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I was awakened by a very real nightmare last night

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I just do not dream much anymore.   I do not know if it is the illness or the aging process.   Last night was an exception.   I was at the bottom of a pool of green algae water and my time underwater was coming to an end, and as I surfaced I saw a five year old child being dragged out of the water.

This nightmare has hit me a couple times in my sleep and during conscious hours.  You see on my honeymoon I took Mrs. Seaoat and met another couple in Laredo Texas and took them to Saltillo Mexico where I had lived for six months.  My wife and the other couple who were college friends after about a day in Mexico were experiencing culture shock.  I had met a great many medical students from America during my six months, but I also befriended a Mexican dentist.  When we visited his office, as we walked in we saw a horrible accident where a VW hit a pedestrian and threw the kid about 30 feet with him hitting hard bleeding on the street.   They saw a mob of people charge the car and take the driver out and stomp the living chit out of him as this kid was very seriously hurt bleeding right in front of them.   They completely fell into shock.  So realizing the same, I go to take them back to the old hotel a block off the public square to sleep and get their bearings.

No such chance.   As we crossed the park where I had shown them I would throw a softball up to get pecans, I heard the sickening cry of a mother whose child had fallen into the murky waters of city's central square pond and fountain.  I had my mask at the hotel.  I ran a block and got the mask and returned in about one minute and jumped into dirty no visibility water about eight feet deep.  We were in the mountains so my lung capacity was having some problems adjusting.   But down feeling the bottom covered with horrible stuff, back up for air.  At first I was the only one in the water.   My friend was in shock, his wife was in shock, and my wife was in shock......they just stood stunned and out of it.   I knew that I was running out of time because it was june and the water was warm.   finally, some Mexicans who could swim jumped in to help.   With each dive I became more anxious as the Mexican fire department arrived and wanted to offer me O2 tanks which were not scuba tanks and there was no regulator.   I was now at the five minute mark near panic as I surfaced and they were dragging this child out of the water and they were trying to revive the child.  The fire deparment started compressions and I stayed back.   The child died.   I looked over to my wife and the married friends and they were pale.  I live with utter guilt for running to get my mask and losing a minute.  I did not need a mask because I should have known there was no visibility and I would have to feel the bottom.   I should have saved that child.

We got back to the hotel and they went to sleep.  They were hurting.  I had lived in Mexico for half a year and had experienced the culture and the precarious nature of life in a third world country, but I was devastated that I did not save that child.   The people could not swim.   The only people who could swim were the four of us and three of us were in shock.   The nightmare only comes up once every five years or so, but last night it was overpowering.  I will die knowing that I made a mistake which may have caused this child his life.  I just knew that it is hard to find something underwater if you cannot see.   It is a mistake which became evident as soon as I was in the water and had zero visibility.  I will die with this guilt.  It will be tempered by my saving two drowning goose hunters, but the nightmare last night was my coming up for air and seeing the child's lifeless body being pulled up to the sidewalk from the pond.   It is seared in my mind.   My wife and friends do not talk about this.  When I told my wife about the nightmare, she just got quiet.  She and my friends have tremendous guilt because they could swim but they were in shock, and I will die with guilt.  41 years ago and hurts as if it was yesterday.

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Awful event... I'm really sorry that all of you had to experience that. My two younger siblings were visiting our grandparents in fwb near the bridge and my 4 y/o brother went down to the dock unseen. He was dead when they pulled him out... He was estimated to have been in two minutes. My grandfather started cpr and was still unresponsive when the ambulance took him away. I was 10... it's still hard to fully think about. He awoke from a coma two days later... and was fine. I can't imagine my life if I hadn't had him in it. It put a lump in my throat just writing that.

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I could not imagine your grandfather's calm in this panic situation. To have a sibling pulled out of the water and put in an ambulance is horrifying. It still horrifies me with these nightmares. I was trained. I should have looked at the turbidity of the water to know that my mask would not help me find the child. I am so happy that your grandfather was there. Life is fragile and as we enter the final phase there is a lot of could of should of going on.......the nightmare last night will not be my last.

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You tried Oatie and that's all you can do. You may not have even found him for that minute you took so it wouldn't have mattered.

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Horrible.

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Vikingwoman wrote:You tried Oatie and that's all you can do. You may not have even found him for that minute you took so it wouldn't have mattered.

Viking's right, you know. We do the best we can in this life, and that's all anyone can ask. Besides, for all you know, you might've been there in time to save the child's life but he could've ended up a complete vegetable. You've suffered over this enough; time to let it go.

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I understand all of what has been said. I am not beating myself up, and this most of the time is deeply buried in my memories. My wife always argues that when we came up on the mother, we did not know how long the child was in the water, but with me it is that images of coming to the surface and seeing the child being pulled out and then watching helpless as the fire department could not revive the child. I have pulled a women's fingers out of punch press when it malfunctioned and people started fainting around me, but as horrible as that incident was, there is something about a child's death which just does not leave you, and pops up completely out of the blue. My daughter still complains that I am over protective with her and her girls when they are near the ocean, or their pool. She complains to my wife that I treat her like a child, and that she can supervise her children in the water or near the water. I guess it will stay with me until I pass.

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Every little kid has to keep their life vest at the beginning of the dock. If they set one foot past them without first notifying an adult and then putting on their vest they are grounded from the water, dock, and beach for the rest of the day... NO exceptions. I don't get any grief about it... because I won't entertain any... period. Once they think they're ready I'll give them a little test. After that they're free... lol. They are just too precious to get sloppy with simple rules.

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I agree. I made everybody on my boat wear their life vests. We looked silly, and a few people complained. It is a bit compulsive with me, but it is what it is.

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I make the kids wear them on any boat including the pontoon... and everybody wear them on speedboat and pwc's. No drinking if you want to drive either. I love living on the water... but it comes with responsibilities. I don't think that I could live with myself if someone died because I wasn't diligent.

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PkrBum. ..I agree.

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