I read this family's story on another blog I read regularaly. It is so very scary because any of you with small kids know that no matter what you do your kids can find a way to get themselves in trouble or get hurt. I know for a fact my Celia has gone through stages that she'll put anything in her mouth. This story really brings how dangerous that is to light.
January 4th in the late afternoon Kai who was 14 months old at the time suddenly began to cry inconsolably. I tried everything and could not calm her down. I finally calmed her down and shortly after she vomited all over. I though this was strange since she had a stomach flu a few weeks prior. The next day she couldn’t keep any food down, she would vomit food up immediately but she was able to drink liquids. This went on all day. I began to think she had swallowed something and the only thing I could think of what that she swallowed an earring. I had just bought her new earrings a few days before and I caught her with one in her mouth and couldn’t find the other. I told my husband I had been debating taking her to the ER to get checked out or not, he told me that I needed to take her to be safe. I was convinced that if I left time go on it was going to get better, but I listened to my husband and took her to the ER at about 3 that afternoon. I told the ER nurse that I thought she had swallowed something they immediately took her in for an x-ray. The technician called me over right away and showed me an image of what appeared to be a coin in her chest. When he said it was a coin (which I agreed it looked like) I went along with it. I have a 4 year old son who LOVES change and always finding it and playing with it so this didn’t surprise me one bit.
We were transported via ambulance to a hospital about 2 hours away to get this coin removed because it was stuck in her esophagus and needed to be surgically removed. I assured my husband I would be okay alone (the nurses had told me I would be there over night with her) and I told him to go home and be with our son and come get us in the morning.
We got to the hospital about 10 in the evening and were very quickly taken up to the surgical floor. The doctor came and she took one look at the x-ray and said “now that has to be a battery”. When I heard these words my heart just sank! I knew immediately it was, I had one like that on my kitchen island in its package. She explained to me how serious batteries were and how she had told the other ER to ask me if there was any chance of it being one because we should have been airlifted. She painted a worse case scenario picture to me and a best case scenario to me. Next they took my baby into surgery.
I waited what seemed to be an hours but was only 30 minuets the doctor came in and told me it was a battery and it was caroded and stuck in her esophagus and she needed to call in another surgeon to help her get it out. She informed me that Kai would be in the hospital for a few days. I called my husband with the news and he decided to come to the hospital to be with me. I sat there in the waiting room alone just wanting to hold my baby. It was supposed to be a 30 min surgery that ended up taking 3 hours!
She had to stay in the PICU for 2 days and could not have anything to eat or drink for 48 hours. They had to run some tests to make sure she was safe to eat and drink again. She passed all the tests and was sent home expected to make a full recovery.
About 2 weeks after she choked on a piece of food and I thought nothing of it. Over the next few days she began choking more and more. We were getting ready to move across the country so I made her an appointment and had some tests ran and they said everything was okay to have her seen once we got to Utah, our new home.
We have now been in Utah almost a month and have learned that Kai developed a stricture or a narrowing in her esophagus from scar tissue that has built up. She can eat some solid foods but chokes on anything larger than a crumb. I have learned what food she can mush up and eat but it is VERY limited. She went from being almost 22 lbs to barley 18 lbs. She is now Pediasure and we are back up to 20 lbs. She will have surgery on Thursday to fix this problem but it may not, strictures are hard to fix and can take multiple surgeries. This will be her 3rd time having anesthesia in a 6 week period! If this does not solve it her GI doctor has said we will have to look at putting a feeding tube in her belly. I am hoping and praying we can avoid this by keeping her weight up with Pediasure.
The whole reason I wanted to share Kai’s story is because people do not understand how deadly batteries are to anyone and how fast they start to hurt them. If a battery is swallowed it can start to cause burns and tears within 2 hours! Kais battery was in almost 30 hours! Please, please safe guard all batteries (including button ones) this was the one Kai swallowed. It was one for my car key remote. I never knew how harmful batteries were until this and I want to get her story out there so other parents are aware and we can help prevent this from happening. Batteries KILL so please treat them how you would treat chemicals and other medicine. All of my batteries are now in my medicine bin that is no where near where my children can get to it.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I am going to try my best to keep Cecelia safe, but it isn't always that easy. I am going to go home and hug my baby tonight.