January 14, 2011 at 4:21 am #97355
AnonymousInactiveJanuary 14, 2011 at 4:21 amPost count: 14413
These are great stories. And it’s such a high when, for once, one is in the position of being the only one doing the right (even the extraordinarily right) thing instead of doing the boneheadedly stupid thing!
When I was 18, my family vacationed on the Florida coast. I was thrilled by the ocean and spent a lot of time on the nearby beach, in the “safe” swimming area marked off with floats.
I’d grown up on the shores of Lake Erie, which is big enough to develop some powerful undertow; like other kids, I’d learned to swim with the current and angle off, instead of exhausting myself by swimming against it.
Now, “rip tide” is the name of a strong current that runs parallel to the shore. It doesn’t just carry you away from where you left your blanket and picnic basket on the beach — it’s dangerous because it often meets up with a rip tide running the other way, whereupon BOTH currents make a right angle and carry anything caught in the current directly out to sea!
Again, one deals with a rip tide by swimming with it, angling gradually out from the shore until you’re in calmer water, and then circling back to where you want to be. So on an overcast day when the beach was relatively empty, I found myself within this strong current running along the shoreline, but wasn’t at all concerned: (a) I knew how to deal with it; and (b) all the current was going to do was to fetch me up against the buoy line anyway, which it did. (Sorry for all the description; the logistics of this were a little complex.)
So there I was relaxing, the buoyed rope across my midriff, enjoying the jacuzzi-ish feel of the current running past me, when I thought I saw a flash of blue in the green-grey water. (I thought of my mother’s paranoid fear of barracuda, then told myself not to be silly.) Then another. Then somebody seemed to run what felt like a razorblade down the length of my leg.
I looked around and found myself in a whole colony of blue jellyfish — Portuguese men-o’-war — that were caught in the current and running past me, stinging as they went. The only way to ensure that I got quickly to shore was to move hand-over-hand along the buoy line . . . which by now was wrapped in uncountable tendrils of stingers from the jellyfish caught upon it.
Afterwards I recovered well enough, though I’d been stung everywhere, especially across my midriff. (At the time, nobody knew about pee relieving the stings, but I’d’ve had no problem asking people to provide some for me! My palms got the worst of it; six weeks later, the skin there was still red, and itched and tingled.
Everyone seemed surprised that I hadn’t panicked, and was “brave” enough to endure the pain of hauling myself into shore under those conditions. But why would I let go of the rope, when that would have let myself get swept out to sea within a raft of stinging jellyfish? That would have been just stupid!!
When we ADDers find ourselves cornered and in danger, I suspect it’s the rush of adrenaline that suddenly puts our brains into clear, crisp, “Do the best thing and do it right” mode — what a nice change from “Now, what was it I was doing? Seems to me it was important…”!
If we are indeed the remnants of the “hunter” sector of our hunting-and-gathering past, I can see how useful that would be: “Hmm, a leopard has decided to attack me. I think I’ll brace my spear against this rock and let the darn thing impale itself. Yup, there it goes. What a nice pelt I’ll have to bring back to the family!”
Just another day in the Paleozoic.REPORT ABUSEJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm #97356
AnonymousInactiveJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:22 pmPost count: 14413
@ellamama I remember reading about a study on the phenomenon of time seeming to slow down in crisis situations like this. here, i found an article about it: http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/12/does-time-slow.html
“What is actually happening, according to Eagleman’s study, is as a result of your memory. According to the study, the part of the brain called the amygdale becomes more active, and lays down extra sets of memories that go along with the actual events.
“In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories,” Eagleman explained. “And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took.””REPORT ABUSEJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm #97357
AnonymousInactiveJanuary 21, 2011 at 9:35 pmPost count: 14413
@XFiles if i may as, how old were you when you went back to school for medicine?
I’ve thought about doing that so many times. but part of me feels like it’s too late. current excuses floating around:
– all the schooling and residency etc. etc. would take forever to complete.
– i’m afraid i’d never get accepted or that i’d flunk out
– the thought of spending another 6 or so years in school (i haven’t even finished my MA yet)
– what if i spend all that time going back to school and decide that i don’t like it or want to do something else?
but I’ve always had a pull to work in health care…medicine or psychiatry or psychology or social work (not paramedic because i’m a horrendous driver!) i’m usually weirdly calm in a crisis too, so i thought it would be a good fit. plus, i like the idea of seeing a new patient/case every 20 minutes or so…would keep the day moving. right now i work 9-5 in a cubicle and want to stab my eyes out with a pen.
anyway, i would really love to hear more about you doing that, your thoughts on going back to school, etc.REPORT ABUSEMarch 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm #97358
AnonymousInactiveMarch 26, 2011 at 11:00 pmPost count: 14413
Okay. Calm in a crisis. Yup. Always have been. The most harrowing was while on a motorcycle trip with my husband, the second year I had been riding -July, 2004.
