Despite the music, laughter and general cacophony within one pre-party bus heading to Wellesley prom last Tuesday night, everyone still heard this pin drop.
While on the bus, Wellesley High senior Kathleen Garvey was fighting the good fight of pinning a boutonniere on dashing date Colin Emerson’s jacket, after the flower kept falling off once the parent paparazzi got through taking pictures. Garvey secured one pin in her mouth as she tried for about the 5th time to re-pin the boutonniere, and after Emerson cracked a joke, Garvey laughed and breathed in the 1.5-inch pin that had been between her lips.
“Colin just stared at me and whispered ‘Oh my god where did it go?!’ I stared back terrified and started coughing. Our friends nearby heard, and in a matter of seconds everyone in the bus knew and was in between hysterical laughter and absolute panic. I had no idea what to do.”
While Garvey couldn’t find the pin, she wasn’t sure if if it had just fallen on the floor or was inside her, but in hindsight her coughing was a giveaway. Meanwhile, she gave up on trying to re-pin the flower and just shoved it in the jacket pocket of Emerson, who cleverly prom-posaled her via the big screen at Fenway Park.
Word of the mishap quickly spread at prom (and beyond, of course, via Snapchat and other social media apps), and security at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge threatened to take Garvey straight to the hospital. Garvey called her parents from prom and convinced them to let her stay, as neither they nor she could believe she had really inhaled the object. Garvey had a great time at the dinner and dance, went to an after-party, slept over at a friend’s house and got breakfast the next morning.
Garvey felt generally fine, but she went to Newton-Wellesley Hospital with her mom the next day just “to prove that there was no way I swallowed it.” But in fact, she had gulped it down into her right bronchial tube according to an X-ray. Medical staffers were amazed that no real damage, such as any puncturing, had occurred. Family and friends were on pins and needles Thursday as doctors at Mass General put Garvey under and wove a scope through her mouth to fish out the pin, which they successfully did after a few tries.
“To my friends’ disappointment I didn’t get to keep it,” says Garvey, who had no track record as a child of having swallowed anything weird.
The good news is that Garvey feels well beyond a bit of a sore throat and shortness of breath, and both she and her parents feel very lucky about the way things turned out. Garvey returned to lacrosse practice by Friday.
The lesson learned here was an obvious one: don’t stick sharp objects in your mouth (not that Garvey was at all unique in using her method among prom goers).
And while we wish those crazy kids the best going forward, Garvey does lament: “I guess my boyfriend is just too funny for me.”
After graduating from Wellesley High this coming Friday, Garvey will move on to Providence College to study Biology. Though we wonder if the Prom Pin incident might inspire her to consider studying Anatomy instead.
(Photos via Julie Garvey)
MORE: No honor among media as Wellesley Prom Pin story hits local TV news circuit | Swellesley guide to keeping your kid out of trouble at Wellesley Public School talent shows | Where to buy the Wellesley-est stuff in Wellesley