06 September 2013

Mothers Worst Nightmare

It's a day that will be etched on my mind forever and it was an odd day to start off with.  I double booked myself for various appointments, but forgot about the cleaning girls.  They arrived earlier than expected so I dropped Daisy at nursery and drove to my next appointment only to be told I was a week early. We snorted laughing, said our quick goodbyes and then I thought crap……the gas man!   All afternoon I waited, but I had to pick Daisy up from nursery before 6pm.  I had no choice but to leave a note on the door saying I wouldn’t be long and to “please wait”.  I thought it’s the least the guy could do after me waiting in all day.  Came back home to find a “sorry I missed you card”.  I was angry that he just didn't care.

I knew we had no milk so thought, oh well at least we can go get that from the supermarket across the road.  I told Daisy to put her shoes back on and she grabbed a handful of jelly sweets to eat on the way.  We walked around the shop for about five minutes and Daisy disappeared briefly while I picked up cheese and grapes.  I then saw her coming back with the biggest carton of milk they do {6 pints}.  Mummy it’s heavy she exclaimed.  I said “Daisy we don’t need that size of milk’, but I want it she said.  We walked to the checkout and put the shopping up on to the counter and I handed over my money just as Daisy grabbed me, with a little red face and fear in her eyes I knew it was serious.  What happened next was the worst few moments of my life and writing about it makes my skin crawl.

Daisy was choking.  I looked into her mouth and couldn’t see any obstruction.  I then stood behind her, bent her upper body slightly forward and using the whole of my hand I gave up to FIVE firm back blows between her shoulder blades.  ONE, TWO, THREE.  That didn’t dislodge the object from her throat so I moved onto step two which is abdominal thrusts, also known as the Heimlich maneuver.  Again I gave up to FIVE abdominal thrusts.  Placing my fist between the bottom for her rib cage and her belly button, I put my other hand on top and pulled inwards and upwards.  If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the object, you repeat steps one and two. 

After I delivered the first set of back blows I said to the shop assistant CALL AN AMBULANCE.  I carried on with the cycle again and then I shouted IS ANYONE A FIRST AIDER.  A young man, not more than seventeen years old seemed to be encouraged forward from behind me.  I looked at him for a second; he looked sheepish and was clearly terrified so I turned my back on him.  Still carrying on with my cycle of emergency first aid.  I decided to quickly put her onto the floor, making a hook shape with my index finger I scooped in and straight out of Daisy’s mouth.  I looked into my baby’s eyes and her little face mirrored the fear I had inside me.  I got her back on her feet and away we went again.  

Next a shop assistant squatted down on the floor beside me and was saying C’MON, GET THIS UP.  She told me to get Daisy into the recovery position and I said NO.  I whimpered “oh no’ for a second fearing the worst but another voice in my head said GET THIS FUCKING THING OUT OF HER.  It was getting pretty desperate, blood stared coming out her mouth and nose and she continued to gasp for breath and was starting to lose conscious.  Three seconds after, blood and salvia splattered all over the floor and a little voice squealed “mummy you’re hurting me” and WHAM the sweet was out! 

I have never felt so much relief in my life.  I turned her around, looked at her wee face and hugged her tight.  I should’ve got a bloody round of applause having to do that all by myself.  It probably only lasted a few minutes but it seemed to go on forever.  Still, NO AMBULANCE arrived, was it even called?  The ambulance depot is literally around the corner.  There was no staff FIRST AIDER, where was the MANAGER?  What if I panicked, what would they have done?

The shop assistant who offered words of encouragement at the time fetched a bottle of water for Daisy to drink.  We were asked if we wanted to come and sit in the office for a bit but I just wanted to get out of the place.  I told Daisy that Daddy got home today and that we could maybe go and see him, but he was out.  I left my phone at the house, today of all days as I was literally just going to the shop for milk so we couldn't call anyone.  We drove to nanny’s work but she wasn’t on duty in the particular building we went to.  We then drove a few miles to the next place she would be and was relieved to see her car was in the car park.  We walked inside and told the staff what had happened, we were both still covered in blood and I was clearly shaken.  They made me a coffee while we waited for mum to get back with the bus.  Daisy was completely fine, she asked for a drink and they got it, she asked for a biscuit and they got it.  They were great with us, but I don’t think they realised the full horror of what just happened.  Mum arrived and took Daisy into the hall where the residents were waiting patiently for their concert to begin.  As the singer belted out Patsy Cline’s hit Crazy, I wept.

Daisy’s dad and I did a first aid course when she was born.  We drove sixty miles away for a specialist babies & children first aid course with the Red Cross.  However that was almost three years ago and I’m not sure how confident I would have been if it wasn’t for children’s TV personality Dr Ranj.  I think there is a slot every morning on children’s TV where he explains various medical conditions and the importance of looking after yourself.  Daisy loves watching him and you can’t help but sing the catchy theme tune.  I wasn’t sure if he was an actual doctor or just a TV presenter so I googled him and yes, he is a real NHS doctor specialising in children and young people.  I grabbed a quick tea break one morning and switched over to “normal” TV while Daisy wasn’t looking, to find that he was on a popular daytime show called This Morning.  I remember it so clearly, I said to Daisy, “look it’s Dr Ranj”.  She huffed and puffed and complained that she wanted her programmes back on. I said no lets watch this and she went off to another room.  As I watched he was talking about important medicines to take on holiday.  Then he talked about choking and did a demonstration on what to do.  The rest is history as they say.  No one will ever know how glad I was to watch that.

Daisy's cardigan she was wearing at the time of the incident

Daisy's nursery dress she was wearing at the time of the incident

Dr Ranj explaining on This Morning what to do in a choking emergency

Patsy Cline singing Crazy 1962


  1. Omg Donna! How very very scary! Well done on doing that.

  2. How awful for you! I think the supermarket should be shamed for having no first aiders available and for not calling an ambulance!!! Also, you should write to Dr Ranj and tell him that he probably saved your daughter's life. I'm so glad you are both ok xx