Choking Hazards

Robin in our cherry tree

We’ve had four nearly deadly choking incidents in our family in the past few months: a grand daughter who was sucking on a sucker that came off the stick and totally blocked her airway, a great nephew who ended up in the hospital after a frightening experience with choking, and the latest was a grand son who ended up in the hospital for most of Memorial Day weekend when he choked on a piece of chicken that also tore his esophagus and caused such swelling that he could breathe but could not swallow. Had he lived before modern medical treatments, he doubtless would have died too.

These close-to-fatal occurrences didn’t just effect the youngest generation, either. One of my sister-in-laws choked at a dinner party last month and couldn’t breathe. Thankfully, a doctor was in attendance and was able to expel the food using the Heimlich Maneuver. When my brother thanked him, he said something like, “Wow! Thank you! If you hadn’t been here, she might of died!” to which the doctor responded dryly, “If I hadn’t been here, your wife would have died.” My brother didn’t think he was being proud . . . just stating a fact.

Red-bellied Woodpecker at our feeder

Now, when people are choking to death, nobody stops to take pictures, so I’m using some of the lovely birds who’ve been feeding out my window to illustrate this post, but that doesn’t mean I take lightly the gravity of what could have been. In a matter of moments—on four separate occasions and in four completely different locations this spring—our family could have lost someone irreplaceably precious. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief and pain we’d all be in today had even one of those choking events ended in the death of a loved one, but in fact—but for the mercy of God—we could have had to endure four such funerals.

What to do? Well, for sure we should all be more careful to chew our food thoroughly before swallowing, and I (for my vote) am not going to suck on or give hard, round candies to my loved ones . . . even if they are on sticks! Alan (my handy source of all medical advice) says it’s worth watching some videoes on how to do the Heimlich Maneuver, although the fact is that it takes so much pressure to actually “do it right” that you can’t fully practice without causing so much discomfort you’ll be unlikely to get a likely suspect to let you practice. According to the Mayo Clinic, 5,000 people die each year from choking incidents, so it’s well worth studying in order to know what we should do. There are lots of YouTube demonstrations on line. To get you started, here is a 1-minute video put out by Mayo explaining what to do:

Another video that I found helpful (but is longer, although also more thorough and discusses how to help yourself, infants, children, and dogs) can be found here:

Beyond being careful and trying to be prepared, I also want to take this opportunity to encourage you to be prepared for your own death. After all, life is terminal, and we are all going to die—if not suddenly, then someday. Nobody gets out of life alive!

If you die tonight, do you know where your spirit will go? If you don’t, and you’d like to know that you will go to heaven, please click on the tab that says “Coming to Christ” at the top of this page, and it will explain how to know you’re going to heaven when you die. May God bless you with faith, hope, and peace today!

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).