I hated middle school. I hated the kids. I hated the classes. I hated the teachers. I could write posts on this subject for years and never exhaust it. But there was one teacher that touched my life in a positive way, although I wouldn't realize it until over a quarter of a century later.
Miss S. was my Health and P.E. teacher. Unlike many health teachers I'd had, she actually put a lot into teaching the class. I even remember a bulletin board she made with a huge, hand-drawn louse with the caption, "Have You Been Nit-Pickin' Lately?"
Actually, I couldn't STAND Miss S. She had no sympathy for any of us who endured painful monthly cramps. She claimed that such things "don't exist" and told us to suck it up and dress out. She often left our gym class unsupervised, during which I suffered nearly unbearable emotional bullying. When I spoke to her about it she blew off my complaints.
I remember well the unit she did on first aid. We practiced bandaging one another, making homemade splints, and performing the Heimlich Maneuver. It sure beat my later high school health class, in which we outlined every chapter of the book, did the questions at the end, and did all manner of busywork while Coach C read the sports page and occasionally sneered at the untouchable kids.
Fast forward to this past week. Drama Queen and Pete were enjoying a snack of juicy Arizona oranges (thanks, Grandma!) while I was working on the computer in another room. Suddenly I heard gagging noises - followed by silence. My heart nearly exploded in my chest as I raced to Drama Queen. She was on her way to me, but we took different paths and missed each other. By the time she reached me, her face was THIS COLOR; no exaggeration.
Scared. The. CRAP out of me.
I immediately spun her around and performed the Heimlich Maneuver. After two or three "J" thrusts, the orange membrane popped out onto the floor.
I have never before considered a wet, sloppy mess to be so beautiful.
I have seen many pictures describing the Heimlich Maneuver, but they don't present it as clearly as Miss S did in seventh grade. (This video, however, does an excellent job.) Thanks, Miss S. I would gladly endure the taunting, bullying and loneliness of middle school all over again to be taught by you once more.
NOTE: Often when a person is coughing or starting to choke, our first instinct is to slap or pat the person on the back. DON'T DO THIS; it could make it worse. Please watch this very short video to ensure that you know how to do the "J" thrust properly. It just might save a life!