Superglue mistake: 'I thought I was going to die'

Hamish McNeilly

HER lips were sealed, but a woman who mistakenly glued her mouth shut now can't stop talking about her "near death" experience.

The Dunedin grandmother, who glued her lips together after applying a superglue instead of cold sore cream on Thursday night, told the Otago Daily Times: "I thought I was going to die".

The 64-year-old was too embarrassed to be be named or photographed yesterday.

The incident was sparked after she woke to apply some cold sore cream, kept in a drawer at her St Kilda flat.

Without turning on a light, she saw the yellow label of what she believed was the cream and "thought that's it' and went back to sleep".

"I woke up, I think minutes later, to have a drink and I couldn't open my mouth ... I panicked," said the woman, who also had a blocked nose after coming down with the flu.

"I thought I was going to die."

Frantically trying to pull her lips apart, she phoned 111 ''but couldn't speak. All I could do was grunt''.

''They asked me where I lived and all I could say was 'mmmmmm'.

''I was dry retching. I felt like I was going to be sick. I was panicking. I couldn't open my mouth.''

Told to tap once for no and twice for yes on her phone's speaker, she answered a series of questions including whether she lived in the South Island, whether she lived in Christchurch/Dunedin etc, followed by suburbs and major streets.

The emergency call went on for 20 minutes, by which time a police dog handler had arrived.

The police had been called because of fears the woman had been gagged.

She showed them the glue and the cream, and was taken to Dunedin Hospital.

Doctors used paraffin oil and hot water to loosen her lips and she said ''it was like a wee chicken coming out of her shell''.

The first gasp of air "was wonderful. I thought 'praise the Lord'."

She threw the glue in the rubbish bin yesterday.

The woman expressed thanks to emergency services staff.

A St John spokesman was pleased to hear the woman was recovering.

"The call taker who communicated with her did an excellent job of ascertaining where the patient lived, while the crew did what they could to assess and treat her, and make her as comfortable as possible, while she was taken to hospital."

Topics:  editors picks emergency services injury

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