<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4003502081/" title="DSCN1164 by thebadkitty81, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2655/4003502081_b59e4f9efd.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSCN1164" /></a>
I was in the hospital recently. Better now… mostly…
I still drift in and out of terrible places (not constantly, but undeniably), but I now feel a need to muzzle the worst of it when talking to friends and loved ones. No one in my life can tolerate the worst of me. How can I blame them for that?
I know I can be intolerable at times. Sometimes, I can’t tolerate myself, and I just want to die.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but I am sometimes. I don’t mean to be a bitch, but I am sometimes. I don’t mean to be so [email protected] lost, but I get so turned around sometimes.
The feeling reminds me of a scuba mishap I got into some years ago.
After a couple of mistakes, I wound up alone, at this depth where it was freezing and there was no light getting through from the surface. Just this cold blackness that somehow seemed to be tinted red. I had gotten separated from the other divers, and descended too far. We were diving in November, in Illinois (dubious to begin with), so going beyond the highest couple thermoclines was highly inadvisable. My sister (who tried to find me in that mess, but quickly realized the impossibility of the task) later named that spot "The Red Death."
I was too weary to be in the water that day, and at that depth, both nitrogen narcosis, and vertigo set in fast. I had racing thoughts that my equipment was failing. I could feel my reg taking in water. That’s when I realized that I was losing it – scuba gear, especially a breathing apparatus, rarely malfunctions. An instructor once told me that if you think your gear is fouling up, like you think water is getting into your reg, it is statistically far more likely that you have narcosis.
I got my wits about me, as much as I could, and tried to size up the situation.
Zero visability – I couldn’t see my hand in front of me, unless it was up against my mask.
The water was freezing.
I was alone.
I realized no one was going to find me down there, and that I had to [email protected] move. I didn’t know which way was up, and I was so cold.
I could have died down there.
I had to think. It was so hard to think.
You have to go up, but you don’t know which way is which, what do you do?
I purged my reg against my mask, so I could actually see the bubbles against the clear plastic as they blasted upward.
Follow the bubbles…
That way was up…
and I just had to move.
I was terrified, but I knew it had to be slow. I dumped my BCD until it was flat, and I started to slowly kick my way up. Narcosis fades once you surface – I just had to get there slowly to avoid the bends, and other serious medical repercussions. I just telling myself, slowly… slowly…
But, I had forgotten something. I hadn’t held the dump valve over my head as I ascended. My BCD, that had looked and felt flat when I was down in the Red Death, re-expanded 40 feet from the surface. I could not dump it fast enough to sufficiently slow my ascent. I came out of the water like a leaping dolphin.
Fortunately, I was ultimately okay. (Apologies if you’ve heard this before). My hearing in one ear was screwy for a little while, and I had a mild case of hypothermia. Sprinting to the surface from forty feet isn’t at all advisable, of course, but it’s also nowhere near as bad, as say, eighty feet.
I exist in some terrible places. Not completely, but undeniably… and these places may be too terrible for others to occupy. No one can stand it there long enough to hang on.
Maybe, I have to find my way out alone.