by Krystal Hamblin
Our little Josie, at two years old, decided that she wanted to be a piggy bank, which gave us quite a scare!
We were all getting ready as normal and Josie was watching some early morning cartoons. We didn't see anything around her that she could get into and I know I didn't see any coins laying around! I guess what we didn't see, Josie made sure that she did!
My back had not been turned but for a second and I heard her choking! She was gagging and began to throw up. I rushed her into the bathroom and sat on the side of the tub. She continued to throw up but only mucus was coming out. I didn't know for sure that she had swallowed something, but from the way she was struggling I knew there was something massively wrong. Her eyes started going back in her head and she was going limp. I immediately said, "Let's go! We're going to the hospital now!"
I had tried performing the Heimlich Maneuver but nothing would come out other than the mucus she was throwing up. She hadn't had anything to eat yet so this was very hard on her.
Once we got to the hospital she had become very lethargic. When checking her in she continued to spit up liquid. We were getting very worried. Once we got into the room she began to perk up a bit. Her daddy asked her, "Did you eat money?" Her reply was, "Uh-Huh" as she nodded her little head yes. We asked her, "Josie, what hurts?" and she pointed to the top of her throat.
We knew to ask this because we went through something similar with her big sister, Elisabeth, when she was one-year-old. The difference with her situation though was that we didn't know she had swallowed anything until several months after it happened!
She had been very sick and the pediatrician kept saying that her sickness was viral. Finally I demanded a chest x-ray be done on Elisabeth because I thought she had severe pneumonia. Much to our surprise they found a penny lodged in her esophagus! The tissue had already started growing around it and the copper from the penny was poisoning her system. The hospital we were at rushed us to a larger hospital in Roanoke, VA and called in a specialist.
She was put to sleep and an endoscopic procedure was done to remove the penny up through the esophagus and out of her mouth. She was admitted to the hospital for several days and given IV antibiotics and fluids. The whole experience was terrifying!
Because of already going through one child who thought she was a piggy bank I just had a gut feeling that Josie had swallowed something as well. We requested an x-ray from the start, and thank God the doctor on call respected our wishes!
Sure enough, there was something round lodged in Josie's esophagus. Something perfectly round, just like a coin! I was mortified! We are so careful to make sure choking hazards are put up, especially coins; Other wise known as little round monsters!
The doctor told us that they were sending us to The Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, FL so the repeat of Elisabeth's ordeal in Virginia continued, even here! The only relief I was experiencing at the time was that we had caught her right when it happened and not months later. She was reacting differently as well; we could see that she was in a lot of discomfort.
After being transported to The Children's Hospital the gentlemen that took Josie and me down in the ambulance made sure we got right into a room. It was like having two body guards the way they were pushing for us to be seen at once. Josie had won their hearts already.
Once we were through the circus like entry exam we were taken to radiology. Josie was getting weaker and weaker by the minute and her spells of struggling and spitting up had me more than concerned. They couldn't get that evil coin out of her soon enough! I wanted that monster in my hand, never to be retrieved by another child again! It would go in the same spot that I've kept Elisabeth's copper monster...HIDDEN where only we, the parents, know where it is!