Apr 22, 2011


At 8:15 this evening, the house was mostly quiet.  Gavin and Lexi had been in bed for an hour; Zach and Tyler were brushing their teeth.  Garry was working on shelves in the garage, and I was scanning the boys' school work into the computer.

I heard Zach duck into the garage and Tyler head downstairs to bed.  I continued my work...scan and save, scan and save.  Suddenly I heard Gavin's strangled cry from the basement, followed by Tyler's urgent, tearful voice summoning me down the stairs.  I jumped and ran, wondering how my sleeping boy had gotten into trouble.  I expected a brotherly altercation but was met with an emergency.

Gavin was choking on a penny.  He was red in the face and crying.  Tyler was clearly panicked.  He, too, was crying.  All he could tell me was that Gavin had swallowed money.  The coin was clearly obstructing his airway.  I slapped Gavin on the back a few times and tried the Heimlich maneuver without success, so I sprinted up the stairs with him in my arms.  (How I managed this is a mystery.  I walk like I'm 80, especially up stairs.)

I'm sure we startled Garry when we burst into the garage, all crying and heaving as we were.  I accidentally shut Tyler in the house as I attempted to confine our noise to the garage.  Lexi was sleeping down the hall and somehow I felt it prudent to keep her that way.  I told Garry, "Gavin is choking on a coin.  Do something."  By the time I grabbed a sobbing Tyler by the arm and pulled him into the sawdust-filled garage, Garry had inverted Gavin, pounded on his back, and dislodged a penny, which shot to the floor in a puddle of drool.  Gavin burped and gagged and moaned but recovered immediately.

We all took a collective breath.  I sat on the garage steps and pulled Gavin and Tyler in for a hug.  Poor Tyler had been so worried for his brother!  All I could think about was that he had just saved Gavin's life.

Five minutes before I was sure Gavin was asleep.  I had no intention of going down to the basement for another hour or two.  I shudder to think how I would have found Gavin if Tyler hadn't arrived at just the right moment.  And of course I was grateful for Garry, whose calm but firm actions restored Gavin's breathing in a matter of seconds.  Our little family witnessed a miracle tonight.  We have said many prayers of thanks.

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