Laryngeal spasm, a relatively rare disorder in which, for reasons unknown, the larynx spasms shut without warning. (It's been described as a charlie horse in the throat). Most cases strike people with GERD. Mine is probably caused by post-nasal drip (now there's a sexy diagnosis: "not tonight, honey, I have post-nasal drip"). It turns out that mucous thickens as you age and certain environmental factors - air-conditioning, antihistamines and inadequate water intake - can make it thicker. The doctor assured me you can't die from this. "You might pass out, but that would immediately open the larynx....so find someplace to sit down next time, just in case." He taught me ways to relax my throat and offered ideas for preventing another attack.
It's amazing how learning the name for what you have and realizing it's really a "thing" can drastically reduce your anxiety level. I'd been a total wreck all week, reliving the trauma over and over, being hyper-aware of my post-nasal situation at all times. It's still scary, but information is power and I now feel like I can deal.
Here's the lesson: Don't wait until you think you're dying to see a doctor for something that's clearly abnormal. The older we get, the more dangerous denial becomes.
Take care of yourselves, friends. (I'm getting a massage this afternoon!)