When Lori Lyn was one year old, we experienced a very traumatic event with her. We were at my in-laws for the weekend and had just enjoyed a home-cooked meal of roast beef, potatoes and gravy. Palmer, my father-in-law, and I were cleaning up in the kitchen when we heard the women screaming. We ran into the living room to find little Lori laying on the floor not breathing. She had grabbed a piece of meat from a plate in the kitchen and walked into the living room and then apparently fell backward on her butt. The piece of roast beef became lodged in her throat.
I felt a cold wave of fear that is difficult to describe but I knew I had to do something to save her. The women were paralyzed with fear and Uncle Bobby who was 12 at the time just paced the living room floor yelling “Shit! Shit! Shit!” It was panic city – the scariest scene imaginable. I grabbed Lori by the foot and held her upside down striking her back. Still she was not breathing and was turning blue. The God-awful thought went through my head about a film in a First Aid Class in college that demonstrated how to do a tracheotomy on a live animal using a razor blade and a pen to allow breathing through the throat. God – could I possible do that?? My next thought was to try to get a hold of the piece with my finger. Fear was over coming me as I tried to think what to do next. (The Helmick Maneuver wasn’t known to us back then!) The thought came to me to try to push the meat down her throat. So I put my finger in her small mouth and pushed on what I thought was the piece of meat. Suddenly she cried – the sweetest, most precious sound I had ever heard! She was breathing! We all hoped the meat passed to her stomach and not her lung, but she seemed to be okay. We called a nurse who said we should take her to the hospital in Sioux Falls to check her out. We did and they determined what we had hoped – that the meat had passed to her stomach.
I had never been so afraid in my life that my little girl might die. And I had to somehow save her. Thank God – I was able to do that. I felt a tremendous sense of gratefulness and when it was all over, it was the happiest day of my life!!