Why do I say that? I come home after a hard day of tearing down and setting back up my room for our volunteer Christmas party. We sit down to dinner and my middle boy, 2 of 3, says sort of proudly, “I swallowed a penny!” “Really?” I reply thinking he is playing around, “How did that happen?” “I don’t know.” My wife then says, “Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about that.”
“What!! He really swallowed a penny!!”
“Well, my sister swallowed a quarter when she was little and it came through fine,” My wife says totally non-plussed about my state of agitation. “He swallowed it yesterday sometime,” she adds.
Being the fretful father that I am, a trait I must have picked up from my mother, I immediately start thinking about copper poisoning or an obstructed bowel or some other agonizing torturous death my child with suffer.
But, my wife’s calm response, and the fact I didn’t want to have pay a 100 bucks and sit 9 hours in the emergency room, began to abate my irrational concern. I then went to the computer and “googled” the links above.
I learned a few things:
– Penny swallowing is a common occurrence among children under 5.
– As long as the penny is not lodged in the esophagus and the child is not vomiting or gagging for air, there is not an immediate emergency concern.
– Once the penny gets into the stomach and the G.I. tract, more than likely, the kid will pass it with in a couple of days.
– If the penny doesn’t pass, or you miss finding it, then a doctor’s visit and X-ray should be the next step to make sure it isn’t stuck. Either an enema or if necessary, a minor procedure, can dislodge it.
All the links recommend the parent don rubber gloves and go a fishing, if you know what I mean, to hunt for the penny.
I don’t remember reading any Focus on the Family, Ted Tripp, or Family Life today materials about this one.