Subject: Here is the story:
Date: 2/12/2006 6:46:33 PM (GMT-7)
IP Address: 126.96.36.199
In Reply to: Re: OOPS. posted by
It was Thursday 12/22/2005 about 6:30PM. The water temperature was about 38oF. I had not slept since Monday 3PM (1 1/2 hr nap) due to insomnia. I now have prescription "Ambien" I'll use to help after midnight shift to recover.
I did my 5 O'clocks, and noticed the finish pH was going up a little bit. No worry, but I checked and no one had cleaned the probe for a few days, and I decided to do it. Then - I forgot all about it.
About 6:20 I remembered, and said to myself "Nah". But I decided to not be lazy once and just move my butt.
I went out, and said to myself "gotta turn the lights on when I go back in." Not that it would help - most don't work. (I HAVE told Phil before). I get up there and the probe looked OK, so I acid washed it and put it back in the water. I remember stepping out of it's area, and heading back. I remember thinking of the lights again, then all of a sudden it’s COLD and WET and I'm like "WHAT THE F**K??????".
I started kicking, and hit the surface. "Where the F**K AM I????" I turned in circles and realized I was in a basin.
"WHERE’S THE FU**ING LADDER!?!?!?! WHERE’S THE LADDER!?!?!?!?!?"
I caught hold of something - one of the supports for the pH platform. I looked around there for a way out, but no good. I spotted the ladder on the side of the basin, so I started swimming for it. It was not too far, I swim OK. I knew I could make it. I was even making good time. I thought to myself “I'm gonna be the butt of a LOT of jokes for this.”
All of a sudden, I'm moving away from the ladder, and I realized it was the MIX basin.
"THE MIXERS!! Oh SHIT!!!!!"
It swung me around once and threw me back where I was, under the platform. I found something to stand on – a valve maybe? But I could not get out of the water. It was halfway up my chest or more. I started yelling for Larry, but I knew he would not hear me in the Pumpstation. (I THINK the people at school DID hear me. They said they looked down at the river first. I dunno)
I was afraid to go back out there because of the vortex/whirlpool. Could it suck me down to the mixer blades? I have SEEN those suckers.
My legs were numb (like my head), so I decided I had to try again. I swam out, and the next thing I know I was at the mixer shaft. I grabbed it, and started going in circles.
(My memory gets vague here. I remember it in different orders at different times, and my rescuers say that I said and did things I don't remember. Blame it on cold and panic)
I tried holding it loosely, and spun slower, and kicked off the shaft but got no where. I THINK I did it a few times. I know I kept slowing my spin by holding looser. Then my gloves came off. I tried putting them on again, but had to let go of the shaft, so I grabbed tight with my legs. MISTAKE.
All of a sudden it had me by my boot, or pants. My ankle hurt like hell and I'm going in circles under water. (splashing on my face maybe). I was screaming and thrashing. I got loose, and tried for the ladder again. I distinctly remember telling myself it was my last try. I must have kicked off and caught the vortex just right (I could NOT see the damn thing) ‘cause I seemed to shoot at the ladder.
I saw a face on top of it. "Who the hell is that? That's not Larry!"
Next thing I know I was on top of the ladder, and realized my right foot felt funny. My boot was gone. I tried to climb up further, I wanted OFF the ladder and onto the wall (thought my legs would give out). The guys said I was trying to go back after my wallet!
I realized my pants were gone too! Belt and all. They got me down and asking me where to take me. "Down" (steps) "Right....right". I was heading for the lab radiator. I remember saying "I want heat".
(I am told that when asked my name, I answered “Steve”. I have NO IDEA why.)
Next thing I know strangers are taking off rest of my clothes, someone said don't worry about being naked. I answered "HEAT". They kept telling me not to touch the radiator. Then I'm covered in blankets (from the Paramedics) and I'm on a gurney. Then a very short ride, lights over my head, heat packs, IV, and a simply WONDERFUL hot-air blanket. Like a hairdryer all over.
I NEVER thought I could shiver so hard!!!
I was lucky. Medics all told me that my fat saved me. Thin guy would have been dead already. My core was only down to 98.3 in hospital, but arms and legs had to be worse.
Then family starts showing up, and X-rays (all OK), things getting better. I have some scrapes and bruises, they are hardly more than "boo-boos". My hands were ALL red from friction, but that cleared up in a couple days, except for a few small places.
That's what happened as I remember it. I'm just glad those guys were there, lucky I did forget to go out there earlier. I will NEVER go out there alone again.