09 August 2006

Slowly Slowing Down

So yesterday I was waterskiing and I made a hard decision. I probably won't be doing waterskiing much anymore. This is not the first time that I have limited myself, on a particular activity, but this one is particularly hard. See I have been skiing since I was very little, 7 or so. I love the water and the lakes.

A little background on my current skiing situation...
So about 2 years ago I was skiing at a particularly high point of elevation. When skiing I am going about 15-20 MPH. I realize that this doesn't seem like much, but when skipping across the water on 2 wooden planks it seems a lot faster. As I was jumping back and forth across the wakes, I dipped a ski. If you have ever skied, you know this is fatal. It only takes a split second to be back in the water. So I hit the water at 20 MPH, face first.

This activity is much more enjoyable than sinus surgery, and has about the same effect on the nose. But on this particular day I was not prepared for what followed. As I came up from under the water, which was very cold, I could not breathe. Something in the previous split second had ended breathing for me. The hit of the water knocking the wind out of me? The altitude of this particular lake - 6000 ft? The inhalation of a fair amount of lake water? Possibly the temperature at the time I was there - 70? Probably it was a combination of all these items. Now for someone who is used to not being able to breathe you don't panic much, at least I didn't. But I was very interested in getting my body out of the water. For some reason the pressure of the water on my chest makes it harder to breathe anyway. So as the boat came around, I guess they could see I was turning blue. My beautiful wife was a little worried and the driver of the boat was nearly paranoid. He being a 6' 5" 260 lb guy, basically tossed my 110 lbs soaking wet body into the front of the boat. As he approached to do rescue breathing I was starting to breathe shallow breathes again and began frantically waving my arms in front of my face to keep him from putting his mouth over mine and blowing my lungs out... uck. It was enough trauma to stop breathing I didn't need to have nightmares of another man's lips on mine. Since this first time, it has happened 3-4 times over the last few years.

Luckily yesterday I didn't actually wreck (if not wrecking you can slowly ski to a stop and float relatively gently into the water.) Well I really didn't hardly ski. I only went for about 100 yards or so. I decided in that 100 yards that it wasn't worth it anymore. My wife gets sick with fright each time I go. I have to lug around muscle enough to pull me out of the water each time I go on the boat, just in case. And as much as I love waterskiing, it just isn't worth my life, or the fights, or the stress that everyone gets from it, including me.

So another activity down the drain. I will still go to the lake, and I will still get in the water. But my skiing days are finished. Maybe if the water is bathtub warm, and at sea level I could give it a try. But until I move, that probably isn't going to happen.

So a bit of a downer, but if you still can do things, make sure you enjoy them now. I have no regrets. I skied a lot in the last 20+ years. There are other things that I like also. I will add it to "The List of Former Activities": snowboarding, skateboarding, mountain biking, and scuba diving to name a few.

Someday maybe they will be able to do transplants that work well enough to get back to these activities. Hopefully it will be in time.


Lauren said...

It's difficult to give up things we enjoy in order to preserve our health, isn't it? I hope the adjustment isn't too rough on you. I haven't waterskiied or snow skiied in about 9 years and I miss them both.

Just don't let yourself turn into a slug as you are forced to cut back on certain physical activities, okay? I'm afraid that I am badly out of shape and sedentary at the moment. As soon as the doctor gives me permission though, I'm going back to load bearing exercise! Look out Hanz and Frantz!

Jamie said...

Well I read it and as always you are a good story teller and I laughed a little as you describe your rescue! Scary though....reality check eh?