Thursday, December 14, 2006

In the Zone: Life and Death

At no personal risk to myself I saved my eldest daughter's life yesterday.

She and I were sitting at the table, and having an after school chat. She was eating fritos. Well, I said something mildly funny and suddenly, there she was. She leaned over, her face turned red, she was not breathing. She grabbed her throat. "Are you choking???" She nodded. It had happened so fast, instantly! I told her to stand up. I got behind her and did the Heimlich maneuver, and at first it did not work. So I kept at it. The thoughts going through my head: "I have no car (stupid, not like I'd be able to drive her anywhere if this were not to work, duh). This has to work. This has to work. I can't believe I'm Heimliching the same person for the second time in her life! What are the odds? This HAS to work!!!"

And in this process, the skirt I was wearing somehow came unzipped and fell off my butt, so I'm standing in the dining room performing the Heimlich on an adult-sized twelve year old in my skivvies. Lovely. Just lovely. But I didn't care. I was in the zone. You know the zone. It's the place women who are in labor go to, where physicality is subsumed by the task at hand and modesty just does not matter anymore.

Eventually (less than a minute of Heimliching, I'm sure), she could breathe but still felt the chip lodged in her throat. She was gagging, it was less than lovely, but in the zone lovely does not matter. The chip had gotten out of her windpipe and into her esophagus and nothing but lots of water could help.

Imagine swallowing a Frito like a pill. Yikes.

To Do today:

1) Put some elastic in that skirt!
2) Crush all fritos into fine powder. (Well, perhaps not...)

In other News:

I was tossing and turning yesterday morning in the wee hours, coughing my head off at intervals when I heard an explosion. It was loud. A BOOM! My mental image was a big gray ball of rapidly expanding smoke and debris. My first thought was to inventory smells and household noises to ascertain that the explosion did not in fact take place in my own home. No, it must have been down the street somewhere. Should I call 911? Within seconds I started hearing sirens. Someone's on it, I think. Why are they so far away, when the explosion was just down the block?

Later in the day my husband says to me: "Did you hear about the explosion down at the Smucker's factory? I heard about it on the radio while I was on the way to work." "I heard the explosion! It was in the wee hours."

The Smucker's factory is about a mile from here, as the crow flies. Apparently there was an explosion in the sugar silo. Employees had the fire contained by the time the Fire department got there, and we did not hear of any casualties, thank God. This incident, however, gives new meaning to the term "Sugar Bombs".

So, next time you dip into your JIF Peanut Butter or your Smucker's jelly, say a prayer of thanks to God for the protection and safety of the people who make the stuff.

4 comments:

Theodora said...

I had a nice long post and blogger ate it, so let me just say, Thank God! for your skills and presence of mind!

Mimi said...

Yikes! You have amazing presence of mind, thanks be to God!

DebD said...

Amazing! Thank God she is okay.

Deb

Liz in Seattle said...

Glory to God! You know, my ten year old Webelo scout just learned the Heimlich from his den leader (a firefighter and CPR instructor). I'm going to share your story with him, to show him that YES, it does happen!

FWIW, I hate Fritos. I always knew there was a reason...