I´m not sure what happens exactly, but when I am thinking, a lot, I will start to type. The words pouring out onto an invisible piece of paper. Sometimes it is a computer screen. Sometimes it is an old manual typewriter. Sometimes an electric one. Sometimes it is those black screens with green type that those from my generation used as we grew up.
The screen in my brain is currently filled with words. It´s just that I can´t seem to make sense of them. They are typing too fast. They are filling the screen faster than I can comprehend them. Nearly faster than I can type them. They are keeping me awake anytime I try to shut my eyes. Words. Sadness. Grief. Flying across the screen as my fingers try to keep up with typing them.
Five-thirty this morning, and I am awake. The Ambien that managed to shut the world down last night cannot shut it down this morning. I wake up. I go to the porch. I sit in my hammock. I finish the novel I have been reading. I cannot nap. The typing continues. I believe that it is my own personal way of dealing with stress, grief, pain.
At some point, and I promise this, I will recount the entire story. This will most likely be after we leave Mexico. After we, hopefully, have more answers. Her family has started arriving here in Cozumel. We are awaiting autopsy results. We will hopefully get them today.
. . . but the typing in my brain needs to come out . . . I need to share some of my heart . . . and so I will share just a few things . . .
I will quickly share that the JB and I were the first to ascend from the dive due to my inability to get my buoyancy correct once my tank began running low. She was the next to come up. She said she had run out of air, but as we swam to her, we realized that was not correct. We were able to inflate her BCD which meant she still had air in her tank. This BCD allows you to float on the surface. During the next fifteen minutes, I would stay by her in the water, talking to her, and watching her progressively lose her color and fight to breathe. On her way into the boat, she passed out. Once in the boat, JB would run the code and oversee the intubation (done on the second try even on a rocky boat thanks to an ER doc on board) until we got to the dock and to an ambulance and to the hospital. All in all there were five doctors and one fourth year medical student on the boat. Six doctors if you count the patient herself. I am not sure how it would be possible for her to have been in better hands.
When we arrived back at our hotel, there were people waiting for us. The people in charge of the WMS (Wilderness Medicine Society) and the people in charge of the dive group. They ushered us to a very fancy suite where we were given towels and coffee and warmth. This was one time I wished I drank coffee. The rain had left me frigid. We had a debriefing. We went over everything that happened. Her gear was quarantined. Pictures were taken. Everyone wanted to make sure everything was taken care of the right way.
JB, who had led the code in the pounding rain, was not even the slightest bit cold. He was still running on adrenaline. By the end of the evening, his body and mind were completely spent. He fell into bed and barely moved again.
Two hours after the debriefing, the conference resumed with the news JB had just given me in our room moments before. My new friend had died. She was gone. Her family was not here with her. She had traveled to Cozumel by herself. They were getting a call from hundreds of miles away that their wife and mother and sister and coworker and friend had died in Mexico during a recreational outing.
A few hours later JB reemerged in our room. He was carrying a few sheets of printer paper and a pen. He told me that they had pulled him out of the meeting. That the investigators wanted our statement. JB dictated. I scribed. The words came out incredibly matter-of-factly. We recounted the events as we recalled them. We talked stoically. It felt surreal. Someone was dead. We were there for her demise. I had stroked her arm and told her it was going to be okay. ¨We are here with you. Don´t worry. The boat is coming. Breathe slowly. Just relax.¨
At some point I´ll recount the entire story. But not now. It just doesn´t feel like the right time.
There is so much more to say. Some day I will say it. I so appreciate all the prayers, kind words, and encouragement. I was not planning on getting on the computer much while I was here, but I have needed it. I can´t figure out how to call home, and we aren´t sure how expensive it would be if we could, so words online are really providing me support and encouragement. I really need it.
This morning as I lay in bed next to JB, trying to make sense of what had happened, I told him I needed to type. I needed to get the words in my brain on ¨paper.¨For me, sometimes, writing is the only way I know how to try and digest my pain. I did it with infertility. I did it with other disappointments and my Grandmother´s death. And I think it will be the same in this circumstance. As in all events in our life, we are immeasurably changed by the direction our life takes. By small things that mold us into the person we become. This event will be no different.
That being said, I am sure you will read in the weeks to come, me trying to make sense of what happened. Right now I am just trying to stop the video from playing back in my mind. JB explained that I would keep replaying the video for some time -- trying to choose a different direction. Maybe, if we would have taken off her weight belt. Maybe if we would have signaled the boat for help immediately. Maybe if we could have gotten the waves to wash over her a bit less. Maybe something. Maybe if I would have said something differently, I would have been able to get her to calm down and breathe properly.
Of course, we don´t know the answers to any of that. We are hoping the autopsy will show us something. There is a chance we will learn that something had occurred which no amount of talking would have changed. A heart attack. An embolism. And other fancy doctor words I have heard thrown around that don´t mean very much to me without a thorough explanation.
But for now, for the next few days, I plan to type when I need to. I plan to try and get the words in my brain to be real words that will help me work through this grief that is encompassing everything I do.
Thank you for allowing me to do that. Again, incredible thanks for prayers and kind comments and emails. I have read every single one of them. Please pray for our dive master who was greatly impacted by this fatality. This scuba shop is incredibly reputable. This is only their second fatality in seventeen years. This is also the first fatality for the Wilderness Medicine Society.
I would also appreciate your prayers for one other thing. We are planning on leaving Sunday to go home. We won´t leave early. Leaving won´t change anything that happened. But there is also a depression, hurricane or tropical storm Ida I think, heading toward Mexico. Please pray we can leave before the storm gets here.
I´ll post again soon.