It was a giggle that led to her choking on her cup of hot chocolate, but it was an annoyance that might just have saved Emma Carey’s life.
The 18-year-old was left coughing up her Cadbury Fudge Highlights when an untimely joke with a friend caught her off-guard.
“We were sitting there talking about things we did when we were little,” Emma said.
“My friend Katherine’s mum Annelise said something funny about a time when I was seven or eight and I started laughing mid sip.
“I couldn’t stop laughing and tried not to spit it out but it ran down my throat and felt like being stabbed in the chest.”
Still suffering the effects of burns hours later, she decided to get checked out at hospital – and potentially-fatal blood clots were discovered.
Her family believed she had scalded her throat, but after an overnight stay and a series of tests, doctors announced Emma had developed a cluster of life threatening blood clots in her right lung.
The ‘silent but deadly’ clots often present no symptoms until they kill in a ‘sudden death’ scenario.
Doctors believe the clotting was caused after Emma started taking the contraceptive pill just two weeks earlier.
“It was the scariest thing that anyone could have said to me. I was basically told I was a ticking time bomb,” Emma said.
“At first it took a while to sink in, I was initially shocked.
“I didn’t think anything like this could happen to me.
“On the one hand I’m really lucky they found them so quickly, but I was only on the pills for two weeks, so it is quite scary they could develop so fast.
“I’ve got mixed feelings, part of me is quite scared by it, but I’m very lucky.”
Emma will now undergo further tests to determine if she is prone to blood clots.
And she has a favourite new hot chocolate flavour: “I’ve always liked Costa hot chocolate and those with hazelnut in them but Cadburys Fudge is probably my favourite now, “she said.
“I will always be grateful for my love of hot chocolate...”