March 30, 2011

Disaster Averted

Ok so I'm sitting on my bed eating some roasted chicken (even if I do think I make it better than my husband does; he thinks different) and reading. Husband, son and daughter are all down the hall in the kitchen eating chicken. All of a sudden "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHCCCHHHHH" - this SCREAM of a choke starts coming down the hall, and I know it's my daughter, because it's her voice. Then it starts going on, and on, and ONNNN! She was choking sure as hell. Now I know the conventional wisdom and it's *normally* quite correct - as long as the person is making sounds or coughing (uh, which makes a sound) then leave them alone to get it out, right? But no, it was VERY clear with this sound that it was to be immediately followed by silence - either by a complete blockage of the airway or death, or both. Normally I'm very good in any emergency and I almost started running down the hall to Heimlich the kid (now again,normally you wouldn't Heimlich someone unless there was no sound, and there are very good reasons for that; you're trying to use the last bit of air left inside to dislodge whatever's stuck in there, but like I say, in this case if you had heard it you would know; it WAS time to try) - but for some reason instead I screamed "OH MY GOD HELP HER, PLEASE HELP HER!" (I was talking to my husband and son there, not praying for a miracle.) And as I'm screaming that I hear my husband say, "No, get UNDER there!" - now if there's one thing I've taught my kids, it's life-saving techniques and first aid. And remaining calm and pro-active during an emergency. It kept on and on...and then suddenly, it stopped and she was ok. I was JUST about to run down the hall (I can't run, but under the right conditions I could probably lift a car, you know?) and dial 911 but that wasn't the answer; the problem is that in that 4 minutes she would have been dead. And unfortunately our most local ambulance services closed up shop so it would be more minutes; we'd end up with some idiot asshole rookie cop telling us to wait for an ambulance or something. Hell, wait until I tell about the time I had a seizure and the difference between the ambulance help and the police help (hint: the cops always get there first.)

Anyway, I'm still screaming, "IS SHE OK, IS SHE??? WHAT HAPPENED?" and I heard, oh thank God, I heard her saying "It's OK Mommy".

But of course I had to get all the inside poop so I made them all come in and tell me what happened in detail. It was a CHICKEN BONE caught in her airway - almost but not quite fully blocking it. I said "So, did you get it up on your own, or did he get it up for you?" She said "Oh hell no, it wasn't going ANYWHERE; HE got it up! As soon as daddy told him to get UNDER there" (he started a tad too high).

So I started singing that song "How to save a life..." because I was so happy and proud. Why in hell she was chewing a bite with a bone in it I'll never know; I wouldn't. It was JUST like the scene in Amadeus where Salieri's father chokes on a chicken bone (he must have been a good actor because the sound was exactly the same only more drawn out and repeated many times.) So then of course I had to quote Salieri there - when his father was choking on a chicken bone, he said, "And then you know what happened? A MIRACLE!" See, he hated his father ;) But frankly I did not want to go watch this young woman I love die, part of why I hesitated, in fact.

Then I told my son "You actually saved her LIFE; you're a hero!" And no one will ever know; pity, that. But I can rest easy in the knowledge that I DID pass on some great tools and the ability to use them to the people that matter most to me. Sure, I could have done it - I HAVE done it, but to see someone else do it is awe-inspiring; especially when you know you were the one who taught them how.

