Swallowing a battery = gratefulness?

The other night I had to take my 2 1/2 year old to the ER.  She swallowed a watch battery about the size of a nickel.  Why is it that all toddlers must experience everything through their taste buds?  It is not enough to touch the battery or see the battery or smell the battery…oh no…it must be rolled with the tongue, caressed by the cheek.  And if it happens to slide down the throat by mistake–oh well!  It was worth it just to see what that shiny little circle tasted like!

When she came up to our room and announced that she had “swallowed the money” (she thought it was money….no Dear, the emergency room is what money looks like), I must admit that I was not as “calm, cool and collected” as I wish I’d been.  I am not exactly a fortress of strength in times of trouble.  My first reaction was to panic, which in this case consisted of shaking and shouting in an annoyingly high-pitched voice: “I know I read somewhere that batteries are BAD to swallow!”  (As if anyone on this planet would suggest eating a battery for an after-dinner snack.)

My husband, the ever-calm, “nothing-bad-could-ever-happen” dad, tells me not to worry, “She’ll just poop it out.”  So after he calms me down and we put her to bed, we both think better of it and decide to call Poison Control.  As I’m talking to a very in-control Susan on the other end of the line, my husband is whispering to me, “Don’t give them any information!  They can sue us!  Do you want them to take our child from us!?!”  Susan recommended we take her to the ER to have her x-rayed and make sure the battery is passing through and not releasing acid to corrode her insides.

When we get to the ER, Rae is immediately smitten with the receptionist (who is equally as smitten by her…and who wouldn’t be, with her ice cream cone pajamas, clinging to her little white bunny?)  As we wait, we snuggle up close and discuss the Winnie the Pooh mural.  And suddenly I am hit with the thought…

I am so blessed.

This could have been so much worse.  How many parents have had to rush their child to the ER because he fell into scalding water, or broke his arm, or ate something and turned blue?!  And so I am overcome with both gratefulness and fear.

Gratefulness because I am here, with a beautiful corn-silk blonde baby girl, so smart and healthy, who will probably be just fine.  But fear because of how quickly all of that can change.

Images flash in my head–the mother turning to check on her baby in the car seat who doesn’t see the truck run the stop sign;  the player with the football scholarship.–and undiagnosed heart failure–rushing onto the field; the elderly couple going to bed together for the last time–no one ever knows when they are living in that “last moment,” the moment that changes everything.

Last moments happen in an instant…in the words of a doctor, in the knock on the front door, and even in the swallow of a battery.  So in a way, I am thankful that my daughter only swallowed a battery.  And every time I have to sift through her poop to see if it’s come out yet, I will try to give thanks for all the blessings–and moments–we have together.


5 thoughts on “Swallowing a battery = gratefulness?

  1. I love it shannon! A few weeks ago my niece slammed her hand in the car door. It happens to all of us, right? I experienced all of your above emotions. I was sitting on my mom’s kitchen floor with Kira on my lap. She was being such a good girl, letting me hold an ice pack on it while we read books. She was so quiet and still. I thought to myself “this could have been worse, she could have broken hands or fingers” So while i knew it wouldn’t be a last moment, i had a mini freak out. Jon came home a little while later and she proceeded to tell him her story of “gobblydeegook, CAR, gobblydeegook, DOOR, CRY..yea!” She’s a blessing and no more pinched fingers in the car door! Hope ya find “the money” in her poop!!

  2. Hi Shannon,
    Your mom forwarded this link to me and I really enjoyed reading your experience with Reagan. Fortunately (knock on wood) I haven’t made that trip with either of the kids but I am sure it is coming. Especially with my son being an ice hockey player and my daughter a gymnast. We are very blessed and thank you for sharing your story. Hope all is well.

  3. i really enjoyed this blog. just before reading it, first, i was yelling at nova for being in the way when i was doing a cake, then after realizing that i need to give up my “love” to be with my love we cuddled on our front porch as if nothing happened (i only pray that she forget the times i yell at her). After our talk on the porch i came in and read this blog of yours- thanks for reminding me how precious life is. it took me back to the time when nova was in the hospital for almost a week after being severely dehydrated and having a seizure- the most scariest thing in the world for me- but your right, it makes you think how precious life can be and how often i can forget that.
    so thanks for the reminder!!

    • Oh my word, Leah! that must have been so incredibly scary. I totally know how you feel about hoping they “forget” times we fail them. I think they are just so forgiving and so quick to show us grace. Thanks for reading it! 🙂

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