Monday, August 4, 2008

No More Water Slides!

Yesterday I was up at 6am, running just over 8 miles, jumping in an ice bath, and feeling very accomplished with the start of my day. My abs felt tight deep in the core, which was a sign I was correctly following the ChiRunning posture I was aiming for. Paul and I set out for Raging Waters just the two of us…

…Little did I know what was in store for me…

I should have known I could not get through an entire day of physical water slides without incident. I have always been accident prone, the scars on my knees attest to my supreme klutziness. At each slide I grilled the operator… “Has anyone ever died on this ride? Has anyone ever broken a bone?” The young lifeguards earnestly answered no, but I could see the lies etched on their faces. As I neared my turn on the Speed Slides I started to panic, my heart lurched in fear as I stared down the dizzying drops of the slides. Paul encouraged me and next thing I knew I was whipping around in the water, screaming my head off… “Paaaaulllll I haaaaate yoouuuuuuu!!!!!!!!” (I don’t mean it, don’t get upset now) In sheer terror I squeezed my eyes shut and felt the world drop out from under me, having studiously counted the drops while in line, after the second drop I took a deep breath and braced myself. I slammed hard into the water, my top flew up, and the world seemed incredibly far away. I started swimming for the surface but only felt concrete everywhere I reached. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I remembered people on the crew discussing how vestibular nerve damage from the tumors we grow in that area can cause you to not know which way is up under water… a primal fear wrenched my entire soul and I became incredibly desperate to reach the top. Kicking, flailing, looking for anything to swim toward but surrounded by nothing I suddenly spotted Paul’s shorts. Within seconds he had pulled me up and out of the water and was staring into my eyes in urgent concern. I gasped, sucking in the precious air, dizzy, completely discombobulated. I choked out, “I didn’t know which way was up!” Having doubted my balance issues in the past and thinking them a huge cover-up for having had a few too many beers (or vodkas), Paul told me “I believe you now!” and hugged me tight to him. I was so incredibly shaken, nevermind that the water was only a few feet deep, that I was drowning as much as Little John in the creek on Robin Hood, I was completely lost under that water and was incredibly grateful Paul realized I wasn’t just messing around and pulled me out. The lifeguard was yelling at as to exit the pool, never left her stand or showed a slight bit of concern. I jokingly told Paul she was yelling "No Drowning! If you are going to drown, please exit the poooool!" As I dragged myself out like a drowned dog I could only say one thing… No more water slides!!


Anonymous said...

My near-drowning "ephinany" came at a pool party, where my then-boyfriend and all his friends were so busy drinking and joking around they never even noticed I was in trouble. Th only thing that saved me was as I started to freak out I told myself "That's how people drown, but not staying calm". That little 2 second pep talk gave my body time to start floating to the service (it was my my elbow that hit the air first). Now I never swim alone and I only do water slides that include inner-tubes!! (Is that what they are called? LOL)


Rebecca said...

Olivia that is incredibly terrifying! I cannot believe you braved that! That heavens I realized my disorientation before attempting something like that as I had not had problems in the past and had gone on water slides (BIG ONES).

You are extremely lucky! Good thing Paul was there to pull you out! I am glad you are ok. I do not do water parks at all anymore. If I was going to it would be like Tracey said (calm and with inner tubes), or like rides you are strapped in (logs, boats, and rafts).


Anonymous said...


The exact same thing happened to me at a waterslide too, many years ago.

Happened so fast, its easy to get disoriented underwater at the end.

Maybe a trick is to be "prepared" for that touchdown, if possible. I dunno. And always swim with a buddy.


KC said...

Thats scary Olivia! Glad it wasn't worse!
I love the way u write!
keep blogging!

DebR said...

OMG Girl I am so glad you are ok and that Paul was there to pull you out. Wow that must have been so scary.


Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

YIKES!!! Glad you're okay and will trust your instincts!

Sheila said...

Girl remember what I told you about RW!! LOL

Next time what you do is have Paul go first and notify the Lifeguard at the bottom that you are coming down and get disoriented and ask that they help you stand up. Otherwise if he waits there to help you the Lifeguard will yell at him to get out of the water! LOL Or like with the Speed Slides he can tell the Lifeguard as well, but if you are going side by side have him go a few seconds before you, so he can get there just before you and help you stand up when you exit the slide!

I am glad you are OK and that he was there at the right time!!

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