Ok so I'll include one other anecdote (aren't you lucky! lol) - not the last thanksgiving but the one before that, our ailing cousin - well, my husband's cousin, but she's always treated me as family - was sitting next to me and she didn't have her plate in. And she didn't cut her turkey small enough. And it was slightly underdone,and thus a tad more...rubbery? (No, it wasn't rubbery; it was delicious, but rubbery will do.) And she was sitting right next to me, and suddenly...that sound. That horrible choking sound. And I did what you're supposed to; I asked her if she was choking, and she kept choking. Then I asked her if she was all right, and she shook her head no. Emphatically. See, you normally have some idea if you're gonna cough something up. She was still making sounds, but when someone tells you they're choking and they're NOT OK, you gotta go for it. So I jumped the hell up and grabbed her skinny ass and PUSHED. A second later, she said "Ok ok ok ok - I got it; it's up." I only had to do it once. Ideally, you only have to do it once; like I say, the idea is to use the last bit of air to dislodge the thing. Postscript - as she's standing there (did I forget to mention she stood up, as one naturally would, when she started choking really bad?) I saw across the table my brother-in-law sitting there looking extremely annoyed, rolling his eyes and looking at his I was like, the girl is CHOKING here, hello?!? (Girl...hehe, she's 50.) Anyway, later on he actually mentioned it disgustedly, about how she was "puking" on her plate. I said "She wasn't puking, she was CHOKING to death". her typical fashion of demeaning me in little ways (she doesn't know she's doing it so I don't fault her so much for it) she said, "You almost had it, too." Heh. That's the thanks I get for dislodging the turkey - you ALMOST had the spot. As though I didn't kick it the hell out personally. Ah well; I don't want credit - watchword for emergencies - remain calm, and employ your techniques. Use them appropriately, and be trained in first aid. No one remained calm or knew the techniques to breathe air into me when I stopped breathing so I pretty much drilled it into them even more after that. In fact, I drilled everyone who came to my house - "Hey, if I ever stop breathing, THIS is how you do it..." Hehe. I like to breathe. When I found out that CPR only works 2% of the time I was dismayed and when I read that those paddles of electricity can NOT *restart* your heart but can only stabilize an ailing heartbeat, I was doubly dismayed. What the hell did I learn all that stuff for? gotta try :) So...lives saved, many at any rate. Heh, when I swallowed a penny at 1 1/2 or 2 (I remember it, but I was tiny) my babysitter saw me sitting there not breathing and choking, and SHE hung me upside down by my feet and pounded me on the back. By the way, it worked! Out popped the penny! Gravity rocks!



Stephen T. McCarthy said...

That’s good stuffs right there! Bravo for your son and your ol’ man!

>>.....Why in hell she was chewing a bite with a bone in it I'll never know

Ha! That’s the question I was going to ask in my eternal commitment to retain my position as “Smart-Ass #1”, but you beat me to the punch. And don’t I hate it when that happens?!

Hey, I’ve been meaning to tell ya this . . .

I found a blogger I think you’ll really dig. And, in fact, I found her via YOUR blog. It seems she had posted a comment on your blog but then, for who-knows-what-reason, she decided to delete her own comment.

But I was curious anyway and clicked on her name and discovered her blog at:

Dang, this chick means serious bizness! But I think she may have gotten discouraged early on because no one had commented on her blog nor signed up to “Follow” it. I read several of her blog installments, posted her blog’s first comment and signed up as her first “Follower”. But she hasn’t been back since (and maybe she ain’t coming back), and so she probably doesn’t even know that her blog is beginning to catch on (I see my buddy DiscConnected is also “Following” her dead blog now).

But you should check her out, Anniee, because (I hate to say this but...) she reminds me of YOU – only on steroids... or at least on a couple of those 5-Hour Energy drinks! I know that’s hard to imagine, but... well... check her “stuffs” out!

Damn, but doesn’t she HATE the feminists!!! And I LOVE that! If I were a feminist, she would scare me (and I don’t scare easily).

Anyway, I hope she returns. I could do without so much of her profanity, but then maybe she wouldn’t be her without it. I’ll be very surprised if you don’t like her postings.

Yak Later, Anniee.

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

POSTSCRIPT: By the way, in 1974, I saved my brother Nappy's life. He went through a window tracking down a fly ball (playing baseball in the backyard) and cut the artery in one arm. I never saw so much blood in my life!

