A Big Jaw Breaker Changed My Life: Inspiring Story

 A mother’s poor choice to give her small child a candy jawbreaker turned out to be a life-altering event for me.

I had always planned to be a teacher since early childhood.

When I was 7 or 8 when I passionately practiced my future career as an early childhood educator with my younger sisters, the twins. One of the twins learned to read when she was 3. I suppose it was because I read her and her twin so many books.

But, then as a young teenager, I witnessed a number of frightening emergency situations that influenced my decision to go to nurse training instead of going to college to become a teacher.

The extraordinary thing is that a nurse’s ability to teach patients about self-care, safety, prevention recovery, and health, in general, is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an RN that I still embrace at age 72, today.

Way back in the 1960s who could have guessed that a jawbreaker would change the future of my own child?

I have my Secret Formula to share with you. It has the power to control behavior. 

I guarantee that the 2 steps and four parts of this potion will have an initial side effect. It will make you the angry feeling that I inserted somewhere in the post. Could it be Clickbait?

Get those gears turning in your head. We got a lot of critical thinking to do as we take a close look at why a ginormous jawbreaker inspired me to become a registered nurse.


Malika Bourne aka Nancy Bakehouse Ellinger has worn many hats in her life including a white starched nurse’s cap.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about me as a content creator on preparedness for just about anything for parents.

My name is Malika Bourne – that is my legal name is also my pen name aka the No Non-cents Nanna.

I am the creator and author of the NoNon-centsNanna.com blogs. I am also a published author of a fictional novel, The Secrets of the Unwritten Book. (Don’t be impressed. I did all wrong.)

My work in progress besides this blog and housework is a Psycho-thriller titled A World Disconnected. The college classes I took on Child-Psych and Abnormal Psych are really beginning to pay off.

Oh, I still get to teach like about health, wellness, Child Grown & Development, safety, prevention, preparedness, parenting, behavioral management of children, and more, thanks to the modern technology of the internet as a content creator and writer on multiple platforms.


Now I am retired kind of – sort of – retired RN. Yes, I received a degree in nursing. But, I am not your private nurse. So, do not expect that I will diagnose, treat or prescribe anything for you. I simply share my expertise for information purposes to get you started on your own critical thinking journey. (That was my disclaimer.) 

I am grateful for the decades of in-patient, early childhood education, and in-home nursing experience with children who were diagnosed with developmental disabilities and young adults.

One of the most unique side-hustle nursing jobs that I will always remember was doing private duty care for an angry young man, my own son’s age, in a college dorm room. ( Oh behave – it is not what you are thinking.)

The freshman had a spinal cord injury rendering him a quadriplegic.

He could no longer sit or stand. He could not even breathe on his own with the assistance of a tracheostomy connected to either a free-standing ventilator. A portable vent was attached to his 700-pound power wheelchair which he operated with a straw in his mouth.

He had to be fed like one would feed a baby. He had to wear diapers rather than use a toilet.

He needed a nurse 24 hours a day 7 days a week both in the dorm, the campus cafeteria, medical appointments, and including in the college classroom.

He could still read if someone held the book for him. A nurse had to go with him to his classes and take notes for him. When necessary a nurse would have to clear the thick mucus junk from his airway by suctioning his trach during the class when he turned blue.

He had an uncanny memory for facts and a rather extensive verbally abusive vocabulary. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to help this entitled 18-year-old as he struggled to meet his goal of a college education. His college days only lasted one semester. In spite of competent care, he developed many complications such as bed sores and UTIs.

I respect the fact that he put so much effort to do what he could still do. 

The late actor Christopher Reeve | Biography, Movies, & Facts | Britannica, was this boy’s superhero inspiration to stay alive some of the time.

If the truth is known, the paralyzed kid acted more like a jack-ass than a man of the steel that he was bound to. (Note: I separated the deed from the doer. I did not call him a name. I described his actions with a word picture.)

Few nurses wanted to work with him for too long. Some even unprofessionally abandoned him mid-shift. That is why the agency would call me in. I had experience with Child Psychology.

Besides I had a Secret Formula in my bag of “control tricks”.

This big kid, (over 6 foot tall) was chronically irritable (a sign of depression) overwhelmingly unreasonable, demanding verbally abusive to his caregivers. (Get the picture? Or should I go on?) 

He was miserable and pulled his caregivers into his frustratingly helpless world.

There was no way that he acted like Superman.

 I had the feeling that there was another person trapped in the disguise of an arch-villain with a rotten personality.

Who could blame him?

Who could control his outburst? (Hold that thought…) Well, I could handle the beastly verbiage as well as dirty diapers and decubitus.

I had a Secret formula in my nursing bag of tricks that is more powerful than a locomotive.

