Posts Tagged ‘zipper’

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When my youngest child, Susie, was around 7 years old, she had a favorite garment. Previously, it had been a little blue Hawaiian print sundress that she had gotten in Maui at Hilo Hattie’s. She would refuse to take it off and I would have to wait until she was asleep to wash it. She finally outgrew that outfit and found another favorite. It was a bright red chenille zippered vest. I don’t even remember what the other pieces of the outfit were. I just remember the vest which she wore non stop. If it was too warm, she wore the vest as a blouse. If it was too cold, she would wear the vest as one of several layers. Regardless of the weather or occasion, she wore that vest.

Finally, one day the zipper broke. Did that keep her from wearing the vest? Nope! She wore it at home (because I refused to let her wear it out of the house any longer) over whatever top she had on. She wouldn’t let me throw it out. Believe me, I considered tossing it out while she was at school but figured it might cause more problems than it solved and she wasn’t hurting anyone. She was letting me set some boundaries about when to wear it and where. So I let her keep it. One day, after school, as I headed for the kitchen to get dinner started, I saw Susie jumping up and down on top of the bean bag chair in the bedroom she shared with her older sister. What caught my attention was that she had the corner of the vest, the part with the zipper on it, in her mouth and was jumping up and down. I popped into her room and told her not to jump with the zipper in her mouth or she might get hurt. I even said she might swallow her zipper! She took the zipper out of her mouth and kept jumping and I headed for the kitchen.

Not five minutes later I heard her screaming! “Mommy! Mommy! Call the ambulance! Take me to the hospital!” I stopped long enough to realize that she was serious and that she was scared. I ran to the bedroom expecting to see blood all over. She stood in the middle of the room, unmoving, with a horrified look on her face. I asked her what had happened and she said, “I swallowed my zipper!” That was the only part coherent enough for me to make out. I asked again and got the story. She had put the zipper back in her mouth and continued jumping after I left the room and sure enough, just like “mama said”, the zipper mechanism became dislodged from the track and she ended up swallowing it! She kept saying: “Call the hospital. I have to go to the hospital. I’m going to die!” She appeared to be fine, other than being scared to death. She was not choking. She was breathing fine. I checked her mouth and throat for any blood. There was none. Then I called the doctor’s office and explained what had happened. Once they got over their hysterical laughter, they said I should take her straight to the Radiology Department and they would take some pictures to see if they could find the zipper. So off we went. When we arrived at the Radiology Department, they were waiting for us and they were full of questions about how she could have swallowed a zipper. Had they understood the doctor’s office correctly?

After all of the explanations, they took the x-rays and we were ushered into the waiting room while they looked at the x-rays to see if they could find anything there. Sure enough, out came the radiologist, shaking his head and trying not to laugh. He called us over to the back and showed us the x-ray and there it was. The zipper. It was sideways in her esophagus, with the little zipper pull sticking straight out. There was no doubt what it was. The x-ray technician kept calling out to people in the department to come and see the zipper on the x-ray! My daughter’s face was just as red as the chenille vest the zipper had escaped from!

So, long story a little shorter, there was nothing to be done except wait for the zipper to pass through her digestive tract and hope it didn’t get stuck. We had to keep an eye out for the zipper over the weekend to see if it passed. Now the best part of the story, other than the fact that she learned to listen to what mom said, is that, while I rarely went any place during my weekends with no kids, that weekend I had plans and plane tickets out of town. The kids were staying with their father and their step-mother. So I didn’t have to watch for the zipper. Susie’s step-mom was the one that had the pleasure of donning gloves and examining every bowel movement that weekend until the zipper passed! And it did.

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