The world is but a canvas to the imagination...
Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fear. There is nothing like the fear that grasps you when your child staggers into the room clutching at his throat. We had a very frightening experience Monday night when Joey choked on a piece of meat. Terror and panic were in his eyes and he expected me to be able to fix it. That's what mom's do right? They fix things. Everything felt as if it was happening in two parallels. One slow as molasses and the other in double time because I knew he couldn't breathe. When he first came in and gasped water I handed him my glass, he couldn't swallow it, then in the next few seconds, he couldn't cough or make noise. It is a very strange experience when adrenaline takes over. Once I knew he was really choking on the obstruction and it couldn't be coughed out, I flipped him so he was facing the opposite direction and preformed the Heimlich maneuver. It took two strong thrusts and the meat literally popped out like a cork. We looked at each other in shock and then he understandably started crying. Shon was in the room by this time and we just sandwiched him in a hug. I was trying to be strong for him so I kept my head up so he couldn't see the tears in my eyes too. Kids recover quickly, although he really stuck close to me the rest of the night. We let him stay home yesterday, he was pretty sore, both his throat and stomach muscles. I think he was pretty shook up.

I literally want to thank God for the scouting program. Those of you that know us well, recognize that the scouting program is a huge part of our lives. As leaders in this program, Shon and I have both taken First Aid and CPR classes. I've also taken the Citizen Emergency Responder Training. The ironic thing is that I have always worried that I wouldn't remember what to do in an emergency. In fact, if we had been sitting visiting on that very Monday, I would have told you I had only a hazy recollection of the Heimlich Maneuver. What an amazing thing our long term memory is. What a crazy thing adrenaline is, I didn't consciously think, I didn't consciously expend the physical energy, but it happened and so very quickly. Both Joey and I were sore yesterday, I didn't even realize I was using those muscles.

I wavered about whether or not to blog this, I didn't want to come across as bragging. But after some thought I decided to post it because I feel like this saved my child's life on Monday. It is such a simple thing to do, to set aside time for the training. One day. That's all it takes. Every town has First Aid and CPR/Choking training. These can be taught in a variety of settings. Hospitals, civic classes and Enrichment meetings. The American Red Cross estimates that more than 3000 people a year die from choking. A day doesn't seem like a high price to pay to keep our kids safe. Below are some diagrams of what happened to us. It is important to try and actually get the training because if it is done improperly, on someone who is too young (very young children have a different technique) or if the person is not actually choking, it can cause physical damage. You will have to use your imagination when you look at the diagrams, apparently Joey and I have taken the time to get killer tans! loll. :-)


An acute upper airway obstruction is a blockage of the upper airway, which can be in the trachea, laryngeal (voice box), or pharyngeal (throat) areas.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause, but some symptoms are common to all types of obstruction.
Gasping for air
Wheezing, crowing, whistling, or other unusual breathing noises indicating breathing difficulty
Agitation or fidgeting

The universal sign for choking is clutching his or her throat with both hands. If the person can cough get him cough until the choking piece comes out. If the material is not coming out and person cannot talk or cough any more and becomes pale he or she needs immediate help. The current well accepted practice is to perform a Heimlich procedure on the choking person. Do not perform this procedure unless you are sure that the person is chocking. Because choking cuts of oxygen to brain, the victim needs immediate help. Heimlich procedure is performed as below:

1.From behind, wrap your arms around the victim's waist. 2.Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's upper abdomen, below the ribcage and above the navel. 3.Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands. 4.Repeat until object is expelled.


Amy said...

What a scary thing for you guys! I am so glad that Joey is o.k. and that you had the knowledge of what to do! I fear that same thing happening to us one day. Luckily, Wes has taught me quite a few things in this category. I just hope I will never have to use it!

Lesli said...

I am so glad Joey is okay!!!! I thought your post was wonderful and your message is exceptional! Thank goodness for the scouting program!

Joan said...

I just can't imagine how scary that was. It's always a good reminder to review the procedures for choking. I choke so easily that I need everyone around me to know the H maneuver. Now I know that when you are there I'll be OK.
Hugs to Joey.

Mom O

Colett (*-*) said...

That is frightening!!!! You are a hero! Thank you for saving my nephew.

Margaret Kay said...

Oh Kee! I'm so glad you didn't decide not to blog this! It IS so scary, and yet how wonderful and positive the ending! You know, I found myself in an emergency like this when I was alone, once. I used the end of the kitchen counter - the thrust is the same and the outcome too. I assumed angels were attending me. In your case - you are the angel, so don't worry about boasting. We need angels.