This is from my blog on Sept 8th 2014.
I was thinking about this earlier on, after today not being a very good day. This was a day when it could have come to a very sudden end, and saved me a fair bit of trouble!
Sept 8th 2014
‘Para rowing.. a day out with Pia ( watching from the dockside )
So, into a boat – a single. It was shown and explained to me that it was impossible that this boat could tip over. It had outriggers sticking out 60 cm either side with very bouyant floats on the water attached. No one had ever gone over in one of these boats.Not once, not ever.
They were used all over the country, and in races the world over.There was a safety boat in the vicinity just in case.
I was totally safe. Which was good, given that I was very firmly strapped to the seat and the back rest, potentially making releasing myself under water a little tricky.
I rowed along for 15 mins or so, taking directions from my lady coach on the bank. It was going ok, not easy without the ability to sit myself up straight as I tended to fall to one side and forward.
I did several turns, my experience as a canoeist helping me with oar logic.
All of a sudden I started to tip.To my dodgy left side.
The outrigger just kept going down.
I was under the water, vertically pointing down, in the murky water of the dock, strapped firmly to a seat with lap and chest straps without the capacity to wriggle free, in a boat that upside down, with outriggers and a 6 foot man strapped to the seat, 50 metres from the shore, in deep water, was going to be virtually impossible to right.
I clawed at the straps for about 10 seconds, to no avail. At that point I realised that I was in all likelihood going to die.
Its amazing how much you think in about 20 seconds, when you’re faced with your last 20 seconds. I reasoned that as I’d wanted a way out/ wished myself dead so very many times over this last year, but not been able to commit the act myself, then this was the perfect way to go. It wasn’t suicide, it was an accident. It was the perfect solution.
I thought it would appear pretty awful to my friends, that ‘having achieved so much’ I end up drowning at a rowing camp.
Then I thought of my daughters, of Lily and Amber, and the sadness that id not been able to say goodbye properly.
I then heard muffled sounds, and felt hands on my shoulder straps, straining to pull me up. The panic in the hands was evident to me. It wasn’t working, the very outriggers that were supposed to keep me upright were preventing my being rescued After maybe 15 seconds, as I was just about to take that lungful of water, my face felt air and I had one little breath before going under again.
I was pulled up again, and I could hear panicked voices. More half breaths.
Then my boat was being righted and I could see the safety boat and the docklands.
I was released and dragged into the safety boat. The two guys were ashen pale. I imagine my face didn’t look too good either. My shirt was all torn from the effort.
Sheer desperation had given these guys the strength to get me out.
I’m not sure what I felt ‘
Despite my renewed optimism there are inevitably moments when I wonder why I’m here, indeed how the hell I still am. Life continues to throw rocks at me ; I don’t write about everything in this diary, far from it.
I think if I did you’d wonder why I ever want to wake up in the mornings.
That day the boat turned over, I should have died, for the second time in 14 months. Had I that day, I’d be blissfully asleep now. My friend Pia, however, would have had nightmares ever since, so for her sake I’m glad it didn’t end that way, that day.
Had I been there by myself though…. well it would have been just fine with me.
I do wonder why I’m upbeat?
Perhaps I really actually died 3 years ago and this is Hell?
( The social media speech was not a shock to me at all, but probably was to a lot of the assembled parents. The internet and technology revolution has not made the world into a better place, despite all the wonderful things that it has placed at our fingertips.
Our poor kids bear the brunt of the crap that the grown ups created, as usual )