Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Kiki Scared Mommy. Happy Halloween, Mommy!

Yesterday morning, Kiki was having her usual breakfast of oatmeal and fruit cocktail. Kipp had just left for work. The day was pretty much starting out as usual.

I break up the fruit a little before I put it on her tray to eat. Most of canned fruit is really soft, so it doesn't have to be itty bitty pieces, but I'm generally careful about say the grapes, the cherries, and the pineapple. So I was breaking up this piece of pineapple into two smaller pieces, and as I was putting it on her tray, I thought, "Hmm, I can feel a little bit of the core still on the end of that one. I wonder if it could get stuck in her throat."

And then she swiped it up, shoved it into her mouth, chewed, grinning at me and then froze. Her eyes bugged out. She started flailing around in the high chair, her mouth wide open, her eyes bugging out, and not making any sound at all.

My brain freaked out. I immediately thought of the CPR instructions on the refrigerator, all the way in the kitchen. I couldn't remember the way to give the Heimlich on a toddler. I thought I wouldn't be able to run in there and run back in time. I thought, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God...

And while my brain bailed on all of us, my body whipped into action. Somehow I had her upside down, and I was smacking her back until I heard her cry. I looked, but there was no pineapple piece.

She was crying, but it was really faint. I could hear her breath whistling, wheezing, struggling. I knew I had to call 911. But we have a cable phone and I remember reading that dialing 911 on the cable phone is different but I didn't remember how it was different or why and oh my God oh my God oh my God....

While my free hand casually swooped up my cell phone and dialed 911 and spoke clearly and slowly to the operator on the other end about my daughter is choking, she is 18 months old, it was a piece of pineapple, yes she is crying but she is still struggling.

And while I'm talking and holding Kiki, I somehow find myself in the kitchen, staring at the CPR how-to stuck to the side of the fridge for just this type of "it could happen" experience. They connected me to the emergency at Cox and at some point in this conversation Kiki's wheezing had stopped and she was screaming full volume. That's a good sign, right? I asked. The EMTs are on their way, I was told.

Now we live maybe 30 seconds from the fire station. If that. I paced a little, still holding Kiki. I tried to sit down, but she started squirming, wanting to get on the floor and play. So I got up, still holding her, and picked up the living room. Then I put her pajama bottoms on, and took us both out onto the front porch to wait for the emergency guys.

When the first response got there, I walked down the driveway to meet them, Kiki and me, both barefoot and in our jammies. I said hi. They said hi. We exchanged a few other things, and then the young woman said, "Why don't we go inside where it's warm?" which is when I noticed they were both wearing thick coats. Are they called flak jackets? Who knows. I didn't feel the cold at all.

So we went in. I sat down, Kiki in my lap, and the young woman tried to listen to Kiki's lungs with a stethoscope, and Kiki kept swatting her away. Then the ambulance showed up. The first response people got their signature from me, swapped paperwork with the ambulance guys, and then the older gentleman who was obviously in charge of the ambulance team squatted down to listen to Kiki's lungs and she spread her arms wide, cocked her head to the side, and cooed at him. Little flirt.

Anyway her color was fine, her circulation was fine, her lungs were clear, her throat was clear, all was fine. It was like it never happened. In fact I don't recall at any time that she even turned blue or purple or anything; if she had, I would have remembered and truly freaked, I'm sure.

The gentleman said, "Must have been a good piece of pineapple."

I said, "I hope she enjoyed it because it's the last piece of pineapple she'll get for five years." And then I burst into tears. Well, I teared up and caught myself before bursting into tears. I tend to do that.

I've been inspecting every poopy diaper since then for an errant piece of pineapple with the full intention of burning the fucker.

And because that was not enough adrenaline for the week, today Kiki tumbled while playing with her dancing bear and started screaming high heaven. It wasn't a big tumble. She fell on her butt from a standing position. I picked her up and tried to comfort her -- she doesn't comfort well when she's crying, she pushes away and struggles and screams louder -- and she actually let me cuddle her. So I thought maybe she'd bumped her head, and I pulled her back a little to take a look and... there was blood all over her sleeve and the front of her shirt.

She'd bitten her tongue. With her 6 teeth.

She clots fast though. I barely noticed the blood pooling on her lip before it stopped completely.

I can only wonder what tomorrow holds for us.


YarnHacker K October 24, 2008 at 7:39 AM  

Oh honey! (Both of you!) This motherhood thing is so damn scary. Sounds like all your instincts kicked right in and I'm so glad to hear Kiki is fine. These toddler times should be called "Mom's-Heart-Is-In-Her-Throat-Constantly", huh?

datri October 26, 2008 at 9:29 AM  

What a frightening experience. I'm so paranoid about choking. I hope my mommy instincts are as great as yours if something like that ever happens.

Michelle November 8, 2008 at 9:12 PM  

she sure did scare you! I'm glad everything turned out ok!

Kayla did that to me once last summer; it was absolutely awful. She had her mouth open, no sound, and the look of sheer terror on Kayla's face as she is looking at me probably wondering why she couldn't breathe, was just awful. It's such a sickening feeling to see them choking on something. I cried after she finally started coughing and knew she was going to be ok.

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