Since I was a child (now in early 50's), I have had episodes when my airway seemed to have clamped almost shut. I can swallow when this happens but it seems that there is an obstruction that keeps me from breathing, even though I don't feel any physical change. Most often it is when i'm drinking a liquid, and it seems as if there's a spot that, when touched, triggers this reaction. It's even happened when it was just a matter of routine swallowing (saliva, no food), and I hesitate to sleep on my back because of the chance that this will happen (and it has!). During an episode, I can't breathe through my mouth and only a little through my nose, making a horrific sound as if i'm, well, choking! I had a doctor look at this, but there was no physical abnormality that might cause it. An occurrence doesn't last long (it just seems forever), but the last one was long enough to make me feel that it was the big one. Has anyone experienced this? I would certainly appreciate some insight!
Since I posted the question, I've discovered that it's a condition known as phryngospasm--a web search will tell you more about it. During an episode, I've tried making strong swallowing movements in hopes of easing the contraction of the pharynx that causes this, but I really can't judge as to whether this is really effective in shortening the occurrence, since it certainly doesn't stop it. Sorry that I couldn't help, but perhaps, as with myself, it's a little reassuring for you to know that it's a recognized medical condition; obviously, the doctor who examined me years ago was not familiar with it.