If you’re interested in reading about a total adrenaline rush where the story ends happily, read on.
I had actually planned for this blog post to be something light and more of a “life lately” sort of thing in which I would tell you about the fun the kids had as we helped them create homemade butterfly valentines for their friends out of a packet of M&Ms, a clothespin and googly eyes. And about the latest adventures to the park in which the kids were such good buddies to one another. And of course how we made homemade, heart-shaped pizzas for dinner on February 14. (Here is some light-hearted photographic evidence.)
Instead, I’ll be sharing the sheer panic I felt when I got a call from my daughter’s preschool teacher on Tuesday while I was on a Zoom meeting with a client.
It was just before 10am and I was going over a project with a client when I saw my daughter’s preschool phone number pop up on my phone. Suspecting something plain like, ‘please bring more diapers to pickup’ I was met with a shaky-voiced teacher who quickly told me there was a choking incident during snack time. I needed to get down there to meet paramedics immediately.
They told me on the phone that they were able to get the object out (a piece of a strawberry) and that she was breathing, so I knew that she was ok, but the thought of what had just transpired still freaked me out and I wanted nothing more than to beam myself to her so I could be with her and make sure she was ok with my own eyes.
To be honest, I don’t remember exact details of how the phone call went, but I do remember rushing off my Zoom and hanging up on my client while words explaining my sudden departure were likely still trailing off my lips. I remember in my rush to get there, I started to back my car out before the garage door was all the way up (luckily not doing any damage to either the door or the car in the process) and then absolutely flying down Highway 29 praying I wouldn’t get caught for speeding.
I don’t really remember calling my husband as I backed out of the driveway, though he was obviously my first call, but I do remember getting incredibly frustrated that the left turn light from Jefferson onto Trower wasn’t turning green fast enough and maybe cursing it out loud through tears as I contemplated running it.
I remember calling my mom and her trying to calm me down and then finally getting to the highway and my wheels screeching around the corner as I pulled up to her school in front of an ambulance. I also remember the mad dash I made to hold her but I couldn’t tell you from whom I took her. Maybe it was the EMT? Maybe her teacher? Not sure.
By the time I arrived, she was calm and (I was told) her color was returning, but the EMTs suggested that I take her to her pediatrician for a full once-over to be sure. Dave arrived at some point and I remember her reaching for him when he got here and the three of us just sort of holding onto one another while we got the full story, which was that she got a piece of strawberry caught pretty deep in there and the teachers had a really hard time dislodging it. They tried all the measures they had been taught in an emergency like that, including calling 911 when it became apparent it wasn’t going to come out easily.
Luckily, they were able to work the strawberry piece up high enough to where one of the teachers could see it and was able to sweep her mouth and hook it out, but not before she turned blue and started to go limp (!!). They told us they would spare us the details on the severity of it all, but needless to say, we were all shaken up.
After the EMTs released her to us, we called her pediatrician to get her seen and headed there but since they couldn’t see her for about an hour, we ended up heading home to wait and collect ourselves for a bit. She said she was hungry, which I took as a good sign, so we had a few bites of yogurt. She insisted that her throat didn’t hurt and we checked her over for bruises, as were told to expect some, given the use of force to dislodge the item. None appeared, but even the thought of that possibility is enough to make my eyes start to sting with tears again.
By the time we arrived at the pediatrician’s office, she was pretty much her old self, chatting away. The doctor listened to her lungs and told us everything seemed fine and sounded clear. She asked if we knew if they had removed the all of the pieces, to which I replied I didn’t even think to ask (duh! Let that be a lesson unto itself!). As it turns out, it was an entire piece that got stuck and they did get all of it, and since she hadn’t been coughing, the doctor was not concerned about any residual issues.
After the appointment, we took Dave back to get his car from her school and she and I went home to have some (miniscule-sized) bites of lunch, followed by a much-needed rest (for both of us). I didn’t even mind undoing any progress we had made in getting her to sleep on her own, and I curled up with her next to me in her bed for the next two hours.
She is fine now, almost a week later, and does not seem to be “traumatized” by anything that happened that day. She does tell us she is taking little bites so she doesn’t choke (wise) and she eagerly asked for a basket of strawberries at the farmer’s market on Saturday (we declined for now- I’m not there yet) so she definitely remembers. These days, we’re enjoying making goofy faces in the mirror after the bath a little bit more.
All I can think about is how grateful I am that she is ok and that her teachers were properly trained.
It’s certainly a day I won’t soon forget.