My 911 Call — And what I did totally wrong

Let me start off by saying that everything is just fine, though I am still quite tearful simply because I was so scared.

The unexpected happens… it comes out of the blue and you’re never quite prepared.

In our case, we had just hopped into the car for afternoon activities.  I was rumbling up our very steep driveway. But suddenly I could tell somethings was wrong with ED… she was making funny noises — gagging, gurgling.  I stopped the second I could (at the top of the driveway), jumped out of my seat, pulled her out of the car, and started asking her if she was okay… Are you okay, are you okay?  She was drooling, spitting and still making strange sounds, her hands were up near her throat…  though within a short bit (10? 20? 30 seconds?) she could talk. But the gagging, heaving, drooling continued. She managed to tell me that she swallowed candy (I knew right away it was some hard candy we had left over from the weekend).  She was pointing at her chest (the area just below her neck) and saying, “it’s stuck…” then gagging and spitting some more.

Of course, we all know breathing, talking are all good signs. The person is clearly not choking and in imminent danger.  But… she continued to gag which scared me.  At that point, I didn’t really know what to do. Since she was clearly not choking I was hesitant to call 911… but then with the gagging, rasping voice… clutching at her throat (well, just below the neck area)… I decided I’d better get her to a hospital to be checked out.  At that point, if I was deciding on the hospital the better choice would have been to call 911 then? That’s what I’m thinking now. But I didn’t want to bother anyone when she could breathe & talk.

So I started off to the hospital… but promptly got stuck behind a bus that stopped over and over and over and over… It makes me tear up and want to cry because it felt like that horrible nightmare where you need to get somewhere, but you can’t move.  There I was stopping behind this school bus unable to make forward progress  as ED gasped and threw up (water)… and then would stop making much noise (which scared me all the more).


Since she sits behind me I couldn’t glance around and see her. Being now deaf in one ear and very hard of hearing in the other… I was panicky when I couldn’t hear her.

So finally, I decided I’d better call 911 if even for some advice. Do I take her in? If something is caught in the throat is she in danger or will the muscles just naturally push it down?  Can she choke on the candy if she’e wretching and gagging and trying to throw up?? I just didn’t know.

The 911 operator had me pull over and just wait for help to come to me… up rushed the fire truck and ambulance… They assessed ED… which, you know, took a little while… but eventually as I gave our name and details, she was able to talk more and more clearly. They said they were happy to take her in to the hospital, but they felt that she was in no danger and that the candy either scraped her on the way down or would make its way down on its own.  I was fine with that because ED really did seem to be talking more easily and we made the decision to head home.


When we got home, I had ED drink a little bit of water.  About 10 (?) minutes later, she said she could feel the candy move out of her throat/chest.

So all is well. Except for me and my frayed nerves.  I can’t help but go over the whole scenario… and second guess everything.  I think I should have called for advice from the get-go rather than getting into the car where I couldn’t really monitor her… especially since I got stuck in traffic almost immediately out of our neighborhood.  Sigh…

Anyway, I thought I’d share our incident because we all have thoughts about what we could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done  after the fact…

And let me add, how grateful I am for the individuals who have trained so hard and respond to the community in these scary moments… those EMTs and fire fighters.   Yup, I’m feeling pretty grateful all the way around.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons


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10 Responses

  1. Lynn says:

    I am so sorry for you all. How utterly terrifying. I’m glad she is ok now.

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Thanks Lynn! Scary, for sure. I’m still tearful even though I know she’s totally fine. We’ve had hug after hug after hug in our family this evening! ~Liesl

  2. Melissa Schweighardt says:

    I’m so happy to read she is doing fine now. Reminds me of when I walked into my room to find my 2 month old son having a seizure. We live in the country and I just wanted him to be at the hospital 15 minutes away. For us it was a good choice, come to find out our neighbor down the street called 911 a few weeks earlier and it took them 35 minutes to get to them.

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      That sounds scary, especially for such a young infant. Yikes! I have to say, once I called 911 I was truly impressed by how quickly they arrived. It was within a few minutes, but what held me back at first was that nagging feeling that I might be asking for help when someone else might be in more dire need (since my daughter *could* breathe). It’s hard when it’s not quite as clear-cut, you know?

  3. Christine says:

    How scary! Glad your daughter is ok. Sounds like you could use a hot bubble bath (and more hugs from your kiddos and husband) ; )

  4. Kylie says:

    So scary Liesl, thank goodness she is all ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you acted in the best way you knew how at the time. I don’t think any of us knows how we will react to such situations until we are placed in them. I hope you are doing much better with the situation now x

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Thanks for the kind words! After a good night’s sleep, we’re all feeling good and have a better perspective about the whole thing. It sure is hard to know how to react in these kinds of situations. Glad it’s behind us! 🙂 On a good note, Hubby and I talked about some things we need to go over with the kids again… We really need to practice our family fire drill, for example. And, we’ve never had the kids do a kids’ Red Cross training class like I had when I was a child. We need to bump those up on our “to do” list for sure!

  5. Ruth K says:

    Oh man! That’s so scary! Glad to hear she’s okay. My 7 year-old scared me like that a few weeks ago. After her gymnastics class they get to choose a piece of candy (uh! Why?!), and she choose a piece of hard candy. She’s sitting above me on the bleachers while I’m watching the younger kids in their class and suddenly I hear this horrible sound. It’s my daughter choking on her candy. Thankfully it managed to make it’s way down pretty quickly, but her throat felt pretty bruised and we were both pretty traumatized.

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