There is nothing better than cruising on your new boat in the Gulf of Mexico enjoying the sun the surf and your beautiful wife (fiancé). That’s exactly how my day was going on August 23, 2014, and how I became a Quadriplegic. Started off early that morning at my house in Central Florida where we packed up our boat sunscreen everything else we needed and headed to Anclote River Park to put our boat in the water. After a three-hour drive and a stop at Publix to pick up the usual boating drinks, we finally got the boat backed into the ramp.
The ramp was something we hadn’t experienced before. There was a strong current from the river and when I put the boat in we had our first issue of the day. Once we released the boat from the trailer our mooring line came loose and the boat drifted to the ramp next to us. I jumped in to tried to push the boat as I swam, which wasn’t the smartest move, and our neighboring boaters helped out as well. Finally, after 20 minutes of struggle, we got her secured to the dock. Put the cooler in then backed out. We then started moving through the channel to rendezvous with our friends in their boats.
Originally, the plans were to meet on the eastern side of Anclote Key. When we arrived at the designated spot there was no one to be seen. Calling one of our friends we found that they were on the western side of the island, the Gulf side. Meeting them in the channel and following him and his wife to the other side of the key.
It only took us about an hour and three people to get anchored. But is well worth the effort if you see from the picture above just how beautiful it was that day. And yes that is my beautiful fiancée Tina floating in 5 to 6 feet of water enjoying the sun. Shortly after arriving and a couple dives off the boat later I made one final dive into the water that changed my and my family’s life forever.
THEN IT HAPPENED
I finally accepted my fate. I couldn’t swim. I couldn’t breathe. I just floated.
Upon diving into the water I blacked out and then woke up floating several feet from the bow of my boat at that moment I knew something was wrong. Gasping for air I yelled for Tina who thought I was joking. So I floated there until I finally accepted my fate. I couldn’t swim. I couldn’t breathe. I just floated. I was going to drown and die right then. Thankfully, at that moment our friends noticed me and swam over. They began to pull me to the shore. Where I could breathe again. But nothing below my neck was working. I was paralyzed.
At that point, I called for Tina again and she came to the beach with the rest of us and dialed 911. Shortly after, fish and wildlife, The Sheriff’s Department, Coast Guard, and then the Bay flight rescue helicopter picked me up and flew me to the hospital. After being put on and off two different boats the helicopter was chosen to be the best choice.
A lot of the hospital stay was chronicled through my dad’s Facebook page and a fan page set up on Facebook as well. I plan on occupying a lot of this blog with a lot of those posts. Some were very moving.