Rare is the day when anything you read in this column could save a life. Today we have an exception, so listen up.
It involves Herb Detweiler, 84, a retired minister and insurance salesman who lives in Roanoke County.
Even though it happened 31 years ago, the memory remains clear as the stars on a cold winter night.
He was out to dinner, on a first date, with a woman he’d met through a matchmaking service.
They dined at the historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Mass. Detweiler ordered prime rib.
“I was trying to talk and chew and swallow at the same time,” he recalled. Suddenly, he couldn’t do any of those things — or breathe, either. A chunk of meat lodged in his windpipe.
If you’ve never experienced this, it’s frightening as hell. Fortunately for Detweiler, he’d read about the potentially life-saving Heimlich maneuver, and had a basic idea of what to do.
His date stared at him in bewilderment as Detweiler silently stood up at their table and motioned to his throat.
That caught the eye of the maitre d’ who was standing on the other side of the dining room, near the door.
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