Over the years I thought I would never forget this experience, yet I have forgotten a lot of the"pictures" that occurred during the drowning accident. Therefore, I can only put down a scanty portion of what happened.
In the Spring of 1964 my friend and I were playing Barbies in my living room near a plate glass window which overlooked the hillside, a trail, and beyond that a small creek. We watched as a group of boys made their way down the trail with innertubes shouting My friend and I decided to follow them and see what they were up to.
My mother was visiting with our neighbors and I told my friend I needed to go tell her where we were going, but she rushed me saying we had to hurry or the boys would get away. So, being a faithful friend, I went with her along the path and to the creek.
When we got there the boys were settled downstream on their tubes and said we could use the one left on the rocks. We found it wasn't as full as theirs and my friend wanted to get on it and follow them on down the creek. I said I would go along only for a little way. We weren't dressed for this adventure as we had on our jeans and tennis shoes. The water was running swiftly, but not so swiftly to think it would do us any harm just to go a little ways.
We got on with our feet up on the tube and then just around the bend I got off the tube saying I wasn't going any further because I needed to go home and tell my mother where we were. She chided me, telling me that the boys were getting far ahead of us and that she would no longer be my friend anymore if I didn't go along with her. I said she could go alone, but then she pleaded with me to go with her. I told her if she would go over a little set of rapids then I would get on after those. The water was just waist deep. In order to keep our friendship I got back on the tube and that is the last I remember of the physical aspect of the journey.
I saw myself under the water and I looked at myself being very calm. Eyes closed just wedged between a canal of slippery rocks just barely an inch under the water that was coursing over the length of my body. One of my feet was up on a rock on the outside. I saw my friend standing on the bank looking at me and she seemed quite afraid. I said aloud, why doesn't she help me? I said it again and again, I said it so that she could hear it, "Why don't you help me?"
Water spilled over me and I watched the leaves as they fluttered in the wind, yet I remained very calm and resolute. "Help me." I said. Then nothing. I don't know for how long there was nothing because then the dreaming began. I cannot recall much of it, except that I felt like I was tumbling and being pulled and jerked around. I saw images of shadowy places and figures and glints of light and patterns like leaves with the sunlight pouring through them.
When I awoke I was calm and understood that I was in the hospital nearly immediately. I saw how small and fragile my body was. I could see the blue veins in my arms like rivers of blood keeping me alive. I was weak and could not move much, but my eyes took in the people who came to see me. When my friend came in she held my hands and told me how tiny I seemed and I said I was very happy to see her. She smiled.
Evidently, while her foot was underwater on the tube she felt an electric shock. This catapulted her quickly out of the tube which then flipped over and I fell out and hit my head on a rock. This caused me to be unconscious and trapped in this small canal. She was afraid to touch me because of the shock she received. There was a short in an irrigation water pipe which was fed by the creek water. She had stood on the bank wondering what to do when she heard an electric lawn mower and so ran toward that sound. She found a teenager mowing the lawn and screamed that her friend was drowning in the creek. He ran to the creek, saw me, took his foot and pushed me down the canal whereupon he lifted me out of the water, lifeless. My friend asked him if I was dead and he told her to shut up. He was an Eagle scout and began performing artificial respiration. My friend told me it seemed like forever. His mother had called the Dr., who happened to live on the street, and they drove me quickly to the hospital where they emptied lots of water, sand and rocks from my lungs. It was eight or so hours before I regained consciousness. I had been delerious and my mother told me years later it was the worst thing she could ever have experienced to see her child in so much trauma not knowing if I would survive or not.
Yet, when I woke up and it was all explained to me I was quite calm, serene and just looked at everyone with big eyes and felt so glad to be with everyone, including the nurses. Everyone seemed so nice, helpful and kind and I couldn't understand what the fuss was all about. I told them what I saw and they said it was dreaming and hallucinations. I told them I saw what happened, but they only said I was delerious and it would pass.
I tried to remember the dreams and what I saw for years and years. I thought I would never forget it, but with other events and stresses over the years I managed to let go of the memories. The thing I remember most is telling my friend to help me, and she did.