Having a normal Canadian son, I’ve had my share of trips to the emergency room. Mercifully, though, they’ve usually turned out to be less serious than at first panic. The case of the missing Lego is a good example.
Set the scene: Mother is shampooing her hair in the shower, little boy comes into the bathroom. Mother responds with a five minute lecture on the ill matters of interrupting, respect for privacy, mother’s deserve some peace and quiet, I can’t hardly hear you with the water running, you’re only supposed to come in here if you’re bleeding or the house is on fire.
“So,” she finishes grandly. “Are you bleeding?”
The child shakes his head no. His eyes look teary.
“Is the house on fire?”
“No,” he whispers, “I have a Lego stuck in my throat.”
Since he was breathing and had survived my ridiculous lecture without turning blue, I took the time to rinse most of the shampoo out of my hair and get dressed. After all it was 28 below celsius outside.
It seems my son was trying to pry a part two small Legos with his teeth. (yes, we bought the official Lego separating tool. Two in fact. Fortunately, we did not buy the official separating tool finder.)
This was not our first trip to the emergency room (other stories involving bodily fluids which I will probably spare you). Being experienced in waiting area zombie -land, you can imagine my surprise when we were ushered right into an examining room. The doctor actually ignored the man with a missing ear and a teenager receiving oxygen to serve us. I really started to worry.
They poked and prodded. Nothing there. They listened to him breathe, in and out, in and out,. Nothing there. They shone lights in, on and around. Nothing there. They xrayed his stomach and even his nasal passages (has happened). Nothing there. I really, really started to worry.
“Tell me exactly what you did,” said the doctor.
My son describe how, while tryingto bite apart two double pegged lego pieces, one became lodged in his throat. He couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t spit it up. I felt the color drain from my face as I imagine myself blissfully shampooing my hair while he faced a life-and-death struggle with a building block.
“I ran to the stairs,” he continued, “I coughed and and then I could breathe. I told Mommy. I could feel it in my throat before but I can’t now.”
As the hours dragged by, my son felt better and better. The of medical personnel had begun shrugging their shoulders. My son wanted to go home.
“Well,” said Dr. Sherlock, “the only place left to look is at home.”
Which we did. On the bottom step, was a block that fit the one described by my son. He must have coughed it up as he was running to me. The combination of panic and the scratched throat convinced him it was still there. We also found a quarter and a missing earring. He kept the quarter. I kept the earring.
He certainly learned his lesson, I thought. He’ll never stick a Lego in his mouth again. I didn’t warn him about Thanksgiving.
At school, he was making a turkey mosaic with buttons and such. He couldn’t do much with the such, but the buttons were just the right size.
“I saw Logan at the principal’s office today,” my daughter informed me.
Whereupon I launched into a lecture on how he was supposed to stop rough-housing and getting into trouble and I couldn’t believe my own son would have to be sent to the principal’s office twice in his life. Talk about not learning from your mistakes.
“But Mom, I had a button up my nose!”
The principal, thankfully, had experience. It seems his own daughter was a nose packer.
“Don’t worry, Mom, the principal got it out,” said my son when I gasped. “It shot right across the room and smacked into his filing cabinet with a ding sound.|”
“What did you do then?” I asked, expecting a tale of his humble gratitude.
He shrugged. “I washed it off and glued it on my turkey.”
First published in the Chronicle-Journal/Times News
Sunday, January 12, 1992