My story will conclude right after this side track… this could be a hint.

Do you recall in the movie Superman disguised as a newspaper reporter, Clark Kent rushes into a phone booth to change costumes as Lois Lane falls from a skyscraper balcony?

Our hero flies to rescue the clueless and frantic dame. He swoops his arm under the screaming woman and says to her something like, “Don’t worry, Miss Lane. I got you.”

Lois squeaks a relieved reply, “You got me. Who’s got you?”

That was life-changing for Lois. It is a good thing neither the hero nor the love interest had a jawbreaker.

Back to the story of the college student…

I could/ would not control him. No one could. (This young man had to take responsibility for his own actions.) 

I refused to enable his uncomely behavior.

Nor would I pity his plight.

I am a no “non-sense” kind of empathic nurse. I understood from his actions that he was hurting inside. 

I could not fix his broken spinal cord. I could not turn back the hands of time to before his car wreck thus preventing what was to happen.

What I could do was to valid his feelings.

I could help him to trust me enough to feel safe and secure in his broken body. I had the power to not to react to his belittling curse words.

In a sense, I was able to communicate to the real person inside that useless body, “I got you, man.”

And that, to me, is what nursing is all about.

And I am grateful that Jaw Breaker influences my choices many years before.

I was not a Wonder Woman. I might be Lois Lane, a reporter for the Daily Planet. It doesn’t matter in the scheme of things…

My alter-ego at that time was not named No Non-cents Nanna.

Nope. I was just called ‘Mom”. I cared about someone else’s son.

As any responsible mother of a child with some behavior issues at a young age would, I took parenting classes and read every publication on early behavior management that I could get my hands on. And it paid off in many ways.

Your mission, if you chose to accept it is to read my secret formula and apply it to your relationships. This does come with a warning…it is a bitter pill to swallow. And ‘it has to taste bad to work’ kind of principle.

The initial side-effect will be a disappointing loath that I lured you into this post with clickbait. You will think that the secret to controlling someone is a ridiculously stupid waste of time. (Let me know in the comments what you think.)

The Secret Formula is not a jawbreaker…it is… The only thing that was ever taught to me that I absolutely hated was the following annoying statement.

  1. You cannot change anyone else’s behavior.
  2. You cannot control anyone else’s actions.
  3. You CAN ONLY control your own behavior.
  4. You CAN ONLY change your own reactions.

Malika Bourne

Do you want power and control over someone? 

Then control your reactions to the bad behavior of the person you wish would change.

As No non-cents Nanna, the old nurse, I often quote my various versions of the above statement. My Secret Formula should not be kept a secret. It has been the most pivotal game-changer of my life. And I am grateful.

But at the time, those words made me so angry…I love my child so much that I wanted to fix his uncontrollable outbursts. I hated that parenting advice, at first. Until I accepted the truth. 

It was my reaction to the unwanted behavior that reinforced his need to make me hear his misery. I had the power to fix my behavior by changing my response before the tantrums blew past the point of no return that he could be redirected. 

I applied the same principle to the angry patient in the dorm room. I swooped him up emotionally with appropriate reflections of what I heard him say. It took patience on my part. It was not easy to pay-it forward.

“I got you, Man.” “I got you, Mom”.

(This concept was contrary to the version of Christian discipline that I grew up with. It was also damning to peace and harmony in the church/ cult my late ex-husband and I were still involved with. I escaped that cult. I disagreed with beating a living being to a pulp until the powers that be controlled the “demon-possessed.”. I have some blog posts about that traumatic experience. – I have learned, healed, and grown to be a resilient person since then – 40 years ago.)

When one of my many side-hustle nursing jobs was in a Developmental Disabilities Unit integrated with a Behavior Management team I had the opportunity to further my psych training in-house with intensive training in Behavior Management. (The word is managed – not controlled.)

I have to tell you, that was the most rewarding training I had the privilege to get and I got paid to learn. That extra learning experience really helped me out with the angry kid in the dorm.

…more of the story…

Little did I know that ten years after the semester with that 6-foot college student in the dorm room my handsome, very smart, tech-geek, athletic son with six-pack abs would get hard with multiple sclerosis.

My son’s diagnosis came twenty years ago.

His condition rapidly deteriorated. His current diagnosis is Advance Primary Progress MS.

He is wheelchair dependent and bedbound…(wait for it.) I spend roughly 5 to 6 hours a day directly involved in his personal care all by myself at age 72. I am more than happy to do my best at offering him some quality of life while I still can.

Some days he is in so much pain or developing some kind of infection that might indicate another bout with sepsis, again that I flash back on the college student. I don’t like the unreasonable demands or the irrational accusations. I’d walk out on my “job” if it weren’t for the fact that I live there in the home we share.

