This Too Shall Pass

Today I’m thrilled to bring you a guest post written by Joy, who blogs at Joy in This Journey.

Joy is one of the nicest people I have met in the time I’ve been blogging. She is a fantastic writer and a fabulous person. Even over the internet, she exudes compassion, wisdom, and an indomitable spirit. And with reason. She has not had an easy road (read her bio for more on this), and yet she moves forward, making a difference.

If you’ve ever known children who’ve put foreign objects in their mouths, you’ll be able to identify with her post. Read it, comment, and then go visit Joy’s blog. You’ll be glad you did.


International Money Pile in Cash and Coinsphoto © 2011 epSos .de | more info (via: Wylio) In retrospect, it’s shocking we didn’t see this particular x-ray until our fourth child.

On Wednesday, the day my sinuses were most full of cold virus, I huddled under a blanket in the family room. Little Boy bounced and twisted, rolled and flopped on the couch across from me. I was too sick to manage my usual “Quit jumping on the couch” bark.

He coughed. Normal I know, but it was just odd enough that quit averting my eyes from the bouncing. He was laying on his back, squirming. As I watched, he caught his breath, scrambled to a seated position, and then wailed, “I ate-ed a penny!”

For the love of… I’m not up for this today.

I pulled myself out of the chair and digging deep for kindness, wrapped my arms around him. “It’s ok, honey. Did it hurt?”

“Yeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss!” he sobbed. “I am so sorry, mommy. I didn’t mean to ate-ed the penny!”

“Can you still feel it?” I asked.

He nodded, still bawling.

Oh shit. It’s stuck. I have to rush him to the hospital. He’s going to need surgery. I’m going to be sleeping there tonight.

I looked him over carefully.

Get a grip. What are you, a novice? His color is good. He’s breathing fine. He doesn’t need to go to the E.R.

I grabbed the telephone.

“Hi, yes, my three-year-old just swallowed a penny. Can I just watch him and see if it passes?”

“You need to bring him in. Can you be here in an hour?”

Fan-friggin-tastic. I have to get dressed.


The nurse opened the waiting room door and didn’t even call his name. “What did you do, buddy?” she chuckled at him.

“I ate-ed a penny.” So matter of fact.

“Why did you do that?”

“It was in my mouth.”


“Are you sure he swallowed a penny?” The tech looked less than thrilled about the age of her next patient.

“Oh yes.” I blew my nose and plunged my germy hands back into my hoodie.

“All right, you stay here and I’ll take him back.”

Well aren’t you the optimist! Knock yourself out.

Another tech walked out. “So he swallowed a penny? I have this rule,” he chuckled. “Never eat a penny that’s been eaten already. You know where it’s been.”

I forced a smile, straining to hear how Little Boy would handle this tech.

Should I tell them? Nah – they won’t see the scar since they didn’t have him take off his shirt.

I feigned amateur-mom-ness until the x-ray printed. “You want to come look at this?” He waved me over to the printer. “You know, that looks bigger than a penny.”

The bright white perfect circle lept off the film. “Wow. There it is. And look, there’s his stent.”

The tech gaped at me. “He has a stent?”

Pretty sad what a kick I get out of messing with radiologists.

I grinned. “Come on, bud. We’re done here.” I raced after my son who was heading into phlebotomy. Glass tubes! Colorful caps! It’s a boy’s paradise!


“Come see this,” the doctor said, beckoning me down the hall. He flicked on the light and pointed at the x-ray film. “There it is, well below his diaphragm. It will pass all the way through. You sure it’s a penny?”

“Well no, I didn’t see it. Sure does look more like a nickel. Hey, I don’t have to look for it in his poop, do I?”

“Mommy! I’m hungry!” Little Boy tugged at my arm.

“Well, honey, maybe next time you won’t eat a nickel for lunch. It isn’t a very filling meal, is it?”


Joy, Author of Joy In This Journey
Contributing writer at Deeper Story and The Well Written Woman
Connect with her on Twitter: WritingJoy


  1. says

    This just widened my spectrum of When to Panic When Child Swallows Non-Food. With first kid, it was Paper, until he swallowed paper. Good to know I can spread it out to Nickel with #2.

    What’s the consensus on Quarter? You know, just to be prepared.

    • says

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but according to my son’s fan club, aka the pediatrician’s bevy of nurses, a quarter is “serious bidness.” Definitely worthy of x-rays, might even get you a free pass to the O.R.!

  2. says

    It amazes me that my fourth hasn’t eaten anything like this. That child chews on everything. Of course, maybe it’s the chewing that saves us. Needless to say, we keep a large supply of gum around!

    Also, best title ever. Love it.

  3. says

    Funny post, Joy! My mom always tells me the story of when I swallowed a penny and it came out in my diaper – just like the doctor said! So sorry you were sick – don’t you hate when you have to drag your kids out when you just want to huddle on the couch under a blanket!!!

  4. says

    Hi Joy!

    Nice to meet you!

    This sounds like something that William might have done with a Lego. I see now why Leanne likes you so much. You give her perspective. (Plus you really are a kick-ass writer!) To my knowledge, none of her brood has swallowed coins yet. I could be wrong.

    So um… did everything “come out” okay? 😉

    • says

      Thanks! Nice to meet you too.

      They kindly gave me permission NOT to pan for “gold” in my toilet, but approximately 10 days later, the boy complained of a bad belly ache, complete with writhing and tears. After I raced him to the potty, I heard a small explosion. I am assuming that was the money and going merrily on my way. There was so much debris I wasn’t about to search myself. :)

  5. says

    I love that you mess with radiologists. That was my favorite part.
    I’ve had a hell of a learning curve trying to figure out what’s a hospital trip and what isn’t. That sounds terrible. Our last swallowing was done when #4 was almost seven (and should have known better) and it was one of these metallic marbles in a magnetic building set (kinda like the marble in Mousetrap). Yes to the ER, no to the retrieval, and round is far less serious than any other shape. Great post!

    • says

      Oh me too. I got sick and tired of paying for non-essential visits and finally figured out that I could call the nurses and ask them.

      I think kids do the craziest stuff when they’re old enough to know better.

  6. says

    Love the title, Joy! Thankfully, all of my kids made it to their teenage years without ever eating anything “inedible.” So far, my 20-month-old granddaughter has only chewed the ends off three crayons (that Gramma gave her)…she was fine.

    Glad everything worked out all right!


  7. says

    Hi Joy ~

    Your boy sounds incredibly sweet (ate-ed : I LOVE it) and you sound like an awesome mom.

    Glad to meet you here.

    p.s. So WAS it a nickel? I’ve gotta know!

  8. says

    Wow. Great story!

    I have for kids and the only non-food thing ingested was when my little boy ate his sister’s sticker earrings. It made for some fancy poop later!

    So glad your little one is okay.

  9. says

    Our daughter was playing with some polished stones from a planter one day, when my wife asked me to take her away from them. I assured her that she was fine, and that she would never put stuff like that in her mouth. I got an earful two days later when one turned up in her diaper. Oops!

  10. says

    How funny… Glad to hear everything ended up okay ‘in the end’…

    My son swallowed one of those big glass stones for fish tanks. He freaked out and yelled “I swallowed a ruby!”

    I didn’t take him in, but I did inspect his poo until I found it (and if I hadn’t found it I would have taken him in). He was 2.5 or so at the time so I had thought the risk of him swallowing things had “passed”… Always expect the unexpected, right?

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