February 20, 2001

DANGER: Hugging can cause injury.
Nice headline, but it is true. The other night I was giving my 4 year old Lucas a hug goodnight. He was standing on his bed, and just as I put my chin over his shoulder and my arms around his back he suddenly lurched upwards unexpectedly. His bony little shoulder caught me with much force smack on my adam's apple. I heard a loud crunch, much like knuckles cracking. For a moment I couldn't breathe, and I almost panicked. Panic in the presence of my children is something I try to avoid, but this was really scary. I paused and found that I was able to breath, but swallowing was nearly impossible. I could still speak clearly, so we finished the hug and he placed his head on his pillow and I went upstairs. By the time I got up there, I found I could swallow, but only with a great deal of pain. I went to the doctor the next morning, which effectively was the same as going to the emergency room that night. Nothing in the exam warrented an x-ray, and I was given a presription for 800mg Ibuprofin for the swelling. Because of the myriad of tubes and various plumbing fixtures in my neck, I was able to feel the pain all the way up to my left ear when I swallowed. The nurse practictioner that diagnosed me with a bruised neck just told me to watch for difficulty breathing or changes in my voice. If either of those were to happen I was to return immediately. That was three days ago now, it still hurts a bit to swallow. I will always continue to hug my kids, I will just be a little more prepared for the unexpected from now on.
Facts on hugs.

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