Not once had we ever imagined that a watch-sized battery could be so dangerous. One morning Charlotte told us she had just finished eating her snack. The comment was odd because we hadn't given her anything to eat since we had just recently finished breakfast, so we prodded further only to hear her say, "I swallowed my lucky coin." She then showed us a small toy calculator the girls had both been given to use as a "supercomputer" (@pbskids #superwhy). Not even a minute went by before we were speaking with someone at Poison Control. They explained that it was hazardous and could burn a hole through her esophagus (think feeding and breathing tubes) in as little as two hours and we should rush her to the nearest Emergency Department.
To make a long story short, we found out how fast and agile a Tesla Model 3 can be on our drive to the nearest hospital with someone able to help. We were in Southern Vermont at the time, so that meant driving to Albany, NY. Typically a 90 min drive, but "safely" done in 45 minutes that day. The 1st set of X-rays showed the battery in the worst possible place (lodged in her esophagus requiring surgery to remove), but fortunately, the 2nd set of X-rays confirmed that it had passed down into her intestines (now we hope that it passes in less than a week).
In a single moment, our life as a family almost changed for the worse. I'm sure some statistics show how unlikely it is for the worst to happen in a situation like this, but as we rushed her to the hospital, that's all we could think of. This photo was not staged btw. It happened in Clarkston, GA, a small Southern town incredibly welcoming to refugees from around the world at a local coffee shop (@refuggeecoffee). The night before we had watched the season 2 finale of @queereye and were compelled to see the town for ourselves since it was only about a 30-minute drive from Atlanta. I just happened to have my phone out taking pictures when she leaned over and asked daddy for a kiss. I (papa) stay home with them during the day, so they tend to show me more affection. We were both a little surprised in the moment, but the combination of that photo, in that town and our day spent at the hospital left us wanting to be better parents. If you've made it this far down (thanks), please take a minute and get rid of or secure batteries your children have access to because it might just save their lives.
— Papa West