The Morning I Vapor Locked And Thought I Was Dying

I’ve only had this happen once and that was aplenty, thank you very much. The reason I referred to a vapor lock, that is an old term we seldom hear any longer.

When I was a kid, It was a common occurrence. That’s when a gasoline line on an old vehicle would become too hot, usually because it wasn’t insulated from the heat of the exhaust. The gasoline would turn into vapor, stopping the flow of liquified gas. The engine would die and leave you stranded. There were a couple of remedies. You could sit for awhile until it cooled off or pour water on that section of the line to turn the gas back to liquid. (Okay, I’m good with any of you gear-heads giving a better explanation if you have one)

Now back to my story; I was at home alone in Corpus Christi one morning sitting in my big oversized chair drinking coffee and staring out across the bay, just minding my on business.

Just a I took a big gulp of coffee I sneezed and coughed at the same time (I guess I didn’t know you could do both at the same time) Anyway the coffee all disappeared suddenly. A huge burning sensation in my lungs hit me and that’s when I figured out that I could no longer breath. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get any air into my lungs.

I didn’t panic for the first 5 to 10 seconds. Then I started planning my next move. I started beating my chest, like I was Tarzan in the jungle. I guess something akin to a self performed Heimlich maneuver. That didn’t seem to help.

After a bit, I decided I needed get out in the front yard that was adjacent to a very busy street. If I passed out or worse, at least maybe someone would see me. If I stayed inside, it would be days before I was found. Yes, in a moment like that, those thoughts did occur to me.

Stumbling around in the front yard, I finally began to feel small gasps of air going into my lungs. It took several minutes for everything to completely return to normal. Even then I had that burning sensation, maybe just an irritation that caused discomfort. But at least I knew I’d live and that the vapor lock was gone.

I’m not sure I ever told Madeline about that. I didn’t want her feeling like I couldn’t be left home alone.

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