The X-rays clearly showed Dr. Lester Coleman that two-year-old Sammy’s windpipe was blocked by a penny. If it was not removed, the child would choke to death. But surgery was very tricky. The anesthesiologist warned that the instrument used to remove the coin would cause swelling, causing a tightening around the coin in the larynx. Dr Coleman had an idea: if Sammy’s breathing could be reduced, right to the parameters of safety for 15 seconds, that would relax the throat muscles long enough for them reach in and snatch the coin. The operating room crackled with efficiency…every person had a job…in perfect rhythm they executed the plan, and the coin was removed. The team burst into spontaneous applause and joy. The following day Dr Coleman was going into another surgery when he was told that Sammy was about to be discharged. He wanted to see the child before he left. So, in an uncharacteristic waste of money, he said to the nurse, “Stall them for me, would you? Tell ‘em you need one more set of X-rays, that way I can get one more hug from that sweet little kid.”

A short while later Dr. Coleman left the operating room to see Sammy. He passed the X-ray department and noticed the technician was shaking his head in bewilderment. “Why are you looking at Sammy’s old X-ray,” asked Dr Coleman. The technician pointed to the penny in Sammy’s windpipe, then said, "This is not the old X-Ray, this is the new one." What? Oh no. Sammy had not swallowed one penny, but two pennies. In moments the surgical team was reassembled, and they re-executed the operation of the day before. Dr. Coleman later said: “As usual, God was my surgical assistant.”

The next time you think a penny or a godwink is too small to matter, think about Sammy’s story. Meanwhile, send me your Godwink Story. I’m SQuire Rushnell. Good wishes and godwinks.

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