In a newly invented game--one that he thought of himself--my six-year old son swallowed a quarter. The game? A spin-off of Hungry, Hungry Hippos: "Stuff Your Mouth With Coins--See How Much You Can Hold." Except he couldn't hold as much as he thought he could, and down went the quarter.
He came upstairs, crying and scared. "Mom, I swallowed a quarter. Am I gonna die?" Me, not thinking he was capable of such a feat, wondered why he would be making up a story like this. But after lots of questioning, "Are you serious? Are you really serious?" and affirming he was in fact serious, the second line of questioning was, "Are you sure it was a quarter?" We are learning about the different coins right now, and I told him to show me exactly what coin he had put in his mouth. He produced a quarter.
With the coins from his piggy bank spread in piles (pennies, nickles, quarters minus one) all over the living room, he began to cry. "I don't want to die. This was too short of a life! I didn't even get to fly a plane."
I assured him that I didn't think he would die. He assured me that he would. We went in for the x-ray. On the way, I lectured him about how we don't have insurance and Christmas is in a few days (this was last week) and this is not what I want to be spending money on. Then, thoughts of surgery, flashed through my mind, and huge, horrible bills. I just prayed the quarter would go down and out quickly.
I realized he did not need lecturing in what he believed were his final moments on earth, but rather compassion and mercy. I stopped lecturing and drove silently the rest of the way. That was as much mercy as I could muster right then.
Sure enough, the x-ray showed a quarter. Fortunately, it was in his abdomen--not his trachea or esophagus, which would have required surgery in our nearest metropolitan city four hours away, since no surgeon will touch that kind of surgery here in our smallish city.
I think it's since entered the sewer system. Despite our daily checking, I think we missed its exit.
Tonight, our middle son began crying before bed and asked if he would die if he swallowed a nail. After another line of intent questioning, he admitted he did in fact swallow a nail. My stomach sunk to the floor.
I buried my head in my hands. My husband asked him why in the world he would do such a thing. Through tears, he answered, "Because my nail was sharp and I was mad at it, so I wanted it off." It was his finger-nail.