh over and over again. Even funner than Despicable Me 2.

Bye. Have a great weekend.


25 thoughts on “Waking up dying

  1. digitalgranny says:

    Acid reflux, as you know, is scary. I take medication for it. Had to quit drinking diet coke and all sodas. I am allowed a bit of coffee in the mornings, thank goodness or I would never kick into gear.
    Very cool you will be able to sell your house an drove on to some where with a more comfortable climate.

    • It didn’t feel like nothing at the time, but the first few seconds were terrifying. I think Alicia had more of an adrenaline rush than I did. I wasn’t scared after the first few breaths, just working hard, so it didn’t leave me trembling or anything.

  2. acidic fruits and anything of that nature will be the death of me. i remember my coworker didnt believe me when i told him about my troubles with that and along with some other deskmates, made me drink a can of Mountain Dew. I thought it would produce a mini-reaction that would satisfy them but to my horror, i was in so much pain that i collapsed onto the floor.

    btw – that foam pillow. do you like it? does it help you sleep and is it comfortable? i am thinking of going that route.

    • My foam pillow has been working well for me. We had a $100 credit when we bought our mattress, and my wife hates metal bed frames, so we took the pillow. You can buy one like it for under $50 if you look around. It might take some getting used to.

  3. happierheathen says:

    I’ve only woke up with reflux twice, but it convinced me that I need an hour between the last thing I swallow and bedtime. It’s a mighty unpleasant interruption to a good night’s sleep. I hope you can avoid a recurrence!

    Amethyst and I grew up in Southern California, and gave (Silver City) New Mexico a try a while back, but ended up back here again. Our perspective is too weird to make our views worthy of consideration by others, as we’ve chosen to live in a county where the population density is less than ten per square mile, so I’ll keep my goofball thoughts and wish you luck in finding a place that suits you.

  4. I love living in Southern California — every time I have left, I’ve been homesick, or anxious to return. Unfortunately, though, it’s not the place to try reducing your costs — and that will become worse as our drought worsens. Last summer was odd — about 80 degree days, and high humidity — unusual, but perhaps a portent of weather to come?
    Glad you weren’t having a heart attack — and feel better now!

    • Thank you. One of my sisters lives in a tiny little 1000 sf house in a shabby neighborhood in Inglewood, CA that was a steal at the same price I paid for my 2400 sf 4-bedroom place here. If it weren’t for that, we’d love to live in the LA area or someplace along the coast.

      • There are places along the coast north of LA that are a little less expensive — Ojai, Solvang, Buellton, perhaps Lompoc. And I imagine that if our drought continues there will be people leaving the state for greener pastures, making real estate a bit more affordable.

  5. Nothing like the joy of being shot at and missed (apart from the initial terror) I know nothing of the malady; odd, since I’ve done more than my share of acid.
    And it’s tempting to offer (parts of) my own country here as being a climatic garden of eden. Heaven knows we need translators, but perhaps not so much in sp/eng. An interviewee this morning on the radio, immigrant from Argentina, was a charm to behold: An accent in Hebrew one could use to thicken concrete, plus the word-order and vocab-choices.. I just loved the guy.
    Anyway, no rain 9 months a year, but car registration is about $400 annually, not to mention the MacDonald’s index: i/e/ we work more hours for a big mac than almost anywhere else. Still, do consider it/ JS

    • Alicia would be absolutely thrilled to move to Israel. She attended a two-month course there a few years ago and said she felt like she had finally come home. They housed her at one of the oldest kibbutzim, somewhere in your area.

      But alas, my language pairing is not marketable over there. Perhaps I could join you in the construction/remodeling trade and my wife could sing Moni Amarillio tunes with a thick Colombian accent at local nightclubs.

      • In an odd connection, just this morning the ‘translators union’ declared a work stoppage here: They are tired of working for below minimum-wage doing subtitles for the major channels.
        Sure, I can find plenty of humorous ‘mis-heard’ or ‘mis-translated’ gaffes in their work but I never knew that they be doin’ it almost for free.
        Oh, and a guy with your proven skills in construction/renovation will be hounded here around the clock to do jobs, I myself generally hide behind the house if I see someone approaching, since I can only work so many hours a week and the jobs never end.
        I have a sweetheart deal on my ‘plantation rent-wise, but a house like yours rents for at least $1500 here. And sells for half a million. Oy. Not to mention the bureaucratic religious horror-show it’d be, to be allowed to reside permanently. Jesus himself would be allowed in, but only because of jewish parents, and he’d have to renounce all his ‘additions and corrections’ to the Torah. (and then his probable use of turn-signals would raise eyebrows and suspicions ha)
        Seriously though I’d be thrilled to death to host you guys; it’s be worth taking off a month’s work just for the pleasure.

  6. Hey Tim and Alicia!

    I’m sorry about the wheezing episode. Ive had that on and off for awhile now and think somewhere the last year I must’ve developed a wheat or sugar allergy ( slight) bc everytime I eat one or the other I am more congested in the lungs. Or maybe I was just so run down. I’d work even when sick for almost a year, plus double shifts, walking in rain etc. Doing much better now. And I still eat things with flour and sugar, but seems it has to be less frequently now.

    Praying and thinking of you too regarding your relocation and debt. East / mid or overall Texas sounds nice if near family.

    911/999. Alicia will remember for sure now!
    Glad you are okay and more

    I’m glad to have found you on here when I went to comment Zakiah. I finally checked out my wordpress after long time absent blogging and saw the
    moliendo cafe video Alicia made. And made me remember you both. Glad I found your site.

    • Very nice to hear from you, Jewel! It has been a long time. From your blog it looks like you are doing well. You’ve come a long, long way from when I first met you!

      The foam pillow is helping both the reflux and the snoring, so we’re both happy. We’ve been posting Alicia’s jewelry at a slow trickle, but it will soon all be available on eBay. She feels very happy about that. In Colombia she’s a selling fiend, but here just doesn’t have the contacts.

      Blessings to you!

      • Really nifty regarding alicia’s rapport with customers. I’m sure she will build up again. Please keep us posted; let us know where to find her items.

        I’m so glad the pillow helping and you feeling better. I’m praying you both figure out where to move and that you do really well wherever that is.

  7. That is so scary! 😦 I’m so glad you weren’t alone!

    I am praying for you and Alicia related to a move. A more temperate climate would be nice! NM is a beautiful state! I hope you can go visit there and check it all out! 🙂

    Yay for the positive responses on the jewelry! Yes, do share the links here when you can. 🙂

    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend!!! 😀

  8. People will ask you what went through your mind as you were sruggling to breathe. People are curious about “the end.” They think you wil tel them of your out of body experience or that your life flashed before your eyes. Of course, I don’t k ow what you experienced, but on the few occasions on which I have fallen or had to scramble away from danger, my brain we t into pure survival mode. I had no conscious thought until the episode was over. Our brains know how to prioritize!

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