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.
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.