Marina Avnet

Marina Avnet, RN

Saint Peter's University Hospital (NJ)
New Brunswick, New Jersey
United States

What do you say to someone who has saved your life? How do you thank them when nothing seems adequate? Now imagine that you were saved by not one but two people who happened to be your co-workers.

My work day was nothing out of the ordinary, however, lunch came late for me. I picked up my lunch from the cafeteria and went to one of our Mother/Baby lounges to eat. Putting that first, and what turned out to be only bite, of noodles in my mouth, I inhaled at the same time from being tired. All of a sudden the noodles shot up into my nasal passage and down my throat blocking any air from going in or out. I could not cough, I could not blow out my nose, I could not talk or even swallow. The noodles were stuck and would only vibrate.

Looking desperately across the table at Marina Avnet, I could not get her attention so I had to pound loudly on the table and try to give her the universal chocking sign. I stood up frightened and tried to do everything in my power to breathe. Marina was at first stunned and tried to figure out what was happening, but when she realized the severity of the situation she started to do the Heimlich maneuver. I could not tell you how many times this happened but the next thing I knew she ran out of the lounge to get help. At this point I felt like I hadn't taken a breath in an hour. I have no idea how long it had been, I don't know how many times she had tried to pat me and/or do the Heimlich.

Norma Ross, another Mother/Baby nurse came running in and took charge. Norma started to help Marina do the Heimlich maneuver on me. Norma was so calm throughout the whole ordeal. She acted as through this was something she did every day at work and she brought some comfort to the situation even though I was still not breathing. At some point the noodles came out of my airway and I was able to breathe again. I was shaking, trying to process the situation.

They would not let anything happen to me. They restored by breathing, they saved my life. I have always grown up knowing that life is short and it can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye so you have to make the most out of life. This situation just renewed that belief even more.