He Almost Drowned: One Mom's Story
My friend Beth's kids both swim competitively. They are in the water for at least five hours each week. But that doesn't make them immune from the dangers of the water. It only takes a second for things to change, as Beth learned last week.
Beth's son Dylan is 9. He is a great kid and a good athlete but last week he nearly drowned while everyone watched. His mom sent me this email as a warning.
During Dylan's competitive swim practice he was practicing swimming underwater and kicking to see how far down the pool he could go. The combination of holding his breath and the exertion caused him to faint (technical term is syncope) and he went limp and was unconscious in the water. His swim coach was watching alertly (all of the coaches are NLS certified) and dove in and rescued him so he was underwater and unconscious for only a few seconds - her fast thinking and alertness saved Dylan's life.
Beth received a call from her daughter while she was a couple blocks away, dropped everything and ran back to the school where she was greeted by emergency vehicles, flashing lights and chaos. She doesn't even remember how she got there.
The next five hours were spent at Sick Children's Hospital, trying to find out a reason for the fainting. Heart and neurological tests were performed but there doesn't seem to be an underlying reason for the blacking out. It just happened.
Beth told me that she couldn't stop crying for the next two days. It was so close. It was the second that could have changed her family's life.
Remember that drowning doesn't always look like drowning. The TV has trained us badly - there is no splashing or yelling. It could happen to any of our kids (or us) whether they are great swimmers or mediocre ones.
It is so tempting to not pay attention to your kids while they swim, to read a magazine, to nap. But a small reminder like this is all it takes for us to be appropriately anxious.
Dylan is fine and doesn't even remember the incident, but the memory is seared in his parents' minds for years to come.
Want more chaos? Last year was one of my favourite posts about trashing your wedding dress and why I would.