Calm 16-year-old comes through in the clutch, saving his choking mother

— Photo from Sue Britton

Aidan Chrysler poses for a portrait with his mother, taken by his grandmother, three days after Lisa Chrysler says Aidan saved her life.

GUILDERLAND — “He literally saved my life,” said Lisa Chrysler of her 16-year-old son, Aidan.

She describes events unfolding this way last Thursday evening, Nov. 12:

Chrysler was walking through the front hall of her Guilderland Center home, having just returned from erranding. Her son, Don, 20, was in the basement, out of earshot. And her other children — Aidan; Connor, 13; and Serafina, 10 — were upstairs in their bedrooms.

“I could feel I needed to swallow,” said Chrysler. “Somehow I inhaled it. I began aspirating and choking.”

She continued, noting this wasn’t like other times when something “went down the wrong pipe.” She said, “I instantly knew it was bad.”

Chrysler could cough but not breathe in. She made a barking noise that sounded to her like a loud seal.

“The kids came running from their bedrooms with video-game headsets on,” she said. Remembering when her children were sick with croup, she thought cold air might help her breath and ran out the front door, still unable to breathe.

Aidan, a junior at Guilderland High School, said he was “in the middle of fourth-block class” — he’s in a hybrid program, learning alternatively at school and home — when he heard his mother in distress.

“I heard my mom cough and choke,” he recalled. “I asked if she was OK.”

When it became clear she wasn’t, he instructed his younger brother to call 9-1-1 and stood behind her to perform a Heimlich maneuver.

“I did the Heimlich — you put your arms around and squeeze upward — and got the thing out on the first try,” he said.

“I had my life flashing before my eyes,” said Chrysler. “When he gave me the Heimlich, I bent over and, within 30 seconds, I felt it go away … He stayed so calm and has been so humble ever since.”

Aidan plays football, basketball, and baseball and his mother credits the training he got from coaches with making the difference last Thursday night.

Aidan says he learned the Heimblich maneuver from watching a video on YouTube.

Baseball is his favorite; Aidan is an outfielder. He likes playing sports with his friends and competing, he said. He hasn’t yet decided what course his future holds.

“He’s a man of few words … definitely mature,” says his mother. One of her girlfriends has always called Aidan “an old soul.”

“He told my mom he was very scared inside,” said Chrysler. But, outwardly, Aidan remained calm, she said.

Aidan said he felt lucky the maneuver had worked and that his immediate reaction was one of relief.

He chalked his response up to common sense and had this advice for others in a similar circumstance: “Stay calm and think about what your options are.”

More Guilderland News

  • Borrego Solar is seeking variances to be able to clear-cut more trees than code allows and to have its solar panels located closer to all the neighbors’ property lines than what is currently allowed by law, which was one of the reforms included in the April amendments package to the town’s solar law.

  • All Guilderland schools, including the middle school and high school with new coronavirus cases, are remaining open for in-person instruction.

  • The now-1,200 square-foot Pakistani restaurant will be housed in the former Subway sandwich shop. The space has been under construction for some time, but now, with a permit in hand, it can open for business. Nadia Raza, Curry Patta’s owner, told The Enterprise she anticipates opening the weekend of Dec. 4.

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