Sunday, December 11, 2005

Strange, Sad Day

Chris worked this weekend. I had a babysitter come early today so that I could work out and get some shopping done. I went straight to the Y after the babysitter arrived, intent on doing a cardio workout followed by an abbreviated swim. There is only one cardio machine I like out of the bazillion that are there and today it was occupied. Being in a bad mood to start (truth be told, loyal readers, BloomingtonGirl has been a bit blue these past few days for reasons not even worth thinking about after what happened today.) Irritated that I couldn't use the machine I had planned on right away, I changed into my swimsuit. The pool was sort of empty and I had a nice swim. During my last lap, I heard the lifeguard whistle blow. I looked around and couldn't figure out what had happened. There might have been five of us in the pool at the most. Finally, across the pool, I saw a man slumped over a lifeguard, who had apparently jumped in for him. Another lifeguard helped haul him out and then they started to work on him, doing what appeared to be CPR. I couldn't see his face but strangely, I reccognized his swim trunks. I remember swimming with him before, maybe several times, but couldn't recall who he was. I think that he had a heart attack and in retrospect, I would guess that he was probably dead when they got him out. The guards were young women, probably trained in rescue but ill prepared to deal with such an emergency. It was just awful. I ran to get some towels because all I could think of was that the guy must be cold. They left his feet dangling in the water, which bothered me a lot for some reason. He was probaby unconcious but I wanted to go over and hold him and tell him that it was okay and for lack of a better way to describe it, give him love. I didn't know him but I didn't want him to die with strangers who weren't connecting with him. I know, it is weird, but that is how I felt. But, I didn't interfere other than to give a stack of Y towels to one of the girls taking care of him. They cleared the pool area and I went to shower. I was completely shaken up by the whole experience and couldn't stop crying. I called the Y later to see how the guy did but they said they weren't allowed to give out any information, which, lead me to believe that maybe he hadn't made it. I still don't know.

The image of the man lying on the floor at the edge of the pool will remain with me for some time. It reminds me how thin the membrane separating life and death is. How silently we can cross over. How rapidly. On my way out, I heard the desk staff scrambling to figure out what the man's last name was, probably to notify the family. How I would have hated to be on the other end of that call. How quickly everything in your life can change. It would be helpful for the quality of my life if I can just remember that always. What do I have really to complain about?

Well, I am off to bed. I am just so sad about what happened.

1 comment:

Princess said...

For me that moment of realising how quickly life can be taken away occured when I heard the words 'cancer' and 'surgery' and 'chemotherapy' and 'only 5% survival rate'. I can't imagine witnessing something that like. ::big hugs::