Tuesday, January 10, 2012

drowning in Puget Sound

And then you are in the water. The immediate bodily response is hyperventilation, a gasp, like the wind being knocked-out of you; and it goes downhill from there. Your body knows something is wrong. Blood flow changes; pumping vigorously at your core, less in your extremities. Within minutes, the heart is beating very slowly and lung activity is diminished. You know you’re in danger and so does every cell.
In fact, your skin will actually begin to turn a shade of blue and that will intensify as the minutes tick by. Moving your fingers, arms and legs becomes next to impossible; like your whole body is wrapped in strapping tape.
You might aspirate some water, taking the brine and liquid straight into your lungs, but soon your throat seizes near the vocal chords and slams the airway shut. Obviously, this is not a good turn. No oxygen is entering your body. Even if you’re one of the few who has a limited spasm of the throat, the amount of oxygen is diminished to almost nothing.
The whole thing really deteriorates now. Panic requires energy and it’s just not there.
Consciousness, at this point, becomes iffy. Reality fades and is replaced with involuntary sleep. Your throat may relax; the choke-hold goes away. That’s bad news because water is freely flowing into your lungs.
You’re breathing water much like you did air, but in a blue sleep; and the heart beats for the last time. It stops.
And then you go away.