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Saved Two Lives This Week

For some reason I keep reliving both events, so writing it down might help. No glory or adoration required, but jeez being a good swimmer has it´s own blessings.

We went to the pool in the early evening a few days ago. {Has to be early evening, more about why later} I found myself watching a little kid in the deep end who was struggling, but seemed to be managing even though he was gulping down water. He made his way to the shallow end,, then turned and started coming back..

Serious doubt crept in that he could possibly make it, going down the middle of the pool, no sides to hang onto, he looked all of 6 or 7 years old and in distress. Where were his parents? Laid on sunbeds quickly transforming into giant lobsters even at 7pm.

The reality being he was totally unsupervised, and struggling. Several attempts to swim underwater failed and he was taking IN water with every stuttering breath. What triggered me into action were his flailing arms and legs, (could be mistaken for breaststroke at first glance) except he was going nowhere.

So I gathered him up, dragged him into the shallow end, patted his back while he coughed up water, then said to him “never go out of your depth.” He was a Brit but didn´t understand what that meant!!! Totally gobsmacked I had to show him, and then tell him where he should not go beyond. Perhaps he would listen and learn more from a stranger who´d saved him than from his dumbass parents. He was ok, and it wasn´t my responsibility to confront them. Pointless really because they´d be doing the exact same thing the next day.

Afterwards I realised that the widely known signs of a child or adult in difficulty is three times under while upright. But in this incident the child was still horizontal, so here’s the warning signs:

1) Out of depth and doing doggy paddle.
2) Laboured breathing, and gagging.
3) Arms and legs flailing while going nowhere.
4) Hands turn into fists with panic….

This version of how the worst can happen is just as important to know about as the one we’re all aware of.

The second near tragedy happened last night, this time it was the “three times under.” A little Spanish lad no more than five years old was again out in the deep end unable to swim properly. Meantime his mum was sat wittering to another woman way back from the pool, and he was out of her sight.

In an instant he panicked and went under, it all happened so quick, as I swam towards him fast, second time up he managed to shout “Mama!” I managed to grab him just as he was going straight down, had to shove him up from being fully under the water and shouted “EMERGENCIA!” As I swam towards the steps with him “Mama” came running towards us and couldn’t thank me enough in English, Spanish, and.. Spanglish. I just said “de nada” if I’d said any more it would’ve been a full on RANT.

Thing is, even if she’d heard him, by the time she’d run to the pool and dived in, he’d have been half way down to the bottom.

Beautiful, but potentially deadly.

SAM_1366

{{PS: There´s no relief while walking in there, it´s like a very warm bath}}

I remember when our kids were young the best we could afford were package holidays. We used to sit on sunbeds and take turns watching them in the pool. Even though they could swim well, they always had a pair of eyes carefully watching over them. My own parents did the same.

The area we live in is situated 4 kilometres back (and uphill) from the coast. In general holidaymakers don´t want to be this far back from the sea. BUT some houses here are posh people´s second homes, therefore their children and their grandchildren get a free holiday at mummy and daddy´s house. Trade off being they can´t just walk to the beach. Hey that´ll still do nicely! 

These days I consider it as selfish that some, (not all) parents seemingly couldn´t give a stuff. We have witnessed them being more interested in getting a nice (blistered) tan, or just having a gossip with backs to the pool. Children under the age of ten are supposed to be “supervised” while in the pool, it´s one of the rules that can easily go ignored.

Why early evening is so important right now:

You may have seen on the news that we´re in the middle of the hottest heatwave on record here. Spain, Southern France, and Italy are worst hit. As I write this sat outside in the “shade” and bang under the ceiling fan, the temperature is 42 degrees C. Up on the roof terrace it´s off the scale, took a digital air temperature monitor up there earlier and it´s registering 56C!! Yes that´s CENTIGRADE, and Hot humidity is hovering between 80 – 90%.

The Met office here must be busy, juggling orange alerts / red alerts and lifeguards are warning people not to go on the beaches. Wildfires are burning inland, and crops are being harvested earlier than ever before, now,, in August before they shrivel up!! We´ve even heard that the temperature is hovering just below the limit for “short haul” planes (within Europe) to be able to fly. Which means they´d be grounded for several hours per day.

Thankfully holidaymakers are taking notice, there´s no other option but to obey the rules of the sun in such heat. We`re acclimatised, yet the sun on my feet earlier was excruciating!

Common sense dictates to us all. Waiting till the sun´s gone down completely, around 8.30pm is when we all wake up, go anywhere or do anything! Still 35C from then till midnight, yet believe me it feels WONDERFUL.

Beyond midnight is when we hit a small snag,, 30C all night. {Air con and ceiling fans become the new necessity}

End result: When the sun rises next morning it´s already 30 degrees C, and the only way is up. Agghhh.

5 thoughts on “Saved Two Lives This Week

    1. Yeh, even in the shade it’s like a sauna. There’s always times in any year when the heat goes off the scale. But stitch those days together and woah!
      There’s an “Iceland” supermarket about 15 kilometres away (all frozen food) we were discussing a day trip out there with friends to go stand next to the freezers lol.

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  1. Nice on you for paying attention and being quick to action. Someone needs to be the one responsible person in a group or crowd. They are normally the designated drivers too. We just moved to a home with a pool and we have three lessons a week in there…and we are still panicked. The youngest is nine though and my wife is the worst swimmer of the bunch. She still won’t go