Friday, June 1, 2012
Joshua was three years old and I was pregnant with Ethan. I was nearly 4 weeks away from his due date. One night while I was sitting in the living room and his father was on the phone to his sister, in comes Joshua from his bedroom. Just as I am looking up, I see him pop something in his mouth. I thought they were pennies, just as I was thinking this he starts to choke and holds his throat. I scream out to my husband, "Mike! Joshua is choking on pennies! Help him quick!" He was standing right next to him. He throws the phone down and flips Joshua upside down shaking the kid as if he was a salt or pepper shaker. His method worked where a penny shot out of Joshua's mouth. As soon as the poor boy was flipped back over and on his feet I asked him how many pennies he put in his mouth. He answered 3 by holding up his fingers. Great! That meant he swallowed 3 pennies.
Mike explained to his sister that he had to go and he would call her back later. I called the pediatrician because I was not sure if this is something I needed to take him to the doctor for or go to the emergency room. The kid already had a thick folder at the ER due to his asthma. She told me that I should take him to the ER just to confirm that the pennies were not stuck in his esophagus, so off we went to the hospital. He kept complaining about his throat hurting. We dropped Matthew off with my parents then to the hospital. After we arrived to the ER the nurses seemed happy that we brought Joshua in. They told us that ABC News was there doing a special on Pediatric ER and wanted to know if we would give permission for them to tape Joshua. Great! All I need is the local area knowing what a poor mother I am for allowing my child to swallow pennies, I thought. We both signed the waiver and provided permission. The nurses giggled and said great, now we just need someone to come in with a foreign object stuck in the ear. I thought what?
While we were in the ER room, we heard the report talking to the camera man. He asked the man to zoom in on him while he was walking down the hall and the he asked the camera man not to make him laugh. The reporter in the most serious voice said, "In room F we have pennies down the throat and in room H Skittles up the nose." I wanted to burst out laughing in the worse way but managed to choke it back. The doctor comes in and asks Joshua how he is doing. He tells him he swallowed 2 pennies in the cutest little voice. The doctor then turns to Mike and I and explained how they no longer x-ray this situation (no need to expose to radiation), however it is important to find out if the pennies are not lodged in the esophagus and made it safely to the stomach. He then pulls out a metal detector and runs it up and down Joshua's chest. The detector starts to beep when he waves it over his stomach. The pennies made it safely, so no surgery will be need. He then informed us that we will need to check his stoles within the next day or two to make sure he passes them. If we can not locate them within 4 days we should take him to the airport and ask for them to wave their wand to see if Joshua still has the pennies inside him. If so, we would need to do a follow up check up. All of this was being recorded by the camera man. After the doctor finishes, the reporter comes to Joshua and asks him if he got his two cents worth? Joshua being only 3 did not understand the humor and answers, "I'm glad it wasn't a qwater, that would hurt more!" and then gives an angelic smile. The doctor then gave Joshua a high five. As we were walking away, I thought, oh my goodness, there was way too much positive reinforcement here, Joshua did not need positive reinforcement or he might try this again.
When we arrived to my Mom's house, my Dad asked Joshua how he was. Joshua's answer was, "I have two pennies in my tummy and I'm gonna be a tar!" while his hands were flying up in the air like Mary Katherine Gallagher of Saturday Night Live's skit for Super Star. This comment definitely reinforced my fear and I made the decision he would not watch his television debut until he was much older, therefore we video recorded the news when it did air. I must say, he was a rather cute patient.
This is why I move so quickly when I see a child with a penny. Now Grandpa has to be more careful with leaving change in his pockets after he takes his pants off.