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