Thursday, July 16, 2009


Hey. This is Ryan. I'm blogging this now because I don't want to lose a single detail from what just happened.

I was in FarmTown when my quiet afternoon was shattered with, "I'M GONNA DIE!" It came from the backyard, where the kids were romping around in the sprinklers, and it came from Luke.

I figured he must have been stung by a bee, but I still jumped up and ran to the kitchen door in time to see Luke sprint to the gate. "Dad, I ... I ...," he stammered. He wasn't making enough conversational progress so Ally the Narrator jumped in. "Lukey is choking on a lemon thingy! He was just sucking it and BAM! Crying." So sensitive.

Lukey grabbed his throat and screamed, "I'M CHOKING! I'M CHOKING! I'M DYING!"

I tried to make sense of what was happening - very quickly, I might add - and realized it had to be the lemon disc candy I had given the children not three minutes before. I had even smiled to myself because I had actually said "yes" to something. I was a Good Dad today!

Well, that three-minute sense of dadphoria quickly evaporated as I watched my boy clutch his neck. You see, in this family, (and by this family, I mean Lisha's family, of which I am now a part and thus subject to its history and legends) there is a legend sung around the campfire and whenever an occasion presents peanut-sized anything. Once upon a time, Lisha's little sister, Samantha, had eaten a peanut M&M. Instead of swallowing it, she inhaled it. Inhaled it right into her lungs. (That's called aspiration, by the way.) She was just an infant, so whenever the devil candy shows up, all the Smith Sisters grab their infants and run in an effort to protect that from ever happening again. Now that legend was all too real. Luke was living it due to the lemon disc lodged in his throat.

In my mind, just one scenario was taking place right in front of me. He was aspirating the candy. My mind jumped to rushing to the ER, getting him dressed, getting me dressed (I'm still wearing my swimsuit and tanktop from swimming earlier today), calling the neighbors to take care of the girls and Clark, wondering if I'll make it in time, etc. These thoughts sped through my brain in a matter of seconds. That's when all my training as a faithful viewer of ER, House and Scrubs paid off. I could do this. I could get that disc out!

I did what any good parent does when their kid is choking: I pounded the heck out of his back. When that didn't work, I shoved my finger as far down his throat as I could get it. He started gagging and a little bile came out. Not good enough. I shoved my whole hand into his mouth this time, wiggling my fingers as to tickle his thrower-upper thingy in his throat. (Sorry, my TV medical training didn't come with anatomy vocabulary. The only medical vocab I know is "stat" and "CBC.")

He gagged again. He was sobbing by now, convinced he was in the throes of death. "Is it out?" I shouted.

"No," he cried, grabbing his throat. "It's still in there! Get it, Dad! Get it!"

Did I mention Ally was right next to me, offering her medical advice in her Chipmunk-On-Helium voice? It was mostly, "Can you touch it? It's a lemon thingy, Daddy. A le-mon thing-y! It's. In. His. Throat!" Like her sounding it out made it any clearer of what was in there. It wasn't a bike tire, for crying out loud. And I knew it was in his throat. Duh.

"Hey, Nurse Ally," I snarled. "Get outta here!" She ran a full two feet and observed from there.

The situation played out like this for a terrifying two minutes - me shoving a finger down his throat and Lukey puking a little liquid at a time. I slammed him in the back again and glanced up to see a crowd of neighbors gathering at the edge of the drive. "It's OK!" I lied as I half-smiled. "He's OK! We're handling it!"

I waved them away and turned back to Luke. I put my finger as far down his throat as I dared so as not to lodge the candy any further. I held my finger there until I felt the warm puke surround my hand. I pulled my hand away and he vomited in the gravel driveway. We looked down to examine what had just come out. There, amongst the cheese slices that once adorned his sandwich at lunch, was a lemon disk - broken in four wedges. The cheese saved the day.

In my TV medical opinion, the size of the cheese and velocity of the vomit forced the lemon candy up and out.

Luke was fine. He took three big swallows from the hose and then rinsed off his puke-covered upper body. I went into the kitchen sink to rinse of my finger- which still faintly smells like kid barf. I held him and rocked him until he calmed down. The poor little guy!

He's now actually napping at my feet as I type this. The trauma must have tuckered the little guy out. At least now we have a new chapter to add to the scary campfire tale.

Lukey sleeps on the floor next to Dad after his scary ordeal with the lemon disc candy.

Post Script: This is Lisha and I want to formally apologize for the picture of puke on my blog. I am really sorry you had to see that. I guess it could be a lot worse right?


Shelley~Maren said...

Poor little bugger! I'm glad he didn't die! :) Yay dad!

meand4boyz said...

ryan, you are killing me, we need to teach you the heimlich maneuver if you are going to be there with those kids alone!

Jennifer Pauga said...

Poor baby!! I did the same thing when I was about 10 with one of those red and white peppermint candies. It ended up melting with a little water because the heimlich didnt work. BTW that really hurt too.

Shanakin Skywalker said...

Crap Ryan! I have never heard "make the kid throw up" in my Red Cross courses on how to save a choking child!! Ave Maria and Puxa Vida!!!

hansryan said...

Just so you all know, I forgot to add this in. Because Ally had stepped around the back of Luke and started to give him the Heimlich while I was getting his fourth glass of water in hopes to wash the candy down, I came to my senses and did the Heimlich (correctly) and THEN stuck my hand down his throat. Maybe it was the Heimlich that edged it out. Whatever it was, I'm glad he was OK. Thanks for the comments, you wise moms, you!

Anonymous said...

So proud of you dad!! Tausha has choked on me twice. Once on bread once on cheese sticks. Heimlich worked well. Give Luke a hug for me glad he is OK. :)Love you guys! Sandra

Mike, Mary, & Maggie said...

Glad He is ok. One of the top scariest things about being a parent I think. Just remember for next time, if he can talk he can breath. If he can breath HE will be ok. Way to get the Cheese out! Funny I never knew about the Peanut M&M thing.

Sandi said...

Aw, come on. If he could still say "I'm gonna die!" he could still breathe. You should have told him to come back when he started turning blue. ;)

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