Anyway, he comes running up the stairs with blood shooting out of his arm all over the walls. After momentarily freaking out, I came back to my senses and applied a tourniquet to his arm until the paramedics got there. The paramedics later said that I unquestionably saved Nappy's life.

And he STILL hasn't forgiven me. said...

"Ha! That’s the question I was going to ask in my eternal commitment to retain my position as “Smart-Ass #1”

Haha, you think I don't think of EVERYTHING? Well, all I got to DO is think; if you think of something I haven't, absolutely share it, because I will enjoy hearing it.

"POSTSCRIPT: By the way, in 1974, I saved my brother Nappy's life. He went through a window tracking down a fly ball (playing baseball in the backyard) and cut the artery in one arm. I never saw so much blood in my life!"

Ugh...well without giving too many details, my daughter recently DID cut an artery in her lower left arm, and the blood was shooting up apparently like 3 feet in the air. I didn't see it, but once again I DID know she was in good hands. She had her daddy and her brother and a friend there. I was asking them about direct pressure, but that surely wasn't enough; what she NEEDED was someone to put pressure on the artery at the shoulder level. THAT is one aspect of first aid I haven't ever mastered. So my son was trying to make her a tourniquet...I explained to him later that tourniquet is really only for a severed limb and you have to put pressure on the "point" in her case. At any rate, GET THIS (you'll LOVE this) - they call for help and apparently help ain't coming anytime soon (as I said the GD local ambulance is closed up) and they're putting direct pressure on the point (in fact, daughter asked her friend "Please, I don't wanna go..." and her friend says "OK I'll let up for a second but if it's still bleeding real bad you gotta go" she lets up for a second and the blood shoots up like three feet in the air and the girl says "YOU'RE GOING, PERIOD") and hubby and son got there and simply, as her friend held direct pressure, just SCREAMED their way to the hospital down the street -and I mean that guy will do ninety; I've seen it - and the COPS FOLLOWED...why did they follow? To see if the girl was all right? To make sure everything was OK? NO. NO. The GD cops followed because they wanted to CHARGE my husband with INTERFERING in a police matter!!!! I am NOT FUCKING WITH YOU. Apparently the nurse got a bit testy with the arrogant cop-fucks and said "If he had made it here two minutes later she would have been dead!" and THEN the pigs backed off. But ONLY then. THEY ACTUALLY WANTED TO CHARGE THE PEOPLE WHO SAVED HER LIFE. Now MIND YOU, if there had been an AMBULANCE there it would have been different; they would have brought her there; THERE WERE NO AMBULANCES THERE and NONE COMING ANYTIME SOON!! the fuck IGNORANT are COPS? Oh goddammit; FUCK COPS and why the hell should I have to defend that position? FUCK COPS. End.

Anniee451 said...

That’s good stuffs right there! Bravo for your son and your ol’ man!"

Haha, you betcha. They're workingl class heros who will never get a song named after them. Just typical Joes, and no one will care. But we do. Who knows what Sarah or her progeny will do?

phthaloblu said...

Wow, good thing you taught them what to do. Learning what to do is one thing, actually employing that knowledge and staying calm, as you point out, is another matter altogether. I'm sure glad she's ok. :-)

Anniee451 said...

Phthalo, I just couldn't believe they could try to fault the girl's father in this case for BRINGING HER TO THE HOSPITAL when she was DYING. That's...well frankly it's insane. I gotta move to one of these country areas where cops aren't up your ass every step of the way. Of course that would make the hospital farther away, no? Then she still would have died. Fortunately she got platelets injected, and another transfusion and she was OK. Gah. Fucking idiot cops.

phthaloblu said...

I hear ya. They used to be ok around here, and now I cringe every time I see one. Bastards ticketed me for "chirping" my tires. WTF? I didn't know there was a law against it. I have two cars and both are manual shift, so when I go from one to the other, it takes a couple of miles before I get used to the one I'm driving. Assholes need to go after REAL criminals.