A Survivor's Guide To Death By Vomit

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Your humble narrator went to our day job on Saturday like we always do. We stopped at Sonic on the way and got a bacon sandwich like we always do. Then we spent the rest of the weekend praying to every Non-Jewish, Non Muslim God we could think of to please not make us throw up the delicious bacon.

Our prayers were not answered.

As we gamely fought off the stomach virus that made food our enemy until the late hours of Sunday night, it occurred to us that vomiting killed Bon Scott of AC/DC. Jimi Hendrix, too. Both of them drank themselves into a stupor and choked on their own vomit, though conspiracy theories abound in both cases.

In Scott's case, some (like Ozzy Osbourne) believe he actually froze to death. With Hendrix, a roadie named Animal claimed in a book released last year that Hendrix's manager had had him murdered because Hendrix wanted out of his contract. Regardless, the final word on the death certificates was pulmonary aspiration of vomit.

How exactly does that happen? It has to do with alcohol poisoning.

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Just as alcohol affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle, walk a straight line and adequately pleasure a sexual partner, so can it affect other, more necessary functions if you imbibe enough of it. Yes, you can actually drink until your brain stem and gag reflex pass out.

Add to this the fact that alcohol is a poison, and your stomach really doesn't care to have it around for very long. When these two effects combine, it can readily lead to vomiting. If the vomit lodges in your throat, and you're A) Unconscious, and B) Suffering from debilitated brain function from alcohol poisoning it can very easily end in tragedy.

While it may seem cute to draw penises on the faces of our passed-out friends, real alcohol poisoning is very serious. Here are some symptoms to help you identify the real thing:

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures.
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.


If you see any of these of these signs, it is important to call a doctor or an ambulance immediately. In addition to the aforementioned choking upon the vomit, a victim of alcohol poisoning can go into seizures from either having too low of blood sugar or severe dehydration. Both of these can lead to serious brain damage.

Remember, some of our greatest stars might still be alive if someone had noticed what had been happening to them.


Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.



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