No, no, not the band, which I only very vaguely remember from an appearance on Saturday Night Live and some music video they put out.

No, this is about fishbones, inspired by a recent post by a friend.

But it’s not for the sensitive reader.

I mainly grew up in Saskatchewan, which, if you look at a map, is a very inland kind of place. We have lakes, yes, but fresh lakefish is something I personally never once caught. Fresh ocean fish is a delicacy that is far more expensive than my family tended to buy.

So during my childhood, we usually ate pre-processed fish cakes. There were the battered fillets, which were my favorite; the fish sticks, which were alright; and the smaller, round fish cakes, which I absolutely HATED. Something about those round fish cakes turned my stomach: they were so very fishy, if you know what I mean.

But I almost never ate “real fish”, meaning something that looked like a real fish. That experience was reserved for my time in Korea. Now, here, I love fish. I love getting a nice fried fish as a side dish with a meal. Give me some rice and kimchi and a fish, and I’m a happy camper.

But the problem, that first few times, was with fish bones. Fishbones are horrible things. Were I an Intelligent-Design (ID) sort of person, I’d say bones were put into fish to teach humanity the necessity of caution and careful attention. I’m not at all an ID sort of person, yet the importance of caution is exactly the lesson I learned from a cod one fine afternoon.

It was a Saturday night, following the afternoon on which I had consumed the cod. I felt as if I were going to scream, because my throat felt like hell. It was kind of like having a pin stuck into my throat, except it was not moving at all, just scratching and scratching and hurting. Finally, I stuck my fingers back to try catch it, whatever it was—I was beginning to suspect it was a fishbone—but to no avail. I coughed and hacked and choked much as a cat does with a furball, and I cleared a lot of mucus that seemed to be secreted into my throat, but nothing came up. Finally, I began digging about on the sides of my throat. Now, you know the place where your naso-pharyngeal cavity connects with your esophagus? As far as I can tell—Lime, I suppose, could correct me on the physiology—there are a couple of little spincters, one on the left and one on the right.

I don’t know why, but with me, these sphincters are suspectible to getting food caught in them… deep in them. And the worst thing to get lodged in there is a sharp little fishbone. My poor throat was secreting all kinds of mucus to lubricate the fishbone, but it was lodged, and I had to yank at it—mind you, with one finger, leveraging it against the wall of my throat for support—until I came free. Ugh!

Eventually it did come free, but there was some real worry and some real disgust along the way. Ah well… the mucus trick was ingenius. Didn’t work quickly, but it did help and may have done the trick all on its own. I suppose mucus and coughing alone are what a dog relies upon.

2 thoughts on “Fishbone

  1. Fishbones… That’s the thing I hate about fish… Otherwise I’d eat fish everyday.
    But if I ever get stuck with one (better, get one stuck) in my throat, I don’t think I’ll be so brave as you. I’ll have to rely on the dog trick…

  2. After more than an hour of the scratchy feeling, I think anyone would be brave enough to start digging back there. It felt more like desperate necessity than any act of bravery.

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