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A man had the shock of his life when he found out he had swallowed one of his Apple AirPods in his sleep.
Brad Gauthier, 38, from Massachusetts, woke up struggling to breathe last week, and realised something was terribly wrong when he was left gagging while attempting to drink a glass of water.
Despite feeling like he couldn't breathe, Brad soldiered on - unaware of the severity of the situation - and got on with his day, even clearing his snow-covered driveway following a blizzard.
But it was when Brad realised one of his Apple AirPods was missing that the penny started to drop, especially when his wife, Heather, 32 and son Owen, 15, joked that maybe he had swallowed it.
"My wife mentioned it when I came in and we laughed about it, but something just clicked and I got a weird sinking feeling that I'd swallowed it in my sleep," said Brad.
"At that point, I putzed around for another 10 minutes thinking about it but we all determined it'd be better safer than sorry to go to hospital."
It turned out Brad had swallowed the AirPod, which had become wedged in his oesophagus, causing his throat to fill up with water and leaving him feeling like he was choking.
Brad arrived at hospital, but medics were convinced his discomfort was the result of something he'd eaten the night before. However, the X-rays soon proved Brad's theory correct.
"It was pretty funny, when she left the room I could hear a bit of chatter outside - 'No it couldn't be?'" Said Brad.
"She came back in, looks at me and says: 'I'll be damned, you swallowed it.'
"They were all jaws a slack, looking at this X-ray, on the screen where you could see it in such clear definition. Fortunately, she was able to get me right through an endoscopy centre they're affiliated with."
Brad went to bed with his headphones in, so the sound from his device didn't wake up his baby daughter, Avianna - but somehow, one had ended up in his mouth.
Medics explained he had been incredibly lucky, with the AirPod somehow becoming wedged in a position that had prevented it from causing serious damage.
He said: "Had I inhaled it or it had gotten lodged or constricted my airway that could have certainly been a significantly more serious matter. You don't have a lot of runway if you obstruct your breathing and something happens, who would even think that's what it was if you wake up to something like that."
"I'm really lucky things happened the way they did and got it resolved so quickly, along with it being wedged in the position that it was."
The endoscopy was also risky, with doctors warning Brad that the AirPod could become dislodged, possibly entering his stomach or lung passageway.
However, fortunately, while uncomfortable, the surgery was a complete success with Brad even returning to work later in the day.
Note to self, do not go to sleep with AirPods in!
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