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Monday, August 18, 2014

Beneath the Waves

While Jen and I were strolling along Nantasket Beach, just after sunrise yesterday, I took a wholly unexpected, sudden swim. We were in the shallows, just scuffing along in the surf when I toppled junk over tits, right into the deep end (sorta).

Neat trick huh? How’d I manage this ungainly feat?

Well, y’all know that I’m rockin’ the mega annoying Neurofibromatosis 2 — AKA Nf2. As a result, I’m sans balance nerves. I’m able to stay upright through that dope combo of vision and muscle memory. Oh and my eyesight’s a bit wonky to boot (nerve damage,  darlings).

Toppling nose-dives are gonna happen from time to time. I’m cognizant and careful. No, I don’t use a cane — too cumbersome and annoying and I truly don’t need one in my daily perambulations.

What went down on the beach yesterday?

Jen and I were were rambling along in the surf, watching the clots of burly seagulls and skittering throngs of wee sanderlings. I was transfixed by the incredible, beautiful sunlight playing on the surface of the water — how it just tickled the sand and pebbles below.

Clearly I wasn’t paying strict, focused attention to where I was placing my feet. Yup, it’s true.

Odd though, without either of us noticing, the beachscape had shifted and we were much farther out from shore even though still just ankle deep in waves. We weren’t spacing and goggling at all the mondo beauty for THAT long — were we? We decided to meander back to the beach and that’s when it happened. Turns out we were on a sandbar. I took a step and the seafloor wasn’t there anymore.

 Was passiert auf den Meeresboden?!

When I toppled into the drink I lost my bearings, every last one of ‘em. I couldn't find the seafloor and I couldn't find up — the surface. Panic set in and made everything worse. I got a snoot full of water and, only then, tried to hold my breath. I was unnerved, confused and afraid to say the least.

And then, then Jen came to my rescue. She jumped in and pulled me up and out. Turns out we were only hip deep but, in my full blown, mondo, scared disorientation, I just couldn’t grok that.

Wildly, astoundingly, my camera, phone and hearing aid which all went into the drink with me, joined me in my undead state. In fact, unlike yurs truly, they were barely damp — same with my little travel pack of tissues. Funny. Everything else in my courier bag was utterly sodden. Good way to clean out all those stray receipts and business cards, eh?

Ya know, without the monster panic reaction I'm certain I could've sorted things out. For starters, it occurred to me (only now), I float. It’s one of my more pronounced super powers. I SO float. All I’ve got to do is stretch out and I’ll bob to the surface faster than light speed.

Extreme frenzied fear — panic — is the enemy. It short circuits my ability to think and act rationally, analytically.

Afterward I felt weak and pathetic. I thought, how can I possibly trike the Hebrides when I can’t even walk in the surf without foozle footing my way into near disaster? Had Jen not been with me, I might have drowned. Can I ever do anything on my own again? Am I stone disabled now or what?
  • I may not be as rock solid healthy as someone who doesn’t have Nf2 but, boyhowdy mes amis, I’m doin’ pretty awesome for a 56 year old (HEY, today’s my birfday!) deaf broad with no balance nerves, semi wobbly vision and an overdeveloped fondness for BIRTHDAY (!!!) cake.
  • My Hebdridean adventure is in the future. I have time to imagine, to anticipate issues that might come up. I can research the fuck outta this and prepare. And I will. 
  • Did I mention this? Panic is the enemy.
As Jen and I were trundling back down the beach to the car — me, soaked to the atomic level and figuring that my camera, phone and hearing aid were all kaput — Jen snarkily asked ‘how was the water.’ She told me later that I broke into a giant grin, said GREAT and just kept on smiling as we squelched our way onward.

What was my Cheshire Cat action about? Was that delirium? Oh my no. I’d survived — as did my electronics and the water really DID feel fab-ola.


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