Last night, we were sitting in the living room, watching TV and eating orange sections. Suddenly, Pokemon Boy turned to me, eyes wide with panic, making the classic hand movements around his mouth and neck. He was choking.
In an attempt to not drip orange juice on the carpet, he had popped a whole section into his mouth, gave it a couple chomps and swallowed it. It had broken into two sections still connected by some of the surrounding skin-type stuff (I don't know the right word for it). So one section had gone down and one had gotten caught in the back of his throat.
He made some really big gagging motions and I thought he had cleared it. "Did you get it? Can you breathe?" He frantically shook his head "no!". GAH! He kept trying to gag and I could tell he was trying to cough it out. But he couldn't take air IN. After a few more tries, he was still not getting air. I started to stand up to get behind him for the Heimlich. And I tell you, I have never had to perform that on anyone. Let alone on a kid. And my OWN kid.
As I stood, Pokemon Boy started reaching into his mouth. I thought, "Duh! I'm supposed to try a finger sweep first!" He reached in a couple of times and actually pulled out the top-most piece. I think doing that pulled the lower piece up to where his gag reflex could push it out. He got it into his mouth and I said, "Spit it out! Don't worry about the mess. Just spit it out." He coughed it out and then broke down crying.
I was numb. I've taken CPR and Basic Lifesaving so many times. And when other people have needed help, I just go into that "Let's do this thing" mode. But I tell you, when this happened, I just kind of jumbled everything in my head. Denial being the strongest emotion I had to overcome. This can't possibly be happening - a real choking situation with my 9 yr old. It happens to babies and old people.
Pokemon Boy cried for a good while. He told me that he really had thought he might die and had never been that terrified in his life. The whole event probably lasted a minute - possibly two. Probably not even that long. But if you've ever not been able to breathe - for whatever reason - you know that 30 seconds feels like 3 hours! And when it's your baby standing there dealing with something like that, it feels longer, too.
I held him a lot. He cried off and on for a while. We prayed and thanked God for keeping Pokemon Boy safe. For keeping him calm enough to have the sense to reach in to his own mouth and clear the obstacle. We just sat there going, "Thank you God! Thank you God!!!!"
After a while, Pokemon Boy asked me, "What if I couldn't have pulled it out of my throat?" I said, "Well, I would have done the Heimlich." I had to show him what that was (not fully). "Well, what if THAT hadn't done it? Then what would you have done?" I told him I would have called 911. He was very stoic and realistic as he flatly declared, "They wouldn't have made it in time." I told him, "They would have saved you. I can tell you that!" I didn't get into details. It's not a place my mind easily goes.
After sitting there together for a while, he calmed down. We were quiet for a time - just holding him against me, silently thanking God. "Mom? Are you going to put this on Facebook?" The question really cracked me up. "Well, I guess that's up to you, buddy." Usually when something happens that makes him this upset, he doesn't want anyone to know. But he said, "You can if you want to." I said, "Well, I would probably blog about it because there's more to it than a status update." He nodded. "Well, you can put it wherever you want to." I smiled to myself. What a funny world where my kid knows that all of our family stories go onto a blog.
So that was our very short-lived moment of terror. Once again, God rockin' the rescue.
Thank you, God. Thank you for my kids.