Thursday, 16 May 2013


Dear, dear, Benjamin,

I love your spirit, I love your tenacity for life, I love you propensity for adventure.  But let's keep the ER visits to a minimum.

Love, Mom.


This morning Benjamin accidentally swallowed a nickel.  I had James take him to the ER just to make sure everything was okay.  Ben was breathing fine, but reluctant to swallow, and holding his throat, and whimpering a little.  There was not much I could do, so I borrowed a friend's cell phone so I could be reachable and off I went to my morning appointment.

Halfway through I got a text from James: "Waiting for an X-ray."  A little later: "Now waiting for the general surgeon."  Yikes!  At that point I jumped up, dropped Juliette of with my mother-in-law and booted my way over to the hospital.

I was so grateful for an empty ER, a quick assessment, surgeons who pushed Benjamin through to the front of the line, the team of 2 surgeons, 2 anesthetists, and 3 nurses who oversaw the operation, Benjamin's peaceable nature during the ordeal, James' humour and companionship, the prayers of so many friends and family members, and the shiny nickel in the plastic bag that the surgeon handed to us.

The nickel was lodged in his esophagus just past where the esophagus and windpipe split.  They showed me the x-ray, and that nickel looked so big in his tiny throat everyone swore it was a quarter.  They put Ben under general anesthetic, and had to push the coin down into his stomach and then scoop it in a net and pull it back up the throat.  Within 10 minutes of waking up he was downing the popsicle, taking big bites instead of licking it.  By the time he got home he was bypassing the ice cream and going straight for nachos, eggs and toast (Dad got home with him first while I was picking up Juliette.)  By mid-afternoon he was out riding his bike and playing hockey as though nothing had happened.

In all this, I discovered once again that I have the ability to stay really calm and collected in a crisis.  (It made me think of two years ago when Colin gouged his forehead while we were camping and he needed stitches.)  While at my morning meeting, I apologized in advance for having the cell phone out, explaining why I would need to pick it up immediately if it rang.  My friends were amazed that I didn't seem shaken, nervous, or scared.  Truthfully, I didn't really feel any of those emotions.  I had a brief moment of nervousness at the text about the surgeon, but I just excused myself, gathered my things, and proceeded with the plan forming in my mind (pick up baby food and extra diapers, drop off Juliette, head to ER.)  While James and I waited for Ben's surgery we sat at a little table, ate muffins and shared a chocolate milk, joked about this being the only way to get a "date night" alone, I read a bit of my book club book, and talked about the concept and rules of "alternate universes" in science fiction.

Looking back on the moments of "crisis" I've experienced lately, it's humbling to view my own behaviour with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.  I'm grateful for this gift of a cool head in a crisis, and it's neat to be able to identify that, and perhaps one day use it again when cooler heads need to prevail and I can lead out before others in need.


In other news, while we were talking about baptism for Family Home Evening, Benjamin asked if one day he could be "bath-tized."

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