Saturday, February 9, 2008

The choking-on-an-eraser freak-out.

One day after Dori suffered the mild concussion, I came real close to taking her to the ER again.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed something white in her mouth and then saw a mechanical pencil, sans eraser, lying on the floor. Rather than just tell her to spit it out, I did the stupidest possible thing. I stuck my finger in her mouth to retrieve it. I swept my finger across her tongue and managed to shove the eraser right down her throat. Seriously, I can't even believe how dumb and dangerous that was. They always say, if your child is choking and you need to sweep their mouth to remove the object, make real sure you see where it is so you don't make matters worse. Well I made matters worse.

She wasn't even choking, so I didn't need to do anything drastic at that point. At the point I saw it the eraser was still at the front of her mouth.

In a split second I tried to figure out what to do next. Should I try to stick two fat fingers in and get it out? (Don't worry, I ruled out that option.) Should I have her cough it up? Should I call 911? Should I have her swallow it down? Should I turn her upside down and shake? Have I ruined my baby?

I told her to cough and started hacking myself to show her how. She just looked at me funny and saw how scared I was, then started to cry. I figured she was breathing and then commonsense (finally!) set in and I realized that breathing is really good and that crying can't happen if the child is not breathing. The eraser was really tiny, and although they say a toddler's trachea is about the size of their pinky finger, it seemed like this would go down. I checked inside her mouth and it seemed like it must be down by now.

I tried to get her to drink water to make sure it was down and not lodged in her throat, but she was crying so hard by then she just wouldn't do it. So, again probably not the smartest move, but I was desperate, I offered her some medicine. She had been taking some for her headaches from the concussion and I knew she would be willing to swallow it. I gave her the smallest possible amount of liquid Children's Motrin just to get her to swallow something. Then she was willing to wash that down with big gulps of water.

I kept watching her all afternoon just to make sure she was OK.

I had in mind the time my friend's son swallowed a quarter. He was 5 and told his dad right away, who called the ambulance. The paramedics checked him out and said he was fine, but a couple days later he kept complaining his throat hurt and didn't even want to drink so his mom took him to the doctor. It was a good thing because the quarter had lodged in his throat. My friend showed me photos later and the coin was about the same size as his trachea. Fortunately it was in at an angle so he could still breathe. Had it tipped, who knows what would have happened? He had it surgically removed and all of us in our group were sure to hide the coins from the kids.

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