Preparation Is Good Medicine

bright-cardiac-cardiology-433267By Kathy P. Behan

The memory is as vivid now as when it actually  happened. We were eating lunch at one of our regular fast-food places. My husband and I sorted through the bags, and divvied up the food between ourselves and our two sons. As usual, I broke my younger son’s chicken into pieces, set up his milk — and hid the French fries for later.

After a few minutes, I glanced over at Brendan, who was about 20 months old at the time. My heart nearly stopped. He was choking. Even though his mouth was wide open, he couldn’t make a sound. His eyes clearly conveyed shock and alarm. I yelled out my husband’s name, and tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the chicken with my finger, but it was too firmly wedged in his throat.

Pat quickly pulled Brendan from his high chair, turned him over and while supporting his stomach with one hand, he tapped the other against his back. The chicken shot out of Brendan’s mouth, and he began to cry.

Even though our son quickly recovered from this ordeal, it was hours before our own breathing and heart rates returned to normal. In some ways, my husband and I will never get over this experience. We still have flashbacks about it. My younger son is alive today because of the quick actions taken by his father. I don’t let myself think about what would have happened if we had been there without him.

Just a few weeks earlier, Pat’s company had offered a CPR and emergency first-aid course. He had volunteered to be the representative from his floor.

It’s probably obvious why I’m telling you all this. Life is unpredictable. And life with children, though infinitely precious, is also extremely precarious. Kids seem to have a natural affinity for disaster. The good news is that even though they’re constantly flirting with danger, by pure luck, they usually manage to avoid it. The bad news is that parental vigilance alone isn’t always enough to keep our children safe. Much as we’d like to, we just can’t protect our children from all of life’s hazards. And what happens then? Would you know what to do if your child was choking? Or bleeding excessively? Or unconscious?

It’s ironic that we spend so much time taking Lamaze classes and preparing for the birth of our children, and yet, so little time learning how to keep them alive. Much as we don’t even want to consider it, especially as parents, we have to be prepared to cope with medical emergencies. That’s why I’ve enrolled in an infant and child CPR and choke-saver class, and I urge you to do the same. Courses are offered by many area schools and local hospitals.

If the unthinkable happens, some medical training is invaluable.

Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: