Nonetheless, I spent the hours listening, studying, practicing and implementing the procedures for heart attacks, drownings, choking and several other life threatening occurrences. Some things were new, but most were tried and true, coming back to me from over the years.
The greatest difference this time around however, was the time we spent on children. The lessons and instruction had never poured into my bones so much as it had before, and the thought of pulling a child from a pool, my child, any child...was completely haunting.
When the kids were really little, I would worry about choking. It's been so long since then and we'd never had an incident, but I sighed during class regardless, relieved how those days were over.
Little did I know, how very wrong I was.
Adam found the best lot of tomatoes. Big, red, perfectly round juicy tomatoes. "Nothing says summertime like these," my husband smiled as we grabbed a few for the weekend.
Yesterday morning while making bacon during breakfast, we decided to save some for good use in making BLT's.
Our younger two had never heard of bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches which sparked Adam and I to question whether we've failed them as parents.
Later that day, we got to work. Showing the kids how to put the sandwiches together, Adam worked on the bacon while I sliced the tomatoes over bread and leaves of lettuce. Handing each sandwich off the assembly line, everyone was excited to try them out.
Within minutes, our 11 year old son, Ethan, sounded worried. "Hey, hey! Are you okay? What's wrong, Pret?" Adam and I turned quickly from the kitchen.
At the table, our youngest son, Preston looked panicked. His eyes were wide and his face strained. He never looked up, never reached for help, he just leaned forward, staring down at the table with his fingers at his throat.
Running to him, I put my hand in front of his face, but felt nothing coming out. Absolutely no air left his nose or mouth and he was quickly turning bright red.
Automatically, I went behind him, putting my hands on his sides to prepare to move forward in locating the position to pump. The feel of his little ribs are something I'll never forget. They were so small and strained, and I felt the panic as his heart pounded and reverberated through his chest.
"Preston, we're going to get it out." I don't know if I said it for his sake, or mine. His face was deep red at this point and the veins in his neck were bulging. It's an incredible thing, the fight or flight theory. You either panic and want to run and scream or dig in and fight like hell.
Before I gave the first blow with my fists, I instinctively reached back up. Even though the latest CPR course says you should never finger sweep in fear of pushing the food down further, every "mom" instinct in me, told me to try at least once, to try and get it out.
Putting my thumb and finger into his clenched jaw, I got him to open enough to pull my fingers together, feeling a piece of bacon in the back of his mouth. Grabbing it firmly, I gently began pulling forward, praying it would hold together in one piece. It surprised me at how long the motion took. Bacon was tightly stuck deep down into his throat as his gagging motion began to aid in its removal.
In one long, chewed up piece about three inches long, I threw it on the table as Preston gasped an enormous breath and began to cry. It was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard.
I lifted him from his chair, feeling those same tiny ribs now shaking with sobs while filling his lungs as I held him to me, tightly as I could.
Adam took him next and his brothers and sister gathered round. It was something we'd never thought possible and hope to never experience again.
Even in this busy life, where there's no time to sit through courses or retake CPR certification, you never know when it might become invaluable. I see AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) everywhere I go now, where before the class, I hadn't even noticed them.
Nobody plans for an emergency. There's no warning sign or big flashy lights. It just happens, but when it does, it always helps to have the greatest tools on your side to work with.
I'm so glad now I was forced to take the time to review and relearn the precious lifesaving lessons. I never would've known, how valuable they'd become for saving a life most precious to me.