Kayaking in my SCUBA dry suit might have paid off!
I was trying to stay active and push through whatever was ailing me. Hiking wasn't working. I was too dizzy, too exhausted, and it was just too difficult!
One day we decided to try kayaking thinking it would be a little easier for me (which it was). Everything was going well up until the very end when I lost my balance and fell backwards into the water. The water-activated lifejacket I was wearing deployed, ripping the Velcro on the left side, smashing my sunglasses into my head, breaking them in the same spot I was already unknowingly injured. While this second impact hurt like hell, I didn’t think much of it since I already felt horrible. I did a check to make sure my biopsy incision hadn't ripped open.
The tall tale as told by the father of my children....
“We get back to the ramp and your mother falls into the water overturning her kayak. She scrambles to her knees and "POW" the life jacket inflates. She then stands up and "POW" the Velcro on the cover lets go and the lifejacket smacks her on the head. It's almost 4-hours later and I'm still laughing.”
We still laugh about the incident, not the injury! What else can you do....
Two days later, I interviewed for a job at a commercial dive shop and started the following week. They had no idea the pain I would be in or the challenges to follow, and neither did I.
Friday, November 6th, was a beautiful fall afternoon and I was excited to be meeting up with Michelle to go diving. While we made plans to dive this day well in advance, we were still throwing around various dive site options until the last minute when we decided to go to Sund Rock Marine Preserve. She told me she’d get there as close to 1:00pm as possible. I got my gear setup, jumped into my dry suit, and took extra care to thoroughly double check my pony tank setup to kill some time. Then, I patiently sat on the tailgate of my truck enjoying the fall sun shining down on me while I awaited her arrival. It was such a pleasant day and for that short period of time I had the entire dive site all to myself.
Michelle let me know she had to get her tanks filled and was running later than she expected. She arrived at the gate at 1:30pm and parked in front of my truck. We caught up briefly and then I gave her time to focus on her setup while I walked back to my truck and sat on the tailgate to wait.
Many individuals along my journey have looked quite puzzled when I tell them I was injured by a scuba diving mask. Trust me, it took me some time figure it out for myself, over 6-months to be more precise. I finally had a chance to return to the scene of the crime and recreate the event (to the best of my recollection). While it proved to be a rather emotional process, it was also incredibly helpful to walk through everything I did remember from that day as it stirred up some additional memories and details, I had forgotten. This is the best I can do to piece it all together... laughing is allowed and encouraged.
Pam Treischel is a SCUBA diver, photographer and mTBI warrior who shares her journey and lessons as she navigates an invisible injury.
No Perfection Here
I use speech-to-text to draft my stories. If one of my daughters has capacity to proof and edit, they graciously do. However, that is not always feasible so I might post a story without any real editing - deal with it:) I am also recording each story so those that struggle to read, like I do now, can have an alternative. I make mistakes recording to - never know what you might hear!