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HomeEp Two – Saving a life on your boat is good karmaEp Two – Saving a life on your boat is good karma

Ep Two – Saving a life on your boat is good karma

Saving life of someone the first time you take out your boat is good karma, don’t ya think?!

We certainly do and hope that we have “paid it forward” in the best of ways.

The day of our sea trial  was a beautiful March day: the sun was out, the weather a pleasant 61 degrees and all we needed was a light jacket even on the water.  We were ready to see how she would sail and pulled out the mainsail as soon as we got into the  ICW.

It was a great day to be on the water.

Not a good day to be IN the water.  Just ask Sandy.

Eddie was at the helm when he first saw her in the water.  I was down below when I heard a man calling, “Help!! Help! She’s in the water.  I can’t swim!!”.  As I rushed to the deck, I first saw a little French Bulldog floating near the boat.  Sadly, he was already past saving and Sandy was close to the same.  When I saw her,  she was barely floating upward, with only her face and mouth breaking the surface.  Eddie recalls that his first thought was, “That’s an odd place to swim.”.  But we all quickly realized that she was hardly swimming. She was working on surviving.

We all quickly went in to action.

John (the boat seller) maneuvered the boat around. Sandy was quickly traveling upstream in the strong current.  Eddie stopped me from jumping in to save her and thankfully he did!  We were told later that the water was near 40 degrees!  I would have quickly been in the same shape that she was.  None of my lifeguard training in Louisiana would have prepared me for such a unknown temperature shock.  A very lucky toss  by Eddie of the rescue buoy landed the rope across her neck.  I yelled to her, “HONEY YOU GOTTA GRAB IT!  GRAB IT!”  But all that she could manage was a lean of her head to trap the rope between her shoulder and face.  The near freezing water had depleted almost all of Sandy’s strength.

But Sandy was a fighter and she had a strong will to live.

We pulled her to the boat as John expertly maneuvered the vessel towards her.  THANK GOODNESS the Music had a Sugar Scoop stern because our last boat had a ladder that one had to climb vertically to get in and out of the water.  I can’t even image how we would have gotten an unresponsive person on to the boat.

As Ed and I lifted her, Sandy was unable to assist us at all and was completely blue.  And I mean COMPLETELY BLUE! People and Smurfs should never be the same color!

 

I began to administer (from my training as a life guard)  the procedure to get the water from her lungs.  She had so much!  Then Eddie and I used a blanket as a hammock to carry her into the cockpit (my man has INVALUABLE training from his previous first-responder job that helped in saving Sandy’s life!) but he could not find a pulse because of her semi-frozen extremities. I cut off her wet clothes, wrapped her in as many blankets as I could get and lay on her for warmth.  All while John coordinated with the Coast Guard to get a rescue squad. Because of the depth of the keel we were limited in where we could dock and hence where EMS could rendezvous with us. But this boat crew worked together like a well practiced team!

It took Sandy several minutes to articulate her husband’s phone number (she told us later that it felt like it took a half hour to get out all 10 digits) in between the coughs to purge the foamy water.  I thought that he must be sick with worry after seeing his wife traveling down river and not knowing if she was alive, who had picked her up, and where she was going!  What a horrible nightmare for anyone to experience!

We navigated to the dock for the Big M Casino and arrived there before EMS.  Sandy’s husband even made it there before they did.  It is difficult to explain to a 911 dispatcher where you are when you are continuing moving and aren’t really sure where the boat will be able to stop.

Broken HeartedWhen Sandy’s husband spoke to her, Sandy’s first words were, “I couldn’t save him.”  Apparently some birds had  frightened the little dog which caused him to fall in the water.  Sandy jumped in to save him but hypothermia quickly made her the rescue-ee not the rescuer.

Sandy was in the hospital for 5 days because the hospital staff had trouble getting her core temp up to normal.  She was old by the doctors that had she stayed in that water for 3 more minutes, she would not have made it. Hypothermia was shutting down her organs and the frigid water and near drowning had caused her to have a stress-induced heart attack.  The doctors feared she might have long term damage. But thankfully, since then, her doctors believe her heart will heal itself with no permanent harm even though it is still necessary for her to see a cardiologist.

I had kept in touch with Sandy’s husband, Wayne through all of her recovery and when we finally made the move to South Carolina, we made plans to meet.  It was amazing to see the beautiful, vibrant Sandy smiling and able to give us the biggest hugs.  Everyone had their own memories about the events of that fateful day but that we got to be with Sandy was all of our blessings.

Here’s to a new friendship started from a precarious beginning.

John, Eddie, Cara, Sandy, Wayne

My new friend and I

 

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