I can't believe how big a deal is made out of this. Look at the investigation that's going on into this tiny incident!
I thought it was a lot funnier when Bush sr. threw up in Japan many years ago. And I'm sure Chretien went through something similar too... I just can't remember it at the moment.
From The Toronto Star.
Bush recovers after choking on pretzel
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush was doing well and ready to get back to work today after fainting briefly in the White House residence while choking down a pretzel a day earlier, his spokesman said.
"The president feels fine. Dr. (Richard) Tubb checked out his vital signs this morning. They're normal," press secretary Ari Fleischer said as Bush prepared to begin a two-day trip to the Midwest and Louisiana.
"The trip is on," he said.
Tubb said in a telephone interview Sunday that Bush quickly recovered from the episode, apparently brought on by swallowing a pretzel awkwardly which triggered a temporary decrease in heart rate. He said the president had been feeling under the weather over the weekend.
Bush, 55, suffered an abrasion on his left cheek the size of a half-dollar and a bruise on his lower lip from falling onto the floor from a couch.
The president fainted while alone in a room at the White House residence, watching the Baltimore-Miami National Football League playoff game on television and eating pretzels.
"He said it (the pretzel) didn't seem to go down right," Tubb said in a telephone interview. "The next thing he knew, he was on the floor.''
A nurse on duty at the White House was summoned at 5:40 p.m. EST. Tubb was paged eight minutes later. Bush, under his own power, used an elevator to go downstairs to the doctor's office for a complete exam.
Tubb said Bush believes he was out only for a few seconds because when he awoke, his two dogs were sitting in the same position they were when he lost consciousness.
"But the dogs were looking at him funny," Fleischer added.
Tubb, an Air Force colonel, examined Bush, including monitoring his heart, and found nothing abnormal.
But Bush has a rigorous exercise regime that keeps both his blood pressure and heart rate at low levels — a healthy plus that in this case appeared to be a factor in the fainting spell.
The pretzel-caused coughing apparently stimulated a nerve that further slowed Bush's heart rate, Tubb said.
In medical terms, it's called vasovagal syncope. The body sends a signal to the heart via the vagus nerve, slowing heart rate enough that the person briefly loses consciousness.
It's very common. Fear, even intestinal cramps, can cause vasovagal fainting.
"It's thought that pretty much everybody has one simple faint in their life. We see folks every day that have had a vasovagal reaction," said Dr. David Skibbie of Inova Fairfax Hospital in suburban Virginia. "It's alarming, but if everything checks out it's fine and they can go home without any concerns about their future health.''
A vasovagal episode isn't the only possibility, Skibbie said. Somewhat less common is cough syncope, where a coughing episode — similar to what Bush reportedly had — can increase pressure in the chest enough to momentarily lower blood pressure. It, too, is benign.
Ironically, people in good physical shape actually are more prone to such types of fainting, because their blood pressure and heart rate already is so low, he noted.
It is the first health scare for Bush as president.
But Tubb insisted it did not appear related to stress of extra work brought on by Bush's duties as commander in chief and the war in Afghanistan.
One possible additional factor, Tubb said, was that Bush had acknowledged feeling under the weather this weekend, as if he were coming down with a head cold. He continued his daily exercises nonetheless.