Emergency Branzino

By Lisa Scottoline

I look on the bright side of things. 

For example, I went to the ER last night, but at least my socks matched. 

That’s what I mean. 

The number of times I wear matching socks in my life is exactly nil. 

The only reason I was wearing matching socks this time was because I had been visiting Daughter Francesca in New York, and in New York, you have to wear matched socks. 

In Pennsylvania, you don’t. 

Here, all we want is warm feet. 

And not only do my socks never match in color, they’re often different types. 

Like usually I have a sweat sock on one foot and a wool sock on the other. 


Why not? 

Who cares? 

I think socks are booby-trapped because they come matched. 

My socks don’t stay with their mates longer than I did. 

Maybe my socks are divorced. 

To return to point, it was after I’d gotten home from New York last night that I ended up in the hospital ER. It all started because I hadn’t eaten dinner and I had a piece of branzino in the refrigerator, which I had bought when Francesca was home. 

I class it up for my kid, too. 

What empty nester doesn’t? 

As soon as she moved out, I segued into oatmeal for dinner. 

And you know what? 

I love it. 

Anyway, I’m a vegetarian and on the fence about eating fish, but this little fish had given its life, so I decided to cook it. I made some leftover rice and steamed some broccoli, then served myself a meal. I was so proud that I took a picture and texted it to Francesca. 

She texted back, Yum! 

I ate some broccoli, which was over-cooked, and rice, which was under-cooked, then I finally had some fish, which had a fair number of bones. 

And one lodged in my throat. 

I wasn’t choking, but I couldn’t get it to go down. 

I drank water, but the bone didn’t move. So I tried to push it down with a toothbrush, then a butter knife. 

Well, people swallow swords, don’t they? 

Anyway, neither worked. 

So, I looked online under “fish bone stuck in throat” and found home remedies like “drink olive oil” or “soak bread in water, then eat it” or “have peanut butter.” 

 I did all those things, but the fishbone still didn’t move. 

So, I drove myself to the hospital, remembering the times I’d been in the emergency room before. One time for falling off my bike and breaking my arm, another time when a moth flew in my ear, and a third time when I drank a water bottle that contained a dead mouse. 

Don’t ask. 

I didn’t see the mouse in the bottle because I was driving at the time and I had left the bottle uncapped in the car. 

Plus, it was Christmas Eve. 

I try to arrange my drama at dramatic times. 

Things happen to me. 

Exciting things. 

Fun things. 

Things that you can write about on a Sunday. 

I’m not accident-prone, but I am incident-prone. 

That’s the bright side. 

Long story short, I got to the hospital, told them the story, and the physician’s assistant looked down my throat with a tongue depressor, which evidently works better than a butter knife. 

Suddenly I felt the bone move, and I swallowed it! 


They took an x-ray anyway and the doctor checked me out and the nurses were wonderful as usual, then they gave me some goop to swallow and numb my throat. 

So, I went home, with a vow. 

No more fish. 

But plenty of oatmeal.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2023