The Filipina Fish Bone Fiasco

Healthy eating can occasionally have adverse side effects. Just ask my asawa. It was laundry day. Our  hot laundry lady had finished the wash and was on her way home after eating the fish and rice meal my spouse had prepared. My wife, who insists on sitting outside and assisting our helper, was finishing  her late lunch. I went into the duwende-sized kitchen where she sat at our duwende-sized kitchen table set from Manduaue Foam. She had a particularly nasty look on her face.DSC

  • "What's wrong?" I asked. 
  • "I have a fish bone stuck in my throat." she replied disgustedly.
  • "Eat some bread," I said as I handed her a slice from a nearby loaf. 

The fish bone was still stuck. She drank some water. It was still lodged in her throat so I went online and Googled "fish bone stuck in throat." 

So for the next 30 minutes my poor asawa tried eating bananas, drinking vinegar (to soften the bone,) inducing vomiting (she stuck her fingers down her throat,) swallowing rice and rice balls, and eating more bread and bananas. Nothing worked. The fish bone was still there. 

I got a flash light and peered inside her mouth. Couldn't see any bone. She could swallow, but it was very uncomfortable doing so. I said we needed to see a doctor now. She advised me that if the fish bone was still there in the morning we would go. 

Stubbornness is one of the traits my Filipino wife possesses  in amply supply. I could do nothing but wait until tomorrow. Perhaps the bone had already been dislodged and had scratched her throat. Some people online had revealed that this had been the case with them, and the fish bone felt like it was still stuck even three days later because of the scratch. DSC

The fact that our latest electric bill arrived shortly afterwards, P4500 pesos (103 US Dollars), did nothing to brighten our moods. This was the highest bill we had ever received since moving to the Philippines in July 2009 and almost P2000 higher than last month. The previously highest bill, P3600 ($83.00),  was when we had first installed an air con in our former home in Guimaras two years ago. 

But I knew I would probably be escorting my asawa to a healthcare clinic the next morning. I couldn't sleep well knowing that she was in discomfort. She seemed to be breathing alright, but I could tell that swallowing was painful for her. I shut off the air con that night. Thankfully, it had been raining the last several days and had cooled things off. 

It had been hot this past May, and we had extra electricity costs due to the summer weather. Plus our nephew Sharwen and Shaina were now living with us and that added to the total bill. I was not pleased at all, especially when I saw our utility company had raised our kilowatt per hour rate to 10.98 pesos. Last month the rate was 10.59 pesos per kwh. 

I could envision the pesos flying out of our window. An unexpected doctor bill loomed large for tomorrow, and 2,000 pesos cut from the next budget due to the electricity costs. When you're on a fixed income as we are, unplanned expenses do hurt. 

To top it,  off the stock market has been going down and has negatively impacted our investment IRA. Even in "paradise," worries and troubles can become unwelcome visitors if you invite them in. Hopefully, tomorrow would bring better news and an end to the Filipina Fish Bone Fiasco.

(To be continued,  with apologies to Larry.)  

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

41 thoughts on “The Filipina Fish Bone Fiasco

    1. Hi Wilma. Well, my asawa tells me that one of our twin nieces, Michelle, was born suwi, or upside down, but she will not be with us until next week. But that’s good to know in case my wife gets more fish bones stuck. My asawa also tells me there is a superstition that may cause the bone to get unstuck. Just secretly put a bone on the person’s head. If they don’t know the bone is on their head, that will dislodge the stuck fish bone. I’m thinking this will work better if the inflicted party has consumed a few bottles of Red Horse. 😛

  1. I know! The electric bill the past 2 months has been outrageous – well, a lot more than we expected, that’s for sure! The good – no, great – news is that the new inverter-type A/C unit we put in only used about P1000 ($25) worth of the P5600 electric bill. Aside from our small refrigerator, the ice machine gobbled up the rest. It seems that this type of A/C is as advertised, using 50% less energy than the old window-box unit. However, it doesn’t help when the electric company is raising rates at the same time! I thought we had good ol’ Meralco, but it’s a local co-op called Neeco. Anyway, off on a tangent there; hope you guys got the fishbone crisis taken care of.

    1. Ice Man, our “power” company’s rate fluctuates every month. It’s frustrating. Good to hear about the inverter-type A/C unit. I’ll have to check those out when we get the new house built. Thanks for the tip.

          1. I’m thinking I will need to cool the BR’s most days and the house (1,450 sf) some days. If it can be done for less than $200, it would be worth it to me to cool the entire house to about 76F.

            1. Once I get my additional income, Randy, we might be able to cool the entire house. That’s less than two years away. In the meantime, I’ll just have to suck it up and live with it.

  2. ((shiver)) Fishbones have been a phobia of mine since childhood, I have always chewed fresh fish until it was paste myself. To be honest that is one of the hardest things I have to overcome with my soon to be diet of Filipino food. Looking forward to the good news that the Asawa’s throat is fine and being used to scold you again Dave. 😉

  3. I too have this fear of fish bones winding up stuck in places they should have never gone. Once I somehow stuck myself with a fishbone between my tooth and gum and it hurt. I refer to it as the FBSI – ‘Fib-see (fish bone stabbing incident). I also read an article once about this dying man who was discovered to have a small fish bone fragment stuck in his liver. Now don’t ask me how, but it was really written that way describing how his liver was shutting itself down because of the tiny bone fragment. He did survive after they discovered it but that scared really put the FBS scare into me. As a result of my fear, Bangus is one fish I won’t eat.

