Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black History Month: The Scariest Day Of My Life

I call these posts Black History Month because I’m Black, and these stories are my history.

I didn’t arrive at this title easily, especially since I’ve been shot at, robbed at gunpoint, received multiple concussions and the like. But this day was so nerve wracking, it took me a full day to regain my composure. Let me tell you what happened.
I was in college, but still living at my grandmother’s house in Savannah. I was asleep on the floor in the living room, under a palate of blankets. My Sega Genesis controller was next to me, as were my huge DJ earphones that I used to listen to angry and misogynistic rap without offending the others in the house. I stayed up until about 5 the previous night, which was commonplace for me. I wasn’t up doing homework, but rather I was trying to finish a Bill Walsh College Football video game season. When the incident occurred, at around 8:30, I was good and sleep. Knocked out beyond comprehension. That’s when I heard it.

What the *&#@ was that?!? It was a strange shrieking noise that was coming closer every second. I didn’t want to get up and see what was going on, but something told me that I should. My contacts were blurry, but I clearly made out the sight of my grandmother running toward me. My brain focused a little and I saw her hands. They were flailing around and I saw something else that alarmed me. My great grandmother was standing behind her hitting her on her back. I realized my grandmother was choking. I immediately sprung in to action.
I was still half sleep, but I knew that I had to do something. My great grandmother was just making things worse by pummeling my grandmother on the back. I spoke in the most terse tone that I had ever spoken to my beloved elders.


She did. I felt bad about that, but it was necessary. I went in for the Heimlich Maneuver. I tried abdominal thrusts for a while, but it didn’t work. I realized that I wasn’t using enough force. I really didn’t want to hurt my grandma, who at this time was in her 70’s. But I had no choice. It was either hurt her, or lose her and that was not an option. I went back in for more. I thought about what I had to do. Thrust under the diaphragm. I knew where the diaphragm was from being in chorus all those years. My chorus teacher would always tell us to sing from our diaphragm and demonstrate where it was. I mustered my strength and gave 4 big abdominal thrusts. By the fourth one, she was no longer shrieking, and was now coughing. Grandma was okay!

I ran to the kitchen and got her some water. I noticed a big old horse pill in the hallway by the front door. It was blue and way bigger than anything I would ever hope to take. I was relieved she was okay, but still a little bit shook. I gave her a big ole hug and then went to collapse on the couch. I can’t believe how close I came to losing my grandma that day. That was the scariest day of my life thus far. Way scarier than anything bad happening to me. It’s like I always had a (foolish) sense that I would be okay no matter what manner of danger came my way. But that day, seeing my grandmother struggling to breath scared the mess out of me. She’s still with us 15 years later, and I couldn’t imagine how much life would have been different if she didn’t make it that day.


Jameil said...

That's so awesome that you saved her life!! She's a great person.

Nexgrl said...

It was scary, but you were also courageous.

Ginae said...

you sure have some interesting stuff happen to you..i'm glad you were able to save grandma. i know it must have been very scary, but i bet your whole fam was so proud of you.