I can only do this level of nursing care because of the privilege of being an agency nurse working with a tall disabled kid in a dorm.

My son is 6’2″. I’m a foot shorter and I am aging. He is a big guy in a body that functions about as well as a 6-month-old. Only he can talk in geek.


Now, for the rest of the story you have been waiting for…

As you can see, Malika Bourne, the No Non-cents Nanna has a neat website. (WordPress).

I think it is common knowledge that Baby Boomers did not have a gleam in their eyes about the invention of personal computers- desk size or lap size, or hand-held electronic device.

I for one, at age 60 was not “tech-savvy”. …until… my loving tech-savvy son coached me to learn.

He was a tech support person 25 years ago – I had no idea what that was. I did have some dreams…he passed on to me what I needed to know in order to be able to write online what I chose to write about.

He paid me back in a very positive way because I cared enough to change my reactions to his irritability bouts.

Side bar note: The frustrating outbursts he had as a child turned out to be related to early signs of juvenile MS but no one recognized that. Please don’t take this out of context. It is far more complicated than I want to go into in this post.

My son had put together his dream DBA The Edge of Eternity Networks when he was falling down for unexplained reasons. that made no sense to a physically fit Black Belt Martial Artist. This was shortly before his vision failed from optic neuritis due to the MS.

My, son, does all of my tech support and builds websites with one key at a time.

His dream is the power behind the workings of:

NoNon-centsNanna.com and MalikaBourne.com.

I, Malika Bourne weave what is in my heart into words on a page about family health. I am only able to do this and others tech things because of the support my disabled son gives back to me.

My firstborn and I are such an odd couple. He physically depends on me for everything. And I depend on his knowledge to teach me how to do tech stuff that I need to know in order to fulfill my passion for teaching about health and safety to parents online on the world wide internet.


Flashback to 1965…the jawbreaker emergency that changed everything…

How A Jaw Breaker Changed My Life and Inspired Me to Pay-it-Forward. No Non-cents Nanna

“One day I saw a child choking to death on a jawbreaker…it was a life-changing event in my life.” Nancy Bakehouse now known as the No Non-cents Nanna

One day when I was teen I was walking around the town square in my home town. I saw a small child running Willy Nilly then suddenly collapsed…LIMP… BLUE…looked dead…a panic mother screamed “Help! My son is dying!”.

A passer-by on the opposite side of the street quickly ran to the child, grabbed that limp blue in the face child tipped him over, holding him by the legs up side down, then SMACKED him on the back….out flew that huge jaw breaker that was blocking the air way…all slobbery and covered with the kid’s lunch…gross! It rolled on to my clean white canvas tennis shoe.

I nearly puked my self.

It all happened so fast…scared the crap out of me.…My heart still beats what seems like 200-miles an hour in panic mode every time I re-tell the story.

I still “cry for happy’ at the miraculous outcome.


Now you know the story of the Jawbreaker and why I have a passion to teach safety, prevention, health and wellness, parenting tips, preparedness, and more.

BTW: I got trained and certified to be an instructor of First-Aid and CPR.

The moral of the story is:

  •  Prevent choking death by not giving an active child something like a jawbreaker to block his airway.
  • Set safe boundaries for your children. So what if they want something that is not safe?
  • Parents, you can control your actions even if the child is not mature enough, yet, to know better. You do- so set an example.
  • Mom and Dad, you CAN control outcomes by practicing prevention and having Life-saving Skills in your parenting toolbox of tricks when accidents do occur.
  • You CAN sign up today or this week for CPR and First Aid courses. Or you CAN schedule a time to renew your existing certificates.


Make good choices and be prepared.

Sign up for Life-saving classes.


Red Cross Training | Take a Class | Red Cross

Where Can I Find CPR Certification Near Me? (cprcertified.com)

American Heart Association CPR & First Aid

eCPR Certification

Where Can I Find CPR Certification Near Me?

Quote: “…there are more precise ways to find a CPR training course near you. Try the course locators on the AHA and Red Cross websites. If you don’t find anything convenient, ask at your local fire department or schools in your area—these are usually in the know, and may offer classes themselves.”



Shareable image with the inspiring story below:

A Jaw Breaker changed my life. This poster shares the inspiring story about the day No Non-cents Nanna knew she had to become a nurse. Feel free to pay it forward to inspire others to learn how to prevent tragic deaths of children like the nurse who witnessed a near tragedy with the jawbreaker.


#jawbreaker #parenting #prevetion #safety #pay-it-forward #CPRclass #FirstAidClass #accident #resources #behaviormanagement #children






Views: 282

Spread the love

Trending now: