Vital Signs

Death Before Dying: … A Love Experience

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We arrive at the lake and it is truly a great day for a beach picnic. The sun is shinning, the sky is a beautiful shade of blue, pretty cotton cloud balls dot the sky, and there is a slight breeze blowing. Everyone changes into their swimming suits and we begin the party with some beach games prior to lunch. We eat lunch and then some of my friends swim out to a floating dock, about one hundred yards off shore. Once they get to the dock, they begin waving and yelling for me to join them. I walk down to the water and step in ankle deep, and immediately jump back out. It is really cold! Way too cold for me! I like to swim in warm, almost bathtub temperature water. But, they keep on waving and yelling at me, they really want me to swim out … everyone is watching … I have to go. The water is much too cold for me to ease in slowly, so I run into the water from about twenty feet off shore, and with a big, blood-curdling scream, I hit the water in a gigantic belly flop. Wow! This water really is cold! I’d better start swimming as fast as possible to get warm, and I do. I am starting to warm up as I get into my swimming rhythm.

Then about half way to the dock I begin to feel cramping pains in my stomach and groin. I can hear my mother’s voice, “Andy, don’t go into the water right after you eat, you might get cramps.” But the cramps aren’t that bad, and besides I’m almost half way there … I can make it.

Now with every stroke the pain increases, it’s getting harder and harder for me to kick my legs.

I can’t kick my legs any more, the pain is really intense … I can’t keep my body straight … my knees are buckling up into my stomach. I’m scared! My arms are moving, but I’m not going anywhere … I’m starting to bob up and down. Oh hell, I’m swallowing too much water … it’s in my nose, down my windpipe, in my lungs … I’m going under … I am completely underwater now!

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