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Chugging eggnog at office party lands man in hospital


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UTAH COUNTY — Over the years, holiday office Christmas parties have gained a reputation for crazy antics. Often, there's a lot of heavy drinking. One overly zealous drinker in Utah County nearly killed himself a couple of weeks ago, winding up in the hospital for three days.

Even though the drinks at the party contained no alcohol, a heavy drink nearly put Ryan Roche out of commission for the holidays.

"I think it was one of those spur of the moment kind of things," Roche said.

As his holiday office party wound down earlier this month, Roche headed for the door with his wife and kids.

"They busted out some eggnog."

An eggnog-chugging contest was getting started, and one of Roche's colleagues called him out to compete. Roche said he's a competitive guy and couldn't walk away.

"I've already decided, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to win," he said.

The record at that point was 22 seconds. There was a Ruth's Chris Steak House gift card on the line, so Roche faced off against two other co-workers.

"I just opened up my throat, didn't even swallow," he said. "I pretty much poured it down."

I was pretty much shaking uncontrollably. I was shaking so badly, I was nauseous, and my breathing became a pant.

–Ryan Roche

As the video shows, he drank a quart of eggnog in just 12 seconds, without taking a breath.

"I got done, and I was gasping, I couldn't breathe."

Roche said he was coughing a lot as he headed home, but thought he would be OK. A couple of hours later, he wasn't so sure.

"I was pretty much shaking uncontrollably," he said. "I was shaking so badly, I was nauseous, and my breathing became a pant."

He asked a friend in medical school to come over to his house and check on him. The friend took him to the hospital.

Roche had aspirated the eggnog to his lungs and was essentially "dry drowning," the doctors told him.

"They pretty much had to wheelchair me in, double IV, oxygen, and hooked me up to what they call the nuclear weapon of antibiotics," he said.

The liquid in his lungs was starting an infection. He spent 24 hours in intensive care with a fever, sweats and chills.

"It was rough," he said. "Eggnog: not ideal for the lungs."

On day three in the hospital, doctors took him off oxygen, and he went home. After about a week, he was back at full strength.

It was a holiday mishap he'll never forget, and also probably never live down. Roche did win, but at quite a price.

"Not only do I get a Ruth's Chris gift card, but I got a three night's stay in the hospital."


Jed Boal


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