My Accident- Part 4; Diving into the future

I then convinced our group to go down the beach to a rock that was no more than 20 to 30 meters out into the water. I had swam there since elementary school. One side of the rock had a small ledge that looked to be purpose built for diving off of. Ever since I had known it, the water was relatively deep and with a shallow dive, perfectly safe. I took the initiative, and as short time group leader, drove (gracefully I thought) into the water. Though unnecessary for the story, at the time I was temporarily smitten by one of my friend’s friends who I met that day, and felt my glorious dive would be the spark to kindle the flame of her desire. If she ever reads this, let her know that I would have done it anyways driven by my own ego.

My body arced through the air with my hands spaced slightly wider than my head with my toes pointed and fingers cupped.

My fingers contacted the sand, arms crumpled from the unexpected force and my forehead was exfoliated by the bottom. My lower body suddenly went warm. This was very unexpected because the water was 47° (as I was told later). My arms wouldn’t move in the way that I thought they should. I knew at that point, partially from the swim classes I took in high school, that I had broken my neck. I also knew from my honors biology class, that I could hold my breath for an incredibly long time (up to three minutes if I had to). Because my muscles made me heavier than water, I slowly sank to the bottom, my arms floating uselessly in front of me. It was the first bone I had ever broken.

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14 thoughts on “My Accident- Part 4; Diving into the future

  1. I can hardly breathe and it’s not just from the tears. You are so strong to be able to share this with so many people who love you. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. I’ve been slacking, and read all of this at once just now. At work. It’s really a good thing I’m in the office alone tonight, because there were lots of emotions that other people didn’t need to see. I know that we didn’t hang out in high school, just different social groups, but I’m glad that I am able to keep up with what’s going on in your life, as well as others we went to school with, through social media. Of course when this happened to you, we all knew about it, heard about it, talked about it, even if we didn’t know you very well. I’m glad I’ve now gotten to hear the story and the details from you, even all these years later. I am also just in awe reading what your though process was as it was all happening. How you can remember what you were thinking, even as you hit the sand bar, the recognition of knowing what was happening to your body, as it was happening, thinking about what body parts you could move, what you couldn’t move or feel, and how long you could hold your breath all in a matter of seconds. I can’t imagine even being able to comprehend what was going on, I could only imagine panicking, not thinking rationally about anything. Thanks, Joe, for sharing this with all of us.

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