The paramedics arrived two hours after David began choking on his own vomit. His body was stretched out on the wheelchair and it looked as if he was going to slide off any second. His head hung back like a dead flower. His eyes were closed. Droplets of sweat covered his face. His limbs weren't moving.
I grabbed the back of his head and pushed it upright willing life into him with every fiber of my being.
“Don’t die.” I whispered holding his head firmly in the palm of my hand as the torrent of regurgitated chicken soup and oatmeal spewed down the sides of his lifeless mouth down my arm and onto the vomit-soaked floor.
David’s eyes opened and locked into mine but he didn’t really seem to see me. His eyes were fixed on a place somewhere in my soul.
“Come on, David. I am going to help you sit up.”
He began to moan. Once I got him into a sitting position I ran to the phone and dialed for help.
By the time the paramedics arrived I had it under control.
He was breathing.
He’d stopped vomiting.
I somehow got him to the bathroom.
The paramedics slipped on latex gloves, coaxed David into standing and watched me clean him up. I wondered the whole time why they bothered wearing them since not one of them helped clean up either the mess or David.
By 9pm David was sipping on grape flavored pediatric electrolytes looking as if nothing happened.
“They said I threw up. I don’t remember that at all.”
“Yes, David, you Linda Blaired me.”
He began laughing and his chubby, cherub-like face now rosy with color became very animated.
“You know, at the nursing home,” he began, I would have died. I threw up one day and it took them three hours to come and help me.”
His attention quickly shifted to the baby drink.
“Yum. This is good. No more oatmeal.”
“No more oatmeal,” I chimed in and we both dissolved into a giggle fit.