A pile of hard candies

National Heimlich Maneuver Day

June 1st is National Heimlich Maneuver Day. I’ve never had to do the official Heimlich before, but I did almost choke to death when I was a baby. I had stopped breathing. My mother rushed to the bathroom. To this day she can’t explain why she ran with me all the way upstairs except that her unconscious “good guest” manners didn’t want a mess on her in-laws formal living room carpet. She flipped me upside down and slammed her hand against my small back. Repeatedly. A hard, round candy finally popped out. We both collapsed on the floor and cried together. I have no memory of this almost-catastrophe, but my mother’s sweet face still goes white when she tells it. 

Alma is my mother’s middle name and in Not At All, Alma Tanger, marches her way into chapter four of Not At All. Alma Tanger is a retired pediatric office manager of one of the largest medical practices in Raleigh, North Carolina. After losing her husband to a sudden heart attack ten years ago, she became indispensable to doctors and patients alike. We meet her lugging a box of dusty knick-knacks. Rachel, a neighbor, in need of her village, stops to help. Alma challenges Rachel to think beyond what is comfortable and be willing to take on the challenges she was created to tackle. Alma is always looking for a way to bless others. And of course, she is trained up in the Heimlich Maneuver, First Aid, CPR, and other life-saving skills.

Are you trained up? Would you know what to do if someone was choking? What if the person was pregnant or a baby? I’d love to send you a simple one-pager on how to help someone who is choking. Send me a note through the Contact page.

Have you ever had to save someone or be saved? Let us know in the comments below.

In Ephesians 2:10 we are reminded we are created in beauty and prepared in advance for good works. Hallelujah.

12 thoughts on “National Heimlich Maneuver Day”

  1. The two times I used the Heimlich it was like autopilot. My nephew was about 7 years old and choking on a carrot at a dinner theatre. I just picked him up and did it.
    The second was in Haiti and our Missions Leader was choking on something from dinner. I was walking by her chair and didn’t even see her face. I just knew, and did two thrusts. She was ok. I remember afterwards, being in shock thinking, “Wait! What just happened?!”
    I admire all who work in the health field. Their strength and know-how to
    Go thru that experience every day.
    Much appreciation

  2. I’ve never had to use the maneuver, thankfully. This is great information to have, though. Thanks for your blog on this.

  3. I’ll never forget that time when you choked on that candy! You were so tiny, and I felt so helpless! God was definitely there with us that day! I still can feel you in my arms when we were both sobbing! God is good and merciful!
    The only time I actually saw the Heimlich maneuver being performed was by your dad, saving his dad (your Grandpa T) from choking. We were all in their kitchen preparing a feast and Grandpa T grabbed a morsel of the roast and immediately started choking. His face was turning grey. Your dad, without hesitation, grabbed him from behind and with 2 or 3 huge thrusts dislodged the food! We were all stunned and very thankful!

  4. Kristine,

    Thank you for this smart reminder of little ways we can train ourselves to make a BIG difference in others’ lives. I was trained up while pregnant in anticipation of all that ‘might’ happen to my newborn, but I definitely need a refresher! I look forward to your newsletter!

    Best, Michelle

  5. Oh boy, I have learned how to do it countless times, but without practice- ugh- I’m worried I won’t be able to pull it off when I need it most. Sounds like a refresher may be in my future. Thanks for making it real.

  6. I have been trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and keep my BLS certification active for my professional career.
    However, nothing prepared me emotionally for having to use this maneuver on my then one-year-old daughter many years ago.
    Like others have mentioned, it becomes practically surreal during the experience. Almost like an innate ability that, thankfully, only after the event did my body and conscious mind fully awake and I realized what was truly at stake!
    The relief of emotion and fear was a feeling I had never before experienced. That was the only time I’ve had to use this training in my personal life. And once is enough!

    What a great idea to bring awareness! I hope everyone has a copy of this maneuver hanging on their fridge. I’m very much looking forward to your newsletter ❤️


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