Last week, we had just finished dinner and the kids were pottering about when I noticed Thomas was choking. I thought he must’ve picked some food and it was simply going down ‘the wrong way.’ Except Katie shouted that he had actually taken her money and put it in his mouth.
The most innocent thing had occurred between the two – Katie had fetched ‘charity pennies’ for her assembly the next day. Thomas had grabbed one of the coins and when Katie went to take it back he put it in his mouth.
At this point, I am well aware that Thomas is indeed a gremlin. From his food scavenging habits to the lengths he’ll go to in order to stop his sister from claiming back her money.
The problem is that his actions in this instance stopped him from breathing.
It was incredible how quickly our evening turned from enjoyment to panic. Thomas wasn’t moving any air, black slaps didn’t work and it wasn’t until an abdominal thrust was effective that he started to breathe again.
On the way to Sick Kids to get him checked out my head ran through all the possible ‘what ifs.’
What if Katie hadn’t shouted about the coin so quickly? What if the abdominal thrust hadn’t worked? What if I hadn’t been on that First Aid course with that fastidious teacher?
There was no way that my head could even begin to process how differently our evening could have ended.
By the time we had reached the hospital, Thomas was bouncing off the walls once more and was soon causing chaos in the waiting room. What was reassuring was the staff, who reiterated that I had in fact done the right thing. His oxygen level, blood pressure and abdominal area all needed to be checked and thankfully – are all fine. But it was so evident that we were remarkably lucky.
Unable to change the past I’ve sought to change the future instead. Charity pennies are well and truly relegated to the highest shelf only to be handed out at the last minute. And I am no longer under the impression that Thomas is past the ‘shoving everything in mouth’ stage. But I’ve also been frantically checking that my closest friends would know what to do in the same instance.
Please do check out the NHS page ‘How to help a choking child‘ but if you’ve got the chance to take a Paediatric First Aid Course then take the opportunity. It really could change your life.
P.S. Every Friday, I like to feature an illustration by the super talented Alison Soye. This week is no exception – A Little Monster to represent Thomas!