They really ought to warn you when you give birth that from that point forward your heart will be ripped out of your chest and placed on this tiny baby – wandering around, unprotected. Because, really, that’s how it feels.
I was blessed to give birth to three healthy children. As klutzy as they are we’ve been fortunate enough not to have visited the ER more than once with each child. The notch on my staff was carved with our first ER trip – this one involving my firstborn.
My brother was getting ready to move to China and our family decided to have one last dinner out together. We landed at Havana Cafe for his farewell. (sidenote: you really need to go eat there, the food is yummy) It’s Cuban food. Not exactly favorite food for a 4 year-old.
We said our goodbyes and headed back home. About halfway home she piped up from the backseat, “Oh, no! My monies!”
“I swallowed my monies!”
She had indeed swallowed a quarter that my mother had given her for trying a piece of shrimp. We had no idea she had been given a quarter or that she had been sucking on it for most of the ride home. I immediately called the ER to ask what I should do. Since she could breath, swallow and wasn’t drooling they said we should keep an eye on her and she’d pass it in a day or so.
Over the next day or two we noticed she stopped eating and was complaining her neck hurt. (another sidenote: i had just gotten over spinal meningitis and by the time they diagnosed it i had already exposed my family to it) We were worried that perhaps she had caught meningitis. Then she started throwing up. Time for the ER.
We took her to Thunderbird Samaritan where they immediately got her in to get x-rays. Oh, did I mention that I was pregnant and couldn’t be in the x-ray room?! Fortunately my mother was there and was able to stay with her. After the first x-ray the technician asked my mom to please remove the necklace around my daughter’s neck. There was no necklace. What they were seeing on the film was the quarter standing on end in my daughter’s throat. Which at any time could tip over and block her airway.
T-bird Sams decided it would be safer to let Phx Childrens retrieve the quarter. They arranged for an ambulance to take us across town – just in case something should happen along the way. We arrived safely and got her checked in and prepped for “surgery”. The doctor explained the procedure and said that they have a special tool for retrieving coins out of kids. (not to be confused with the special tool kids use to retrieve coins out of parents!) They took her into the OR and let me stay with her until she was sleeping. Seeing her in the OR and walking away was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a mom.
I joined my mother and my husband in the waiting room. We weren’t there very long before we caught a glimpse of the doctor rushing into another room. I immediately dropped my head in prayer. When I finished praying I opened my eyes and there, between my feet, was a brand new quarter.
We found out later that the surgery was completed quickly and without complication. The doctor was just heading on to the next emergency. I have the quarter from her throat. It’s all discolored. I also have the other quarter. The one God gave me to say that it was okay. She was in His hands.