At the close of a magnificent day of riding in beautiful West Virginia, I “dumped it” on an unexpectedly tight right turn. We were on the last leg of a big, lazy circuit, heading back to the lodge at Blackwater Falls. The locals call the curve “Wild Maggie,” and it is apparently a common place for crashes. But usually folks crash going DOWN the hill. I wrecked going uphill. I was leading and feeling confident. Just having too much fun.
It was a long, straight, easy, grade, and I got focused on pushing my bike up the hill, forgetting to think beyond what I could see. I never saw the posted “20 mph” sign for the curve. I must have glanced at my speedometer as I whizzed past it. Next, I looked up to see one of those helpful yellow arrow signs pointing the way to the right.
I eased off the throttle a little, turned my head, and began to lean into the curve. Then, my stomach clenched as I suddenly realized that this turn was far sharper than I’d anticipated, and I was going far faster than my nerves were comfortable with. I was going to run into the other lane. (My husband got to watch helplessly as it all unfolded.)
As a relatively unseasoned rider, I then began doing what I’d learned in the BRC: “Straighten. Then brake.” It might have worked. But, coming at me around the next curve, was an 18 wheeler. And he was over the centerline by two feet. The shiny metal grill looked as big as a garage door.
For an instant, I considered leaning harder, but discounted that. I didn’t have the confidence to try it. And the consequences of failing would surely put me under the truck’s wheels. It seemed that I had enough room to cross in front of the truck to the opposite shoulder. But the gravel covered shoulder was, well, gravel covered, with a deep ditch beyond. Beyond that, rose the side of a steep, weed and brush covered hillside. I chose that.
I chose, and headed for the gravel and weeds on the outside of the turn. I was uncertain that I could stop between getting across the truck’s path and the side of the hill. In retrospect, I’m ashamed to admit that in my moment of panic, I probably “laid it down” intentionally. At the time, it seemed better to follow the bike into the hillside, not the other way around.
I slid across the lane, up the hill, my bike on my right leg. I remember the WHOOOSH of the truck’s wheels past me, as I slid. I have no doubt that I disappeared from the trucker’s line of sight, I was so close to the cab of the truck.
I came to a stop, and lay still a few seconds, waiting for the ‘starriness’ to dissapate from my whomping my helmeted head. I assessed myself: It seemed that all my parts were still attached and essentially intact. There was hot pain in my right knee, but it didn’t feel severe (I’ve broken bones before). I heard the sound of the truck braking, stopping. My husband’s voice, calling my name as he stopped his bike.
I sat up slowly, and pulled off my helmet. I hollered to my husband query that I was okay. I turned and could see him on the opposite shoulder, near his bike. He already had his cell phone out. The trucker, 60 ish in a plaid shirt, was huffing uphill toward me. He turned pale when he saw me pull off my helmet. Perhaps in relief. Maybe that I was a woman.
I will NEVER ever regret spending the big bucks on BMW gear. If I had been wearing jeans, or even “cheap” leather, I’m convinced that my right kneecap would have been disintegrated from sliding 50 feet beneath the bike, and I’d be sticking to hospital sheets in Elkins or another trauma center now. Not sure my Joe Rocket gear would have done half as well.
The CE armor in my BMW Airflow 2 jacket and ‘zip off’ Summer pants, saved my bones from serious damage. The damage: a hole the size of a plum in the right pant knee, and a melted stripe on the left ankle. My right jacket shoulder was scuffed with road grime and there is a tiny hole on the right elbow of the jacket – the only place I have actual ‘rash’ – but that was from the edge of an elbow pad.
Physically, my right knee looked like an over stuffed bag of rocks within several hours, but Xrays showed nothing broken. It felt like someone very large and angry stomped on my right calf. I had a hyper-extension hairline fracture in the hyphoid bone of my left hand. Probably got my thumb hooked against the handgrip as I went down.
Then, two years ago (again, on my motorcycle – a bigger one, the one in my avatar), I remained calm as I hit a piece of pulpwood that “appeared” out from under a car… while doing 75 miles per hour, in heavy traffic. Dented and opened a 4″ crack in the cast aluminium wheel. But I stayed upright and was able to pull out of the travel lanes.REPORT ABUSEJune 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm #97359
Best "You are calm in a crisis"2010-12-08T22:53:42+00:00
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