Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crouton Lung: The Not-So-Silent Killer

Author's Note: The following post in no way implies that men, in general, have a lower pain threshold than women. Furthermore, the grave medical condition described herein is not funny and really hurts and should be taken seriously. The author is not presenting this story for your amusement, only your edification.

The other night, while James and I watched the Project Runway premier on Auntie Pirtle's TiVo, my dutiful spouse took Ellie to Chuck E. Cheese as part of our potty training reward/motivation/abject bribery strategy. (Sucka! There are approximately 14,721 things I would rather do than visit Chuck E. Cheese on a Thursday night, and some of those things involve ditch digging.)

After a satisfying hour with the delightful Mr. Gunn, James and I arrive at the Dread Pirate Chuck E. Cheese to fetch B. and Ellie. After buckling Ellie into her seat, B. climbs into the car and starts clearing his throat, which sounds kind of hoarse and scratchy.

"I really don't feel good," he wheezes.

"Was everyone smoking in there?" I ask, expecting very little from our fellow Chuck E. Cheese patrons.

"No. Something happened." This sounds serious.

He continues, "Ellie was riding the Clifford ride over and over, and I was eating my salad bar, and she stood up and it sort of looked like she could fall off, so I got up and started to say something, trying to warn her, and I inhaled really sharply and choked. I inhaled a crouton into my lung." He says this with a very straight, very pained face. "It still hurts, right here," he says, pointing to his upper chest.

"A crouton. In your lung," I say. This is not a question.

"Yeah. It hurt really bad. Really bad. It feels like it's still there. Haaaarumppppf. Huuuuuummpf. Heeeeeeeerkkkk. Bllllllleeeeeeek." And so on.

"Soooooo...a crouton? In your lung?"

He shoots me a pained, incredulous look and continues the coughing, throat clearing, herking, etc. for the entire ride home. I try not to laugh (OK, I laughed) and refrain from further commentary. I should have mustered up some sympathy, but ever since that whole "Eighteen Months of Puking, Two Back Labors, and A Vaginal Tear in a Pear Tree" thing, my heart is a cold, cold place.

So, in apology to my beloved husband, the husband who, although in possession of a master's degree, really truly seemed to believe he had a dry cube of seasoned bread lodged in his lung, I offer this: I should have believed you, baby.

Maybe we can get a Lifetime movie deal out of this.

Edited to add: That's an artist's rendering of the incident. There are no conclusive Crouton Lung x-rays but, yes, IT HURT REAL BAD, OK?

Breaking: Update!


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I would have laughed and made snide remarks. I'm supportive like that.

Then the guilt would eat at me.

JessTrev said...

Love the Author's Note. You may not have one of these, but there are small people, girls even, who don't possess the pain threshold I've come to expect from our gender (try Paaaaaper Cuttttt wailing). Great post...

Mrs. G. said...

Oh my God, is this a real crouton in your husband's real lung. I hate to admit that I cackled as I read this post. Does he have to swallow a hunk of butter to lubricate it out of his lung. I apologize for that last remark if you are reading Mr. Bean Paste, sometimes, like your wife, I can be cruel and thoughtless. Poor little bunny. I have a feeling, Melanie, that you are going to hearing about this for a long time. And so close to the holidays. Shame on you.

P.S. This is the funniest post I have read in sooo long. Thank you for this brief blast of pleasure.

Melanie said...

Haaaaaaaa. Oh my Lord!

Clarification: That is a crouton Photoshopped into some stranger's x-rayed lung. It's an artist's rendering, if you will. It was such a crappy Photoshop job, I just assumed everyone would know. Just a joke!

And! This joke has totally backfired by garnering MORE pity for my husband. He'll be so pleased.

Mrs. G: Butter! Brilliant. I should have suggested that.

Nora said...

This is hilarious! I think you should totally get a book deal for this. He is a medical miracle to have survived! My husband would have been in similar straits. Like when he told me how tired he was after I gave birth. Life is rough, eh?

josetteplank.com said...


Oh yes, once I inhaled an entire corn muffin up my nose when I reached over the breadbasket and hiccuped.

But that didn't hurt too much. Cause, you know, a crouton has sharp edges.

Karen Jensen said...

I think that, rather than butter (which should be saved for Jozet), I would have him snort some Caesar dressing. I don't think the vinegar would sting too much.

Anonymous said...

Byron- I am, and always will be, on your side. Although I have never inhaled a crouton, I can't imagine the utter pain and despair you were in. I imagine you, in said pain, in the midst of screaming, chaotic, foul Chuck E. Cheese and I feel sadness. The fact that you made it out is a testament to your courage and dedication to your daughter. Some men would have simply fled, gotten away as far as they could have...but not you. Kudos.

Melanie said...

Brent: I have passed your words of encouragement along; he feels vindicated by your support.

The good news is this: he's going to pull through now that he can fully inhale and exhale without detecting savory herb topping.

Anonymous said...

I think this might even be Movie of the Week material.

Peggy Sez.. said...

It is my belief that men never mature(mind wise) past the age of twelve.Thus the lower than low threshold of pain..MOMMY!You should pat his little hand give him some candy and contact the Lifetime Channel.

Anonymous said...

Very glad that Mrs. G posted a link to this. I love starting the morning out with a good laugh. Especially when I'm turning 40 on the morning in question.

Back to my mourning.

Family Adventure said...

I'm dying here! Crouton lung. Oh.My.God.

Love the author's note, too. Don't agree with it - but love it :)


Unknown said...

No wonder you got a ROLF for this post!

I actually started GUFFAWING while reading it, which caused me to nearly choke on my pretzel.

Very good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Just found you through Mrs. G.
Very funny post. The whole "partridge in a pear tree" made me laugh!

Christine said...

Have I mentioned yet that I love your blog?

benchaos said...

Being your typical college student, my life usually revolves around quoting comedians and bad movies with friends.

While looking for some stand up routine about a crouton, I came upon this instead.

I never laugh online, unless it's a stupid youtube video.

This all just changed. Tears ran down my cheeks, I wheezed, I laughed -- I even cleared my throat.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That made my week. I hope you get that Lifetime movie deal.

Haarumph --benjamin