Monday, November 10, 2008

Know your choking protocol

Status: It's raining, it's pouring...
Song: "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions

There are lots of things that make me choke figuratively. Politics sometimes. The stupidity of some people (esp. myself). When my kids say something outrageous in all sincerity and I try hard not to laugh so I pretend to choke not to offend their sensibilities, etc. Even though that kind of choking has a lot of possibility for blog fodder, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the chunk of food caught in the airway so you can't breathe and start turning purple kind of choking.

**Complete aside: Some people make their blogs more artistic by changing font size and color. What do you think? Do you like it? Or is it just distracting?**

You're probably wondering why I'm addressing choking, then. Well, snuggle in and get comfortable because I've got a story.

Once upon a time...

...there was a family. This family had had a long couple of weeks, complete with friends in the hospital, hectic sports schedules, school projects, and the dad (we'll call him Jason) working insanely long hours. A Saturday with blessedly nothing on the calendar rolled around, and the parents decided that they really didn't want to cook. But since the mom (we'll call her Jaime) is a bit of a Penny Nazi (a nickname used in all affection, I assure you) they scoured the coupons and found one for 2 free kids meals at a nearby IHOP with the purchase of some adult food.

"Let's go, and even if the food is so-so, at least we didn't have to cook it," Jason and Jaime decided.

"Yippee! IHOP serves 4 star cuisine!" shouted the children.

The family *finally* piled into the mini-van with everyone's coats and shoes and headed to the restaurant, planning on some so-so or 4 star food (depending on the character) and at the least a semi-peaceful meal. Only semi because any time you throw 3 hungry kids into a booth waiting forever for their chicken fingers, there is inevitably some fighting and commotion. Although hopefully no one would color on the other's clothes with the crayons this time.

The food arrived and the family dug in, with varying degrees of enthusiasm (Jaime's sandwich was technically what she ordered. The kitchen didn't feel like following her request of not toasting the bread and not putting on the orange slices of American "cheese" - although calling that stuff cheese is really a stretch, like calling Campbell's soup "home-cooked", but I digress...). The family were talking and eating (and in the kids' case, doing both at the same time, a habit which the parents are working on diligently) when the oldest boy started choking.

He grabbed at his neck and started turning red. Jaime waited a second to see if he could cough the food out. When it was apparent he couldn't, she leaped across the table and yanked him from the booth, passing him with great aplomb to Jason. He wrapped his arms around his son and proceeded to do stomach thrusts (you may know that as the Heimlich maneuver) and back slaps. After some tense moments, (and three sets of stomach thrusts), the offending chunk of food dislodged and the boy started to cough. Dad collapsed onto a chair.

So much for the peaceful dinner out.

Jaime, in typical mom fashion, then emphatically hammered home the point, "That's why I keep telling you to take smaller bites!" Which has been a source of contention at meals for a while now.

The rest of the patrons got free entertainment with their meals, and the parents did not have to call 911, so I guess you could call it a success.

The moral of this (true) story? Know your choking protocol.

Here's an article that shows you how to do it. And here's an article at Wikipedia that explains the protocol.

And I am so grateful that we did know what to do.


Lori-ann said...

Wow. How scary! Good thing you guys knew what to do. And of course, I love your writing style - humorous yet informative. Very easy to read.

Deborah said...

So is a very grateful Nana