Since toddlerhood Hans has been a chipmunk eater. He takes enormous bites of food, stuffs them in his little cheeks, chews(that’s the important part) and swallows. I think this trait came from having two older brothers and a ravenous daddy to compete with, “I’d better get that cookie in my mouth before anyone tries to take a bite of it!”
Yes, he’s choked a few times but never seriously.
Last night we had one of our favorite meals– roasted deli chicken– and Hans was victorious in obtaining one of the drumsticks(by far the most coveted two pieces at our house).
A few minutes later Hans came to me and said, “Mom, I need you to do the Heimlich on me.” (What? Don’t your kids do this?) My efforts were unsuccessful, as was every other method we tried for the next 4 hours.
Poor Hans couldn’t keep down even a sip of water(I’ll spare you all the messy details) and was completely miserable. So after putting everyone else to bed and waiting too long for Instacare, I took him to the ER at 10 p.m. I thought we’d be home by 11:30.
The ER was completely packed. Every parking spot was taken, every chair was filled. The ER at night is such a strange place, especially at Primary Children’s, our beloved local children’s hospital that takes many, many charity cases. Many of the families in the waiting room appeared to be there simply to have a warm place to sit. Some were cradling broken limbs or rocking feverish babies but two of the families next t0 us were there for A. pink eye and B. a possible ear infection. I couldn’t imagine why they would want to sit in an ER waiting room all night for such mild problems– maybe they had nowhere else to go.
Other parents rushed in the front door crying, “My baby came on the ambulance ten minutes ago.” “My little boy is in LifeFlight.” So while I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be sitting in a stuffy room with Hans throwing up on me every ten minutes I was also profoundly grateful that his ailment was so mild. Even more so I was struck by my incredibly privileged life where I have access to a regular doctor, clean clothes, orthodontic work etc.
At 2 a.m. we were finally seen and sent off for x-rays, “Can’t you just stick something down his throat and fish it out?” Um, no. As simple as a foreign object in the throat may appear it takes all kinds of complicated questioning, exams, an IV drip and finally a trip to the OR. At 5:30 they gave us a bed to lie down on, at 8 a.m I was chatting with the anesthesiologist and head surgeon as they prepped Hans for surgery.
All for a piece of chicken.
We were home by 1:30 p.m. and Hans is his usual happy self but with a very sore throat. I’ve instructed the boys that no one is allowed to tease Hans today. But tomorrow Erik wants to hang a sign over the dinner table, “Bless. Bite. CHEW. Swallow.”