Growing up I was a Girl Scout. Like my entire childhood was me being a Girl Scout & my mom being our scout leader.
Cookies….I sold them. Patches….I had them.
But this post isn’t about scouting or patches but about something I learned when our troop got first aid certified at the American Red Cross one Saturday morning.
One of the things that we learned was what the universal sign for choking is.
Do you know it?
Fast forward to the next day and a picnic at my parent’s friend’s house.
The parents were inside laughing, talking, drinking…you know things that parents do at these sorts of things.
The kids, and boy howdy was there a lot of us, were in the backyard. Running, playing, shoving chips into our pie holes…..you know doing what kids do at these sorts of things.
I was generally dorking around and eating chips when all of the sudden I couldn’t breathe.
I tried to ask for help, but no sound would come out.
I used that universal sign for choking but all the of the kids were so busy dorking around that no one was paying attention to me.
I decided since I was starting to get light headed that I should go into the kitchen where the adults were and let them know I was choking.
I walked into the kitchen and all of the adults stopped talking and looked at me.
“What do you need, Heather?” “Boy, she’s quieter than usual.” “What is she doing with her hands around her neck like that?” were all things that I heard from different adults.
“Wait!” my dad exclaimed, “I think she wants to play charades!”
Let me be clear in the fact that we had NEVER played charades in our house or anyone elses like ever
“Larry why is her face turning blue?” another person in the room asked.
“Holy shit! I think she is choking!!” someone else exclaimed.
In a matter of miliseconds my ten year old body was being flipped upside down as someone grabbed a hold of my ankles and my dad started feverishly whacking on my back while I tried to keep my head from hitting the kitchen floor.
In what seemed like an eternity, finally coughed up that chip.
“You know, Heather, if you were choking you really should have said something. Things could have turned for the worse pretty quick,” my dad told me after I was placed back on my feet.
“Dad, this is supposed to be the universal sign for choking. I did tell you,” I told him as I demonstrated the sign once more.
My dad chuckled, patted me on the back and asked me if I wanted some more chips which made all the adults in the room roar with laughter.
I left the room, totally pissed off that the lady at the American Red Cross and vowing to never play Charades.