Life After Drowning:
D.S.: It was 1976. A friend and I had, uh, gone over to Catalina, and we were scuba diving. We were on a dive boat, and we went over to the kelp beds, because you know, where the kelp are the fish are. We were in the kelp beds, and all of a sudden, he came up, and he grabbed the snorkel out of my mouth, and started breathing on it, and he had run out of air on his tank. And he came over to rip the snorkel out of my mouth so he could breath, right? And I was surprised because I still had a quarter tank left of air, OK, so uh, he was panicked, and instead of buddy-breathing, and calmly going up to the surface, he had panicked. And so, he starts to, uh, swim up, and basically, I’m at the end of the snorkel, left behind, and he crashes into all the kelp. The surging kelp. And so then, I got hung up in that kelp bed, and I’m biting through seaweed in the kelp trying to set myself free. And in the meantime, I look up to the clear blue sky and think, “God this can’t be happening to me!” And uh, I took a pure breath of water, and unlike you think drowning in the water and chocking, it’s not like that. You take a total breath of water, and it does not hurt. I’m trying to make my way, departing from the kelp bed, so I could make my, part the kelp bed, so I can make my way to the top. In the mean time, he made it up to the top, and he signaled the dive boat. And so they were getting an Avon out and coming. I didn’t know this, I’m still down below. I didn’t know that. Then he went up and signaled again, then he did that three times. I’m down there the whole time. I took a second breath of pure water, I got dizzy. After my third breath, I started to go to sleep. And so, I had already taken my weight belt off, and my body came up through the kelp bed, and the Avon got there, and threw me up in the dingy. All of a sudden water came out of my mouth, like a pop. Then after a while I could breath again, and became conscious. And so, all the way home from Catalina, I was in the bathroom, because I had diarrhea from all the saltwater in my body, so when I got home, I started to feel really dizzy and drunk. I knew something was wrong, so I went down to the emergency room in San Pedro Hospital. And so, they had, they admitted me because I had all this salt water in my bloodstream. And all night long, I had nurses come in and ask me because under the old definition of death at that time, I had died. I had aspirated, I had stopped breathing, and my lungs and my blood were full of salt water. And so, the thing, the one thing I got out of that is the fact that I’m not afraid to drown, because it wasn’t painful. I believe that was a miracle, because at the time my body popped up, uh, R. my friend, he was up on the top signaling the dive boat. I was uh, biting the kelp trying to get through, and it was all wrapped around the back of the tank. I didn’t date him anymore, by the way.
D.S. describes her brush with death. She was traveling to Catalina Island by boat, and her friend R. at the time nearly killed her, likely without thinking much in the way of possible consequences. With that mentality in mind, he was in a struggle for his survival, but D.S. was worse off, and even questioned later by doctors and nurses, who believed that she should have been dead due to the salt water intake. D.S. attributes her survival to being a miraculous recovery, despite the overwhelming odds against that.