Monday, July 26, 2010

Emergency! Or not.

This weekend, Miles earned the honor of my first call to 911 for child-related injuries.  And this time, he was not the one doing the calling.

Let me say first, that Miles is absolutely fine.  Perfect, even.  Not at all worse for the wear, just to set your minds at ease.

As you may or may not know, it was a hot one here in the mid-Atlantic this past week.  This weekend in particular, heat indices exceeded 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, you know, a tad bit warm.  The kind of warm where the National Weather Service advises checking in on your elderly neighbors and staying indoors in an air conditioned room all day long.

We live in an older home and don't have central air.  We rely on window units and they usually provide us with ample cool air in the summer months.  But they just can't keep up with degrees exceeding 100.  It gets to be around 85 in here and while that is still significantly cooler than outdoors, it's not exactly "cool." These days are what the boys and I refer to as three Popsicle days, meaning the only way we can cool down is by eating three consecutive Popsicles.

So.  Nelson was getting his hair cut and the boys and I were sitting in the living room, trying to move as little as possible, enjoying Popsicle number two.  Miles made a funny shrieking noise and started running in circles.  I thought maybe he had brain freeze.  Then I noticed the panicked look on his face.  And that he was changing colors.  And not making any noise.  Or breathing.

"Miles?  MILES!"

I scooped him up and he was indeed choking.  The skin on his face was mottled and a dark crimson.  I tilted him forward and began thumping him on the back.  His face began turning purple.  I put him on the ground and Heimliched him twice. Nothing.  I picked him up and started thumping again.  He was going blue.  Of course Oscar is tugging on my pants, "Momma, why you hitting Miles?  What's wrong with Miles? Why does he look like that?"

I began thinking, "It's a fucking Popsicle!  It's going to melt.  Right?  RIGHT?!"   Then I started thinking, "I need to call 911.  At what point to I stop and call 911?"  At this point it had been maybe a minute, minute and a half since he'd began choking.

Just as I was feeling desperate, I heard a wheeze.  He was breathing!  His color changed so quickly back to a mottled red.  He was wheezing and gasping, so his airway was still obstructed, and that is when I called 911.

So, I have this policy about calling Poison Control, and I've called there lots and lots and lots of times.  And my policy is that if I'm ever thinking that maybe I should call Poison Control, I go ahead and call Poison Control because better safe than sorry.  I decided this policy also applied to 911.  Also, the EMTs are about two blocks from my house so I knew they'd get here fast.

While still holding a wheezing Miles, I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1.  It rang.  And rang.  And rang.  And rang.  And rang (!!).  After the sixth ring I thought maybe I called the wrong number?  Oh, no someone answered.  It was a recording, explaining that all of the emergency operators were busy and I should please hold for the first available operating.

Are you effing kidding me with this?  I'm calling because this is and EMERGENCY, not for a casual chat.  What if my kid was dying?  Or my house was on fire?  Or there was an intruder in my home?

After about a minute of waiting, I got an operator.  She was very nice, very helpful, and she dispatched the EMTs.  By the time they arrived, Miles was breathing normally (it had finally melted) and the EMTs check him and gave him the all clear.  The boys got to sit in the ambulance while I filled out some paperwork.

The EMTs asked if I'd had any trouble getting through, and advised me to call them directly next time.  Because, seriously, in the time I waited while the phone rang and on hold an such I could have scooped up both boys and run to the station house.

Anyways, my emergency, which ended up not really being an emergency, wasn't really treated as an emergency by my county's emergency services, but everyone is okay.  This time.  Hopefully, there won't be a next time, because I'm not really convinced that I'll get help when I need it.

I've had much better luck with Poison Control.  Too bad they don't dispatch EMTs.


blissfully caffeinated said...

Gah. Your FB status gave me a start. Glad MW is okay, but Jesus H. How frightening. Did you consider pouring warm water in his mouth? Or was it too frantic to even think it through? Choking is the thing that I am most terrified of with the kids. Glad everything turned out OK and 911, what the eff? Too many old people keeling over or what?

Anonymous said...

OMG that is so scary! I am glad MW is okay but I am almost certain you needed clean pants after that. What is it with the DC area that calling 911 gets you put on hold? Maybe thay should just have a menu that is voice controlled so you can never get anything you really need. I get a less that 1 minute response from 911, we know this thanks to Brody calling and saying the house is on fire... More than once :).
Again I am glad you made it out of that in one piece, both of you!

Becky said...

Thank God he's okay! I can't even imagine what was going through your mind while you were thumping him on the back.

And omg to calling 911 and getting a busy signal!

Michele said...

That must have been terrible! And, to be put on hold? Frightening. Glad to hear Miles is alright. How are you?

Sprite's Keeper said...

Oy! Just reading this is giving me paranoia! Glad he's okay, but good for you keeping your head on straight!

Anonymous said...

OH god Jenni, that is terrifying. And more so considering what could have been. Agh. I don't think i'll be partaking of 3 popsicle days any time soon.

Mrsbear said...

Dear Lord, woman. My heart was pounding just reading this. Glad he was okay! Any word on why the back thrusts and Heimlich didn't work, it would be good to know, I would've done the exact same things. Terrifying.

Keely said...

A popsicle? A POPSICLE?? omg, I'm running home to throw them all out now. The choking thing is my biggest fear - Xander is a crammer, and won't sit still to eat very often, and regularly needs a thump on the back. I can't imagine getting put on HOLD if I truly had an emergency.

Momma Hunt said...

This is my worst nightmare. I have been thinking of switching to vonage but they use the same 911 as cell phones and one time when I called 911 from my cell no one picked up until the third time I called. I seriously have nightmares about this sort of the thing. I am so glad everyone is ok at your house

Veronica said...

I've had to call 000 twice in my life and BOTH times I got a recording. One was for a drunk and disorderly and the other was because I witnessed a car accident as a pedestrian.

I still have nightmares about calling 000 and not getting through, or not being able to dial the numbers.

I am SO glad that it melted and he was fine. It takes an ambulance 30 minutes to get here, so yeah, let's not have any emergencies please.

Aliceson said...

How scary! And they didn't need to hook you up to a heart monitor?

So glad it turned out the way it did!!!

Mama Badger said...

Ack! This is just too scary. Both of my boys constantly stick stuff in their mouths, and I'm always worried about choking. And 911 hold? That's unreal. Our local police sent out a magnet with all the emergency numbers and a suggestion to only call 911 if you're not sure which one you need to help you. How sad is that?

Cara said...

::heart thumping:: jesus christ. a recording for 911? that is unreasonable & insane. so glad MDub is OK.

Heather said... would have freaked the hell out...luckily it was something that melts...but those minutes before it did must have like an eternity!! So glad he's ok!!