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#24 - A slap on the back

Friday evening, supper is cooking, wine is poured and the weekend lies ahead.


Parents will likely agree that having children brings a paradigm shift to one's outlook of the world and more so one's assessment of it. Attention-getters are no longer the presence of the abnormal but the absence of the normal. For example Lego injuries are now 'normal', discussing snot (or worse) over breakfast is SOP and noise, noise is everywhere.


So Friday evening, back turned as I cooked at the stove the deafening silence hit me. It had only been a few seconds but it was enough to check. Our youngest was choking. Wide eyed and panicked she simply couldn't understand why the breaths weren't getting in.Seeing a child helpless is awful, when it's your own - well you can imagine.


I first met "Resuscie Annie" in 2001. Dressed in fatigues back in Officer Training I didn't think the 30 minutes session, repeated bi-annually ever since would be used in anger in our kitchen. What happened next isn't so much a blur but more a series of autopilot-esk events that simply just occurred.


5 back slaps, hard enough for Helen to hear them upstairs, and 2 abdominal thrusts later and we've got a breath, relief, tears and a good amount of sausage vomit on the floor.


"Training is everything." - Mark Twain.


When I practice, in whatever guise that may be, the need to train is rarely the first thought that comes to mind. Friday was a painfully real lesson in the need stay sharp and that when things goes wrong - go with what you know.


Annie, Mr Heimlich - thank you.


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