This has been such a miserable week. Two trips to emergency rooms, two hospitalizations, and enough CT scans to make my husband glow in the dark. I think we are at a point now where everything will work out fine for him, but it has been a terrifying and expensive lesson that grill brushes are instruments of death.
While we were grilling chicken on Monday, my husband swallowed a metal bristle from the brush he had used to clean the grill. This was essentially like swallowing a sewing needle. It was a long, sharp piece of metal and inflexible.
The bristle stabbed into the side of his throat and became lodged. He was hospitalized until an ear, nose and throat specialist could make it to the hospital and scope it out of his throat. While we were waiting for the ENT, it was dislodged and slid down into his stomach.
We were at two hospitals were ENTs and gastroenterologists debated what to do. Wait and see and risk perforated organs and the complications from that? Eat food to try to push it through, or eat nothing? Emergency surgery and what kind? It was an absolute nightmare.
Over time, the bristle was split in two by the forces of digestion, and then it became about retrieving different parts that were in different places. Suffice it to say, we’ve already hit our out-of-pocket maximum for the year.
The doctors said this is happening a lot at hospitals across the country this year and they are in the process of recalling some of these brushes. If you have one in your house, throw it out! Get a brush with coils or wooden edges or clean your grill some other way. That tool you got at Walmart or Lowes can kill you or cost you a small fortune to save your life.
In retrospect, I am thankful this only happened to one of us. I started to imagine what would have happened if he, our seven-year-old daughter, and I had all swallowed one or more of these bristles. (We had collected many off the grill on our way to the ER.) Or if we had been hosting a cookout and sent a bunch of friends and relatives to the hospital. Geez.