the zyphoid process.

Because I write a great many things which do not go anywhere. This is as good a place as any:

The Zyphoid Process
She punched him as hard as she could. He felt her fist land just below his ribs. It hurt like hell. He couldn’t breathe.

He felt her fist land, centred just below his ribs, right on that bone – the one whose name he could never remember, except that it started with a “z”. It hurt like hell and he remembered in first aid class how they were all told to be careful when doing the Heimlich manoeuvre. If you went too high, you could hit that bone which extends like a tab between the bottom of the ribs and starts with the letter “z”. You could hit that bone and break it off.

He could hear her crying. Turning around to leave. She was walking away.

He thought about the bone snapping off from the breastbone and floating around his chest. He tried to remember first aid class. Did it lacerate the heart, or puncture the lungs?

He thought about that sharp fragment of bone, severed and misplaced, floating about his chest. He thought about that jagged, errant satellite orbiting his vitals. What was that tickle in his chest?

He couldn’t breathe and he thought about a sharp fragment of bone floating around his chest and slicing open his heart.

By the time the pain subsided and he thought to open his eyes, the hallway was empty and she was half a block away.


8 thoughts on “the zyphoid process.

  1. Did she look back to see if he was still alive?;never the mind because she was late for her next class;what the hell she did try to save him from choking;what is the zyphoid process I ask?

  2. Hey…I just found out that had my xiphoid bone broken and you are scaring the living beejesus out of me. (The Doctor thought it started with a z also!) Oh, no…..I cannot catch my breath. My wife is slowly walking towards me with a smile on her face, and I think she wants to …..

    Stay tuned for the conclusion of “Broken Xiphoid is better than Typhoid” Or, “I’d bet on my life that my wife can be nice.” And no, you cannot have a slice at ANY price.

  3. dont care what its called its just a punch in the solar plexus and more chance of just knocking all the wind out of a person than breaking a bone,chill out

  4. I realize this is an old post that will probably never be visited again by anyone except by someone like me who constantly is a day late and a dollar short… not to mention lost in cyberspace most of the time, but….

    The correct spelling is xiphoid process, not ziphoid process. It’s a seemingly useless bone (actually a lump of cartilaginous material), located at the tip of the sternum, who’s soul purpose in life seems to be to add to the miseries of anatomy students and wannabe weblog novelette authors.

    The danger of that pesky bone (or cartilaginous nuisance) is that during CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, accidental blow during an auto accident or a bar room brawl, or possibly during a fit of passion, that it might puncture the liver causing that unlucky or passionate person to bleed to death internally.

  5. I was decoring a lettuce head & heard a horrible breaking sound, terrible pain, couldn’t breathe for a few minutes it seemed! Went to the emergency room & (the doctor said it was just bruised), I pushed in my xiphoid process. Still hurts to move or even breathe, cannot turn certain ways. I hope this isn’t a serious thing. Going to another doctor for a 2nd opinion today. It is bent in but not broken off, I don’t think. The 1st doctor took xrays said he didn’t see anything wrong…then why is it bent in now? I looked on the Internet & it isn’t just cartilege anymore – in later years it turns from cartilege into bone. I am 56 years old so it must be bone by now….. I am very worried & what a freak accident…

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