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Anxiety Strikes Again

I’ve talked about my anxiety in the past and how it can make me do things that would seem extremely irrational to a normal person (like that time it spiraled out of control on a day trip).

Well, my anxiety has once again made me do something that in hindsight, was a bit ridiculous. Monday night, my boyfriend and I were having leftover turkey burgers. We reheated them in the microwave, and we sat down to eat them together at the dining room table.

Things were normal. Fine. Dandy. Then, I swallowed a piece and suddenly my throat was sore. The best way to describe it was it felt like something was stuck in my throat. I continued to eat and said nothing, as this is something that has happened to me in the past. But then, the feeling started to make my skin crawl and I fed the rest of my food to my boyfriend.

About ten minutes after we had finished dinner, I asked to my boyfriend “Do you ever feel like you have something stuck in your throat after eating?” and he was like “Yeah.” So, I told him well it felt like that for me while we were eating dinner and that’s why I fed him my fries.

Mistake Number One: Turning To Google

More time passed. We went to Dairy Queen and get some Blizzards. Thinking maybe something was indeed in my throat, I thought maybe eating more would push it down. My throat still felt a little sore, and while I finished up my Blizzard at home, I went to Google (mistake number one). I started Googling “How do you know if you have food stuck in your throat?”

According to the internet, it’s pretty common. Due to anxiety and the need to know everything because the unknown is scary, I kept digging. I read medical websites stating symptoms and saying it’s an ER trip because it might not pass on its own and cause damage. Eventually, I ended up on forums and I found horror stories. So naturally, my anxiety got worse and I started to convince myself I had food just stuck in my throat.

A Trip To The ER

I reasoned with myself that I should just go because I’d rather be safe than sorry. And I’m sure some of you might be thinking, why not just wait until morning to not pay for an ER trip for something so ridiculous that also might not be an actual emergency? Well, I am SO POOR, I get free services at any Yale New Haven Health medical center. Also on the off-chance I did have food stuck in my throat, waiting until the next day would have been a bad idea and I might die (anxiety logic).

So I grabbed my Kindle and headed to the hospital at 8pm on a Monday. Thankfully the hospital is 15 minutes away and there was no wait when I got there. The doctor came in, looked in my throat, and said it’s fine. He also felt my neck and told me one of my lymph nodes was swollen exactly where I said the pain was. He asked me if I was sick and I told him no, it just happened while I was eating dinner and otherwise I felt fine.

Later when the nurse came in, I told her the same thing and she at least believed me when I said I wasn’t sick. She said I probably just irritated my throat when I was eating dinner. Anyhoo, after a little bit of “observation time” and waiting for them to fill out my discharge paperwork, I was out after determining there was no food stuck in my throat. Woohoo!

Cue the Secondary Anxiety

So you’d think my anxiety would go away after being told the thing I was anxious about was not a concern. Nope! I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about this on here, but I’m a bit of a germaphobe. So naturally, an emergency room does not feel like a safe place for me. I wore a mask when I went, I stripped my clothes and immediately put them in the wash when I got home, and I instantly went into the shower to cleanse myself.

This anxiety lasted for days and I’m still honestly anxious that I might get sick from that pointless visit. And then comes the anger with myself that I was so anxious I went to the ER for no reason and exposed myself to germs. At least the last couple times I was in a hospital it was because I was visiting family (although I will say that made me so anxious every single time) and then my trip due to my primary care sending me for my throat.

I don’t even know why I’m so afraid. I have autoimmune issues, but they’re not to the point that I’m immunocompromised. But the potential of getting sick makes me so anxious. It honestly might be residual anxiety from the pandemic. My anxiety around this was not as bad before the pandemic. But I now constantly do everything in my power to not get sick, sometimes even being anxious to go around my niece and nephew who are a toddler and baby because they always have some plague from daycare.

Reflections Post-Anxiety

I’ll start off by saying my throat was literally fine the next day. I must have just irritated it while eating dinner. Looking back, I should have just waited until the next day. It wasn’t like I was struggling to breathe or swallow. But, me reading in a forum that one person had food stuck and could breathe and talk fine sent me into a panic that it could be like that with me.

But, now I can laugh at it. We were out to dinner last night with my brother and my boyfriend said “I feel like I have something stuck in my throat” and he wasn’t saying it in a mocking tone or anything. He actually had the feeling. I looked at him and I was like “Oh I didn’t tell my brother about that” so then I told my brother and we all laughed about it when I retold the whole story. It’s funny to look back on now, and honestly even in the moment I knew I was probably being a bit ridiculous, but I just wanted to be CERTAIN I didn’t have anything stuck in my throat.

Anyhoo, I survived the ordeal AND I didn’t have to get an endoscopy done to search for and remove food from my throat. There’s a reason why I named my blog on TurningPointCT “Combating My Anxiety” because my anxiety can get a bit out of control…lol.


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