- Choking is an emergency. Call 911 emergency medical services. Do not attempt to drive a choking person to a hospital emergency department. Choking is a blockage of the upper airway by food or other objects, which prevents a person from breathing effectively. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit, but complete blockage of the airway may lead to death.
- Choking is a true medical emergency that requires fast, appropriate action by anyone available. Emergency medical teams may not arrive in time to save a choking person's life.
- The brain is extremely sensitive to this lack of oxygen and begins to die within four to six minutes.
- In adults, choking most often occurs when food is not chewed properly. Talking or laughing while eating may cause a piece of food to "go down the wrong pipe."
- In children, choking is often caused by chewing food incompletely, attempting to eat large pieces of food or too much food at one time, or eating hard candy.
- Someone who cannot answer by speaking and can only nod the head has a complete airway obstruction and needs emergency help.
The family was at Patrick's soccer party at Rick's Pizza here in Lodi. Great Pizza, on the same level as a "Pie" in SLC (almost). They do have something in common, and that's the cheese.
I was sitting with some of the families, and I heard someone say "she's choking." I turned around and it was Georgia. She was on her feet next to where she had been sitting, Suzi was standing behind here, and Georgia had both her hands at her throat with her mouth wide open. I popped up, and asked her "Are you ok?" She didn't answer me, hear me, or make a sound. She reached into her mouth with her fingers and tried to pull something out.
This took about 5 seconds, and I was panicked. Suzi didn't seem panicked. She maybe had a few more clues than I did, she had been sitting next to her. After the fact Suz said she thought she was breathing. I never heard anything.
I grabbed Georgia, and turned her upside down so that her head was facing the ground. I think I had one leg, and Suz must have had the other. Still I didn't hear a sound. No crying, no cough, not even a gagging noise.
She was clearly panicked, and that was what had set me off. Once I turned her upside down I began to hit her upper back with the heal of my hand, and she kept trying to reach into her mouth to grab the object she was choking on. I stuck my finger in her mouth, and fortunately a friend who was a dentist was right there and he said to me to take it out. Later he told me he was worried I would push the object back into her airway. Finally after maybe, 3-4 seconds of beating she made a squealing sound. It was a panicked squeal, but it told all of us that she had an opening. Finally she pulled out the long strand of cheese, and said something like "I got it." She made a brave face for a second, or two and then started crying, and then Hannah started crying.
When I had Georgi upside down, that was the same exact moment moment I had when Patrick was born. The same thoughts, and same feeling rushed through me. The thought was "I don't want to lose my baby like this," and the feeling was that I thought "this might be it." It's really a hopeless feeling. So empty.
I felt the same way when Patrick finally took that first breath, and Georgia cleared her airway. It's a strange feeling. It's not like "Yeah I won!" It's more like "I just got punched in the head so hard I can't see straight."
Not a very comical moment. Except Suz, "I think maybe you over reacted a little."
She's so calm, and I'm so charged in moments like that. Like I said before, we saw that event a little differently. She thought Georgia was breathing, and I didn't. Anyhow, as Georgia would say "Don't talk while your eating." And as I learned from my own choking eating at the Pie, you might want to be careful with the Cheese there too.