Six staples later and still smiling!

…so I volunteered.  As you will note from our last post, we all were in Bull Shoals, Arkansas this last weekend for a fantastic scuba diving trip. It was super fun, and we’ll probably have a post on it very soon. This post, however, is about my first (and hopefully last) dive accident which happened Sunday night. The story goes something like this: Dan and Kyle couldn’t finish their rescue diver certifications without completing a real rescue… so they needed someone to sustain an injury in the water to be able to fix. So I volunteered, and Kyle hit me over the head with his scuba tank so we would get some nice blood and potential spinal cord injury to practice on. Okay, not really.

So this is what actually happened: Dan, Kyle, and I were completing our advanced scuba certifications through PADI this weekend on our trip. Sunday night was my last dive, which was going to be our night dive. You basically do some underwater navigation and swim around with a flashlight when it’s dark. It was around 9:00 when Dan and I got in the water with one of the instructors on the trip and he started explaining to us what we needed to cover. We started swimming on the surface and suddenly I was shoved under water and had an intense pain on the crown of my head. I knew almost instantly that someone had jumped in on top of me and hit me in the head with their tank. Note to audience: getting hit in the head with 250 lbs of weight is not pleasant, please do not try this at home. I learned later that it was Kyle who had jumped in on me. He *claims* he couldn’t see me as it was pitch dark outside, but my theory is he was trying to kill me. Totally just kidding. He would never, ever do something like that on purpose.

It was at this point where the fact that there were four newly certified rescue divers on our trip, including Dan and Kyle who were in the water with me, became a really great factor. I shot up out of the water- luckily I hadn’t lost consciousness and my BCD (scuba vest) was full of air- and started screaming bloody murder. Dan and Kyle were both extremely calm, but focused, and literally had my gear off and me out of the water in probably 10 seconds flat. Another of the newly trained rescue divers was there stabilizing my head and neck against further potential damage to my spinal cord. Someone had already called 911 as well as the boat dock to get a rescue boat out to me. It was truly well done and I am very grateful to everyone on the boat that helped me so professionally and quickly.

The rest of my evening was spent waiting on various medical professionals in the emergency room of Baxter Regional Medical Center. To their credit, they did get to me fairly fast to do a preliminary assessment of my spinal cord, etc. After the doctor determined that I just had a big cut in my head, however, I pretty much got reassigned to the bottom of the list. I really believe that it was a miracle that I didn’t sustain more damage after such a heavy impact. I could have had a serious spinal injury, cracked skull, concussion, etc. but I didn’t. I did need 6 staples in my head, but I didn’t even get a headache!

Truthfully, there’s nothing like a serious accident to remind you of your priorities. Things like this happen to people every day, and yet so many of us waste our dreams by telling ourselves we’ll get to them later. What if there isn’t a later? Don’t be complacent with your time. You don’t know how much you have to work with, so make the most of it while you can.

Follow your Dreams. Follow the Horizon.