    1. Randy, your FBSI and the fish bone in the liver story are two good examples of how healthy eating is not necessarily good for one’s health. Thanks for sharing. 😛

  4. Dave,

    Sometimes, if you’re eating a scaly fish like tilapia, some of it will get stuck too somewhere in your throat and it’s harder to dislodge than a fish bone. Just sayin…

    1. Dave,
      Glad to see you back with a new post. Hopefully your asawa just has a scratched throat. Maybe you should brush up on the heimlich maneuver because you never know what could happen. That is quite a rise in the electic bill. Hopefully rain will continue to keep A/C use to a minimum. Take care have a nice day.

      1. Thanks Papaduck. I better brush up on my first aid training, good idea. I can guarantee you that everyone in our household will be eating fish on a daily basis.

        The rains have been great. Cooled things off, and I’m using the air con less. Hopefully the next bill will be lower. I hate paying that much for our electricity. 🙁

    2. Your tilapia remark, Jonathan, reminds me of the time I swallowed a live goldfish. I was only 20 years old and working at a dept. store in Illinois. There was a big wading pool in the front of the store filled with live goldfish for some store promotion. Since I will do almost anything for attention and a laugh, I swallowed one in front of some customers and the customer service front desk that had some cute girls working behind it. That fish got stuck halfway down my throat. I almost choked to death and was lucky to finally gulp the thing down. The fins really scratched my throat. 😯

  5. Still no aircon here in Tagum City. I make do with a fan. My wonderful wife Meriam spent 4 years going to school in Iloilo and she really liked the people there. Would she want to live there? Never, too hot and no water.

    Bones in fish. I don’t eat milkfish!!! I like the wild caught Salmon from Alaska we get at the mall. Costs a bit more but I don’t have to worry about the high levels of heavy metals that the local fish have. A big plus is…wait for it…wait….NO BONES!!!! 😛

    73 de kb0ni

    1. I lasted ten months before purchasing our air con here, Gary. Thankfully with the rains things have cooled down. I’m getting used to the heat more after almost three years in the Philippines but still enjoy sleeping with that air con on.

      I love salmon, too, and those milkfish DO have a lot of bones. I stay away from the milkfish now.

        1. Amen, Gary, and I just had some fried Spam yesterday. Our niece and nephew that just moved in with us would rather have Spam than fish now for their lunch. Guess their Tito Dave is a good influence on them. 😛

      1. Sure they have water Randy. 2 days a week for about 8 hours each day. I really dig Dave on that point. Here in Tagum City we have water 24/7 365! Safe drinking water…right from the tap. So does Davao City and many others here in Mindanao. I have been to some cities that have a sign on the wall that the tap water is not drinking water. 🙁

        Meriam hates the taste of the tap water here so we buy the 5 gallon jugs of water. Is it safer than the tap water? NO but it tastes better. 😛

        1. Pretty close, Gary, we do get it three days a week, but I wouldn’t drink it even if it was boiled. However, with the recent rains we’ve been having, I’ve been capturing some clear rainwater off a large tarp we have set up to protect our hot laundry lady from the sun. I boil it and use it for our tea and coffee. I think our neighbor Jesus has seen a decrease in his water delivery business with the onset of the rainy season.

        2. I wasn’t aware there were still water delivery problems to the larger communities. Where we are going (Calbayog City) there is always water and good pressure to. Not sure about drinking quality though.

          1. I was surprised, too, when me moved to this subdivision, Randy. In rural Guimaras, we had a good supply of drinking water from the city. I was told last October that we would be have daily water delivery and better water quality, but looks like that’s not going to happen now. I believe our water district is having some financial difficulties.

      2. Three days a week in our subdivision, Randy. Some folks have water tanks or wells. Our rental home has neither, and the landlord didn’t want to put in a P20,000 well that his plumber wanted to install. Can’t blame him. But we’ll have water tanks and a well when we build our new place.

  6. I must admit I need a fan blowing on me all the time. Meriam hates the fans. Too cold she says. She covers up at night like it is winter time in Michigan.

    The heat is really helped my health. No more dry mouth. My feet heal faster and my back doesn’t hurt as much. It’s more fun in the Philippines.


    1. My asawa does the same thing, Gary. She covers up her face sometimes to keep the “cold air” from the fan away.

      Glad to hear that the heat has improved your health. And you’re absolutely correct, it IS more fun in the Philippines even with stuck fish bones. 😀

  7. Dave,

    I LOVE fish, but am repulsed by the bones. I really miss Tom & Len Len ! I will also include you and your beautiful wife.

    I have not heard from Tom & hope that he is doing well with the new “Chicken Farm”

    I really miss my (rental goat & baby) please stop by and give them a kiss for me.

    Take Care Always

    Fearless Frank Florida

    1. Haven’t heard from Tom or Len Len, either, Fearless Frank. We might go to Guimaras next month to take our 18-year-old nieces to the beach for their 19th birthday bash. Didn’t know Tom had a chicken farm. Hmmmmm.

      I’ll be sure to plant a wet sloppy kiss on your goat’s mouth but only after I’ve consumed a case of Red Horse, but no tongue. 😀

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