Thank goodness it wasn’t fast food

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When we sat down at the table, I was nearly tuckered out and not looking forward to the rest of the day.

An early morning drive to Birmingham is never fun, especially if you’ve made it there by 9:30 a.m. and have plans to head into work when you’re made it back to Andalusia.

I’d worked email, made phone calls and even wrote one story while the youngest girl sat in the dentist chair. In actuality, it didn’t take any time to fix a broken front tooth (courtesy of a fall at church, even though I’m not sure how one can fall on the ground and break a tooth) and a painful broken back jaw (courtesy of surgery). We were out of there by 11 a.m. and sitting in a nearby sidewalk restaurant waiting for her shrimp lo mien and my chicken fried rice.

I had it all calculated out. For us to arrive back in Andalusia no later than 3 p.m., we had to leave Birmingham no later than 11:30 a.m. – which meant a sit down, hurry up and eat meal.

I’ve always detested eating drive-thru food in the car. It’s messy and makes the car stink. Plus, you just don’t feel full after, which can be a good thing if there’s time for chess pie from Durbin Farms. But, that wasn’t in the cards for us that day.

Mia has always been a quick eater. Food goes in her mouth like she hasn’t eaten in three days. Typically, I don’t have to rush her, and that day was no different. I was gathering our things, closing boxes and such as she was finishing her last bite. She coughed a little, and I didn’t think much about it – allergies and such, you know – when I realized something was wrong. She was choking – blue lipped, Heimlich-maneuver-needing choking.

When it was all said and done, I was proud of the two of us – and Dr. McDreamy who stepped in to save my daughter’s life when my attempts weren’t successful. I didn’t freak, and neither did my girl. She did everything right. She didn’t panic. She nodded and pointed to her throat when I asked if she were choking. She didn’t panic when the mutant shrimp (which, no lie, was the size of a half dollar) got caught the second time.

When it was all said and done, she was more embarrassed than anything over the scene – because by then, the entire restaurant was filled; a gaggle of older ladies was screaming, “Lawdy, Jesus. Somebody call 911 for that baby,” and everyone else had stopped what they were doing to stare.

All I can say is thank goodness that lunchtime, one block from UAB hospital, means there are doctors and medical personnel everywhere – including Dr. Brad whatever-his-last-name-was because I was too out of it to remember to write it down before we left.

And thank goodness, we weren’t on the interstate or things would have ended badly.