Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The edge

Weather note: It's 1 degree F outside right now. It's supposed to reach at least 41 today. Gotta love the 40-degree temperature swings. Layers, anyone?

Today I have a question for you. Have you ever come close to dying? What did you experience? If you don't mind, tell me the story.

I'll share first.

I've come close-ish twice, I think. The first time I was a baby--preemie, complications--but that one doesn't count for this purpose. The second time I was about 3, I guess. I was standing at the edge of our backyard pool, on a ledge/seat that was set into the deep end. I had a float ring, in the shape of a horse, around my waist. I remember feeling all adventurous and brave, like I was big enough to do anything. I jumped, with a huge splash, into the deep end.

And the float went right up over my head.

I couldn't swim yet. I watched the float go, watched the diving board get farther and farther away as I sank to the bottom of the pool. It was probably a second. It felt like ages. There was a rush of water as someone jumped in after me. The next memory is of lying on my side as someone pounded on my back, water gushing out of my mouth and nose. I remember looking at our log pile, coughing, the feel of someone's hard hand pounding, over and over.

This memory is strong and clear, down to my emotions. I wasn't afraid at all, just peaceful. Until the water gushing out part. That was nasty.

The weird thing is...I'm not sure how much of this actually happened. My parents say yes, I fell in the pool, but they don't remember any of the pounding/gushing part. And they would, right? That would be imprinted on any parent, relived in nightmares.

The weirder thing is...we moved away when I was 5, and another young family moved in. Not long after that the 3-year-old girl drowned, in that pool.

So I've always wondered, is my memory somehow tangled up with hers? Did that really happen, just not to me? And not with a happy ending?

Your turn. What's your story?

9 comments:

Julie Elizabeth said...

Probably the closest that happened to me was when I was 18, and getting dinner for my mom and I at KFC, back when I lived in Houston.

I thought I had a protected left, and ended up ramming head-on into a big white pickup truck.

I don't remember the acutal collison. I remember thinking "Oh, $#@%!" and the next thing I know, I was getting the airbag out of my face.

I should have been killed. I'm not even five foot, so at the very least, my neck should have been broken by the impact of the airbag. I think, when I blacked out in frieght, I became limp, and was able to bounce back from the impact.

The memory about that day that struck me most is the friend of my mother's who was driving by and recognized my car, looking in at the airbag, and taking out the crucifix that had been clipped to my sun visor and had fallen to the ground. She handed it to me and said, "Here. This saved your life."

The only injuries I faced were tiny chemical burns on my arm and face. I wasn't even stiff the next day...

Mary said...

When I was 25 I had a heart attack. But I didn’t know that until several days later.

I was in a basement jazz club with my boyfriend. I felt light-headed, unwell, short of breath. I made the wrong decision of going to the loo and locking myself in a cubicle; I thought I’d soon feel better. I couldn’t breathe. I fell to the floor. I wanted to reach up and unlock the door, but couldn’t move, at all. Then, my boyfriend was pounding on the door, but I couldn’t speak, at all. Blank.

I watched from the ceiling: myself being carried over my boyfriend’s shoulder, past the washbasins, through the door and towards the stairs. Blank.

Lying on the pavement, a man’s lips to my lips (a doorman). I’d never seen him before! I screamed and jumped to my feet, dusted myself off, then told everyone I was fine.

I sat on a wall with my boyfriend, my arm hurt. He was shaking; he told me he thought I’d died.

brenda said...

I suffered a miscarriage and nearly bled to death. By the time I was wheeled into the O.R., I was cold and nearly comatose. I was anesthetized, but I still remember violent light, a terrible buzzing noise and the comments of the doctors who were working on me. To them I was just another case and they were talking about other things than the body they were working on. I had this disconnected, surreal feeling. A lot like Alice down the rabbit hole. I really do think I died for a short while.

Susan Adrian said...

Julie:

Wow. You were lucky. I would really expect serious injuries with a crash like that. Whew!

Mary:

You saw yourself from the ceiling? Now that is veddy interesting. I can't believe how you just snapped out of it. How did you know, later, that was what had happened?

Cindy said...

Hi Susan:
Wow, that's incredibly creepy, and so very sad.

I have never come close to dying. (touch wood)

Susan Adrian said...

Oh, Brenda. Man, that's incredible.

So glad you came back!

Mary said...

In my first comment, I wrote exactly what I remember. But there are blank patches when I simply wasn’t there. My boyfriend later told me that I’d left the table at least twenty minutes before he came to find me. He bust down the locked cubicle door before slinging me over his shoulder. I have no recollection of that. But I then watched him carry me out of the toilets from my new vantage point on the ceiling. I say ‘the ceiling’ because I was watching from above. I remember it clearly. After that, another blank patch until the doorman had resuscitated me. I probably owe him my life, but at that moment I was utterly confused about what had happened, and didn’t even thank him! I too can hardly believe how I jumped to my feet. I insisted there was no need for an ambulance, and it was days before I went to a doctor.

Janet Reid said...

To this day, I've never told my parents about this.

I was merging onto the Banfield freeway in Portland, OR. I was doing about 50 at the top of the lane just ready to join the freeway's right most lane.

As suddenly as if it had popped in from another universe a tanker truck carrying something liquid blew past me. It came so close it knocked my left side rear view mirror off but it didn't touch my truck at all.

I remember thinkinig "this is how people die". I pulled over for about a minute, then realized if I didn't get back on that freeway, someone was going to rear end me from the merge lane and I was going to kill THEM.


Someday when you need to know about people I almost killed while driving I'll tell you about the drunk girls in Sandy walking in the road, backs to traffic at 3am.

But now, back to work

Susan Adrian said...

Janet:

Ooooh. {shudder} I bet you had an adrenaline dump too, eh?

I forgot that I had an almost-accident in the car, too. Somebody lost a tire right in front of me, and literally spun, twice, in my lane. It was only later that I realized I'd come to a dead stop to avoid him--in the middle of a San Diego freeway. TG nobody hit me. I also had to pull over and shake for a while before I could continue!