It was a day that Monté Armstrong will never forget.
She was cooking breakfast on Oct. 22, while her 3-year-old son, Jamal, was playing with two cousins.
Suddenly, Jamal came down the hallway and pointed to his throat.
My boyfriend said, Hes got something stuck in his throat. I thought it was a piece of candy, Armstrong said. When I looked in his mouth, I saw a little rubber bouncy ball.
Armstrong told 7NEWS that she tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver, but it didnt work, so she told her boyfriend to call 911.
I was afraid, she said. I was watching my sons face turn purple. Its not an easy thing to look at.
On the 911 recording, one can hear her boyfriends frantic voice tell the dispatch operator, Hes passing out. Hes not breathing at all.
The operator, Reba Rose, calmly told the boyfriend to have Armstrong push on the boys upper belly.
I was just thinking of trying to save this child because I have a 2 ½-year-old, Rose said.
While Rose was giving instructions on the phone, the first responders arrived.
Lucy Harmony of the Denver Fire Department said shed never had to save a child before.
Weve been trained to do back blows and abdominal thrusts, Harmony said. Since he was only 3, I had to figure out which one to use.
Harmony said she couldnt see the ball in Jamals mouth, so she slipped her finger inside.
I felt the ball slip a little bit, she said. I thought, 'Im going to hate myself if I push it further down,' but I got back under it and it popped out.
Harmony said the elation she felt after getting the rubber ball out was tempered by the realization that the boy was still unconscious and didnt have a heartbeat.
We took him down to the ambulance, said paramedic Joel Simonson. We cut off his shirt and determined that his pulse was coming back.
Jamal spent 14 days in a hospital.
Dr. Katrina Iverson, an emergency room physician at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Lukes, said the boy had a lot of fluid in his lungs.
When asked about his long-term prognosis, Iverson said, Looking at him now, he will probably lead a very normal life.
Jamal shook hands with his lifesavers Wednesday, and was then given a tour of the ambulance and fire truck that responded to his mom and dads call for help.
Seconds count so much when you have obstructed airways and non-breathing with kids, said Denver Fire Lt. Phil Miller. "We had a great response that day. Everybody (on the road) actually pulled over for us. The key worked to get into the building. Everything worked the way it was supposed to.
The 3-year-old didnt talk much during the reunion with his lifesavers, but he did say, It feels like when I get out of the hospital, I feel like Im good.
Hes a tough kid, Simonson said. He pulled through, and Im just amazed."
With that, Armstrong thanked the firefighters, paramedics, dispatchers and doctors who saved her sons life.
Hes a wonderful kid, she said. Hes my joy. Without him, life would be so much different.
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