Well, I've met my drama quota for the day, how about you?
It was just after 1:00 pm and I'd put Matthew down for a nap. Bless his little soul, he still takes naps most of the time. There's a reason he's my favorite. Oh, okay, I don't have a favorite but if I did, and if it was based on napping alone, Matthew would be the hands down winner. Anyway, he was asleep--or at least well on his way--and I was cleaning out a drawer in my kitchen. Garrett was talking to me (if I had a favorite and it was based on communication skills alone, Garrett would take the cake) and simultaneously sucking on a candy he got at preschool today. It was one of those round, pastel, hard candies that resemble a Lifesaver but are quite a bit larger.
All the sudden, mid sentence, The Rock Star started to scream. It wasn't an angry shriek or a scared sob. It was a turn-your-blood-cold-because-something-is-really-wrong-with-your-kid scream. He immediately clutched his throat. "Ahhh. Ahhh. Ahhhh!" He wailed.
"Can you breathe?" I asked. Because, seriously, if that thing was lodged in a place where he couldn't get air, he was rapidly losing whatever oxygen he had left and I was going to be calling 911 in a New York minute.
"No!" He wailed. Dramatic inhale. "I can't breathe." Dramatic inhale. "It hurts." Dramatic inhale. "Really bad! Ahhhhhh!"
Okay. So we established that he could, in fact, breathe. My heart rate slowed from an adrenaline frenzied rapid pump to a concerned quick beat. I might have been able to think like a rational adult if not for the screaming. I grabbed the phone.
My husband is no doctor but on more than one occasion I've heard the story of the time he swallowed his Sunday school offering. He was a few years older than Garrett and was taught a quick lesson on why we don't put quarters in our mouths. It lodged somewhere near the bottom of his neck. At the time, they happened to have a doctor attending their church. He took one look at Troy, shoved two fingers down my husband's throat and up came the quarter.
Garrett was pointing to the same spot on his neck that Troy has described as momentarily housing a quarter. I tried to dial Troy's cell. Maybe it was the concerned mother. Maybe it was the screaming. Maybe it was the adrenaline still coursing through my veins. I dialed something like 192-7116 which isn't really even close to my husband's number. And there was no area code involved which, if I actually want to reach Troy, I need to dial. I hung up. "Get me water!" My son commanded as if I was the dumbest human being on the planet and he, himself, possessed a medical degree.
I grabbed a cup, filled it with water, and thrust it at him. He swallowed. "Did it go down?"
"No! It hurts. Ahhh! What are we gonna do? It's going to hurt forever!" At this point he starting swallowing dramatically. When that didn't produce desired results, he began spitting a sticky foam all over the floor.
"I need to call daddy. You need to stop screaming. I know it hurts." I rubbed his back. "I know. I know. I'm going to help you."
I called Troy. Correctly. He didn't answer. I called the office. The church secretary went and got him for me and I asked him what to do. "Should I shove my fingers down his throat or take him to the doctor?" I asked.
"Well, you can try to make him throw up and if that doesn't work you can take him in."
"Okay. How do I do it? I don't want to hurt him."
"Just shove them down there until he throws up," he replied.
"Keep me posted."
I hung up. Then I took The Rock Star outside. I know. It might not have been my finest parenting moment but, well, I didn't want to have him throw up in the toilet because I didn't want to fish around for the object to make sure it had come up. And, since he wasn't having trouble breathing and, therefore, his death wasn't imminent, I also preferred not to have to clean his vomit up off the floor. Call me a horrible mother but it took an extra seven seconds to get outside and he was irrationally yelling at me the whole time. "No! You are not going to make me throw up! I don't like to throw up. Barfing hurts my throat."
That last one really got me. If I wasn't worried about his pain level at that point I would have asked whether barfing or having something stuck hurt worse. Because if he wanted to live his life with a hard candy stuck in his throat who I am to judge? To each his own.
I told him to open his mouth. He batted at my hand, turned, and ran up the slide into his play yard. I turned around. "Okay, fine, I guess it'll just hurt then." I started to open the door. I do this reverse psychology thing on my kids a lot. Sometimes it dawns on me that I'm up a creek if they don't bite. "Hi, just ignore him. He never stops screaming because he's had a candy stuck in his throat for a month and a half." Thankfully he turned and came to me. I shoved my fingers deep down his throat. He gagged. Nothing happened.
"It still hurts! It's still there! Ahhhh!" He wailed. I reached for his mouth again. "No! I don't want you to do it again! I said I don't want to barf!"
As soon as he said that he keeled over at the waist and violently began to heave. I'm still not sure whether he took matters into his own hands or whether his body just took over on auto pilot. He heaved. Foam and sticky saliva came out. He heaved again. More foam. More sticky saliva. He heaved and retched. Up came a chewed tomato. Up came phlegm and gunk. Up came the hard Easter candy.
"Are you okay now?" I asked.
He smiled. "Yes."
I picked the candy up from the grass.
At that point I realized that my right hand was coated with a very sticky, very slimy, saliva. I'm still not entirely sure how it got there. We walked in the house. He saw another hard Easter candy, still in the wrapper. Looking at it with disgust he muttered, "I am not going to eat that."
I washed my hand. It took great quantities of soap and quite a lot of scrubbing to get the saliva off. Apparently his throat started mass producing some kind of coating.
Then I did what any good mom would do. You know, to make up for the fact that I made my anguished child walk outside to throw up. I took pictures.
The set up of this photo is two fold. On the one hand, I thought that by having the candy next to a quarter, people would get an idea for the size of the candy.
All in all, it was about a five minute ordeal (much shorter than the 15 minute ordeal Troy went through). I have every reason to believe that his body would have broken it down relatively quickly--although I never would have just let it go what with the way he was shouting and sobbing. Thankfully it was just a candy. As Troy pointed out, if he'd had to wait for his body to break down the quarter, it would probably still be there.