As it turns out quarters are not as hard to swallow as you might think. Personally, I often struggle with large pills (i.e. fish oil capsules), but HoneyBunny has today demonstrated the ability to swallow a flat piece of metal measuring 24.26 mm in diameter (yes, that is almost an full inch), 1.75 mm thickness and weighing in at 5.67 grams.
When asked if he was sure it was a quarter he was emphatic. However, I thought maybe it was a dime or a nickel which would be less concerning from the getting it through the body standpoint. I asked if he remembered what pictures it had on each side to which he replied easily, "there was a man's picture on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other side", accurately describing the New York State Quarter.
His answer also told me that he had not simply found a quarter on the playground and decided the appropriate thing to do would be to pop it into his mouth an swallow it, but that he had taken the time to study it before swallowing it. It seems that a few hours passed between the time he swallowed it out on the playground and when he complained to the teacher about his throat hurting. HoneyBunny managed to eat lunch without a problem, but when it was time to take a nap he was suddenly in pain. The daycare called me and left a message and then called 911. I arrived at the daycare shortly before the paramedics who did a quick check and then recommended that I take him to the local urgent care for an x-ray.
The x-ray revealed the quarter had already made its way to his small intestine and should be on the exit path within the next 24 hours. The doctor noted that we do need to know when it exits. As you can imagine there is only one way to KNOW.
We asked him why he did it. He finally decided he did it to get attention and to avoid taking a nap. Well, it worked. He did get attention and he did avoid taking a nap at school. However, his decision did require some consequences. We are big fans of natural consequences in our household. There was the natural consequence of seeing Mom's unhappy face when she walked into the director's office (Why do "they" always assume these things are due to bad parenting?), the natural consequence of feeling silly and embarrassed when the paramedics were asking him why he swallowed the coin and if it was hard to do (IT IS HUGE!). When he cried over their questioning I calmly explained to HoneyBunny that he couldn't unswallow the quarter, but that he had to just keep moving forward to see what would happen next.
Then there were the natural consequences of setting in the waiting room (it was a lot like time-out) then the embarrassment of having to disrobe to put on the hospital gown for the x-ray. Unfortunately for HoneyBunny it doesn't end there; as I mentioned there is only one way to KNOW it has passed. That is certain to be a bit embarrassing too.
I'm fairly certain he will never swallow a quarter again and let's hope the others learn from his example.
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