Emergency Tracheotomy Kit

IMG_20150713_172820247_HDROur Dad, a surgeon, always carried this in his pocket “just in case” it might be needed while we were out in our Sunday best together with our grandparents at Britlings Cafeteria in Poplar Plaza or Pappy’s Lobster Shack over on Madison or maybe downtown at the Skyway on the roof of The Peabody, all in Memphis where we grew up.

Anytime someone — anyone at any table — would cough, Dad would look up to see what was happening. We were horrified to think he might suddenly leap up from our family meal, grab the cougher, throw them bodily onto our table scattering all the dishes and glasses, climb up on the table himself to straddle the victim, reach in his suit jacket to retrieve this “Emergency Tracheotomy Kit”, pop the lid and withdraw the sterile scalpel and then slice into their throat before inserting two fingers to hold the airway open and finally shouting, “Call an ambulance!”

Fortunately, it never happened but, even today, I still feel a surge of panic when someone coughs in a restaurant.

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