Getting Back to Normal – Navigating through tough stuff.
What do you do when your world is rocked? How do you get back to normal?
Two weekends ago, my world was definitely rocked. It shifted me off kilter, and I’ve been trying to navigate my way back to normal ever since. Here’s what happened:
My husband, Chris, an experienced kayaker, went out with a group of his buddies to do some winter kayaking for the purpose of a video shoot for some promotional materials. He has been winter kayaking on many occasions and he’s one to focus on safety, so I thought not much of it and waved him off to have fun.
To give a bit more background, Chris is a trained EMT/Firefighter and has been through extensive training in outdoor recreation and rescue situations. He carries rescue gear with him and has been through many different experiences to save lives, but, he’s never been on the receiving end of things.
This time was different.
Something happened and Chris rolled his kayak at the base of a dam in the river. He popped up quick enough, but the churning water at the base of the dam kept pulling him back under. His friend who was closest saw what was happening and attempted to get to him but was unable to maneuver his kayak close enough. He ended up going in the water as well.
Chris fought to get out of the churning water, but was continually pulled back under. Eventually, he was too tired to keep fighting and slipped under, and everything went black.
By God’s grace and mercy, Chris’s body was spit out further down the river, where another friend was frantically trying to get to him. He was able to get him to the shore and a third friend helped to get him on the land.
He wasn’t conscious and he wasn’t breathing but he still had a pulse.
One of his friends, also experienced in rescue procedures began CPR immediately and 911 was called. After three rounds of CPR, Chris came too and began throwing up some of the water that was in his lungs. The next thing was to get him dry and warm.
Life EMS took Chris to the ER and getting his temperature back up to normal was the top priority. I was notified of what had happened when he was enroute to the hospital and met him there. When I arrived, his temperature was at 93 degrees and he was shaking but conscious. Slowly, over the next few hours, his body temperature increased and soon it was back up to normal. He was even able to go home that night!
Because of the fluid in his lungs, he was put on high doses of antibiotics due to the risk of pneumonia. This made him very nauseous and throughout the night he threw up several times. The next day, things turned around and he was able to start eating normally again and although still weak, was almost back to his old self.
God gave us a miracle that day and his good friends put themselves at risk to save his life.
Over the next few days, the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and our church family was overwhelming.
My emotions were all over the place, and I had trouble sleeping. I couldn’t seem to function in my normal capacity. I was so overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy and love for us in saving Chris. I seemed to be stuck in neutral. I didn’t seem to know what I was supposed to be doing. This confused me. I thought, “This was amazing, we had such an awesome outcome, why is thinking about cooking dinner so difficult?” I didn’t understand why the ordinary routines of life were difficult. I assumed that these types of feelings and experiences shouldn’t be happening to me because it was a good outcome. Silly me.
When we are faced with high stress, trauma or difficult experiences…it throws us for a loop. We can expect to be off kilter for awhile and for our emotions to be more difficult to control. We need to give ourselves grace and be okay with right where we are at. In time, emotions begin to die down, sleep patterns normalize and we can get back to our ordinary daily functioning once again.
If you have had any major stress in your life, you may need to remind yourself of this. Tell yourself it’s okay and just slowly ease your way back into your routines. That’s what I did, and it helped.
A week later, Chris was able to stand in the place where it all happened and thank God he was alive. At first I didn’t know if I could go with him so soon after it happened, but it felt good and we could revel in God’s grace and mercy and love. It was a moment to bring some closure to the stress of the past week and symbolize moving forward.
I recommend that if there is a stressful event that you’ve been through, that doing something like this to bring closure can be very cathartic.
If you’ve faced or are facing tough stuff in your life, I pray that you will find rest and peace.
Blessings to you.
Sometimes I link-up with these other blogs during the week.