I had the scare of my life at the end of 2013, and it gave me a greater appreciation of each moment I have with my children. My youngest son was a toddler at the time, and he almost choked to death on a bouncy ball. I published this story in my book Trust Your Intuition, but now I’m going to share it with my readers here on this blog.
I had just arrived home from dropping 2 kids at birthday parties. It was 7 PM, my son had prepared some dinner, but nobody had eaten yet. I scooped up my smiling toddler, Ian, walked straight to the pot of food (our healthy version of mac & cheese) and gave him a big bite. He chewed for a moment, then started choking.
He had eaten a big bite or possibly two in a row, so I just thought he hadn’t chewed it enough. I moved to the sink, draped him over my arm and tried to do the Heimlich manuver. He didn’t cough anything out and wasn’t breathing well. His eyes started fluttering and that’s when I knew something was really wrong.
I yelled to my 15 year-old boyscout son to come quick and continue doing the Heimlich while I called 911. They told me they were sending paramedics and continued to ask me for details. My older son had been unsuccessful in helping Ian, so I took him back and by this time, he was limp in my arms. He was semi-conscious, he wasn’t turning blue. I held him very still and could hear that he was barely breathing.
My husband is an ER doctor and probably could have resolved the problem in seconds, but he was working 45 minutes away at the time. My son called our neighbor, who is a paramedic, but he didn’t answer immediately. I hung up with 911 so I could go see if anyone was coming who could help. I was still trying to do the Heimlich and talk to my baby to keep him fighting. He was definitely struggling greatly to breathe.
My son had been unable to reach any neighbors by phone. He was so scared and frustrated that he ran out to the street and started yelling for help. We live on 2 acre lots, so there is a bit of space between the homes in our neighborhood. But our next-door neighbors heard him and came to help. They couldn’t do much, but it was a comfort to have them.
Luckily, it didn’t take that long for the paramedics to arrive. They had already been called out for something else, and were only 5 minutes from our house instead of across town. I told them I thought he had food in his throat and needed a suction. They quickly tried to suction him, but nothing was coming out. I was trying desperately to keep Ian coherent. They put a monitor on him and could tell he was getting a little oxygen. They tried to give him some through a mask, but it wasn’t helping.
The paramedic then put some instrument down Ian’s throat. I thought he was trying to see in, which he probably was. The next thing I knew, he had pulled a little bouncy ball out of Ian’s throat and was holding it in front of my face. Relief washed over me. Even though my baby Ian was still semi-conscious, I knew he would be okay.
At that point, Ian had been struggling hard to breathe for about 15 minutes. Something came to my mind that I had learned from a recent class about how essential oils can help get oxygen into the body. I immediately ran to my storage case of oils on my kitchen counter. I grabbed peppermint, frankincense and doTERRA’s grounding blend called Balance. I rubbed a few drops of each on the bottom’s of his feet and chest. One of the paramedics commented after a few minutes, that the oils seemed to be helping increase Ian’s oxygen levels.
My paramedic neighbor arrived ready to help, and was happy to see that the main problem had been resolved. We decided to take Ian to the hospital in the ambulance so he could get stabilized with extra oxygen and get checked out to make sure he was fine. Before we loaded him, I asked my neighbor, who is a member of my church, to give him a blessing. He did so, and between the essential oils and that blessing, I was completely comforted and calmed.
On the way to the hospital, Ian started responding again. They pricked him for something and he cried, which was good.
I looked at my older son, and he acted as if he might loose his emotional control. I had a key chain on my purse which holds essential oils, so I handed him doTERRA’s calming blend called Serenity. He just sat in the ambulance and smelled it for a few minutes and then was fine.
At the hospital they did a chest x-ray, and could tell that Ian’s lungs had taken a beating. They said his oxygen levels were pretty stable though. I had some of doTERRA’s respiratory blend of essential oils called Breathe in my key chain as well. I carry small, sample size bottles that usually have a dropper piece, but that one didn’t. So when I went to apply a drop to Ian’s foot, I dumped out the whole thing onto the hospital bed. It was fine because then he could just breathe in the healing, strengthening aroma.
I realized that it was 8:30 or 9 PM by then, and Ian hadn’t eaten anything for awhile. I asked for something and got apple juice and graham crackers. After Ian ate and drank, he perked up much more and started laughing and playing. He seemed to be getting back to normal.
A respiratory therapist came in to give Ian a treatment. The treatment uses steroids to reduce inflammation. I generally try to avoid them, but in an emergency, I would definitely use them. I just wasn’t sure they were really necessary by that point. The nurse had commented that Ian’s oxygen was good, so I asked the respiratory therapist if he thought it was good. He said yes. I told him I didn’t want the treatment then. He said okay and walked out.
The ER doctor, who was a personal friend, said he was a little worried about Ian, and normally might keep him overnight to make sure he did okay. I was so happy that he just kept us there an extra hour and then let us go home.
Because we have a high deductible insurance, I had to pay the hospital before we left. It was $1700 , $100 for the radiologist fee for looking at the x-ray and $1600 for the ambulance ride (which was billed to us later). I was doubly glad then that I had declined the respiratory treatment.
When we arrived home, I pulled some of Dr. Christopher’s Respiratory Massage oil out of my natural remedy cupboard and used it to dilute more essential oils for Ian before putting him to bed. We checked on him that night and he was fine and showed no signs the next day that anything had happened.
As I reflect on this experience, my feelings and gratitude about a few things are solidified. I am so thankful for caring and well-trained rescue teams, nurses and doctors who save and improve lives. I’m also thankful for the technology that helps them with crisis management. This is where conventional medicine shines and I consider it to be a great blessing that we have it.
I am also grateful for natural tools that can increase our wellness, sometimes preventing crisis, and often healing and strengthening after a crisis. Synthetic drugs can help greatly during a crisis. They can manage problems, but because they are made from isolated, unnatural compounds, they often carry negative side effects. They almost never heal, balance, strengthen or nourish the body.
Natural tools like herbs, essential oils and even whole foods do nourish, strengthen, balance and heal the body in many different ways. Whole foods should be at the foundation of our health if we want our health to be good. Natural solutions most optimally should be used for fine tuning, wellness and comfort. But these tools are powerful enough to heal and manage many illnesses, when used correctly. Their regular use can often prevent situations from ever getting to crisis point.
My little boy is almost 6 now, and doing great! I’m so glad for the capable help we received, and the natural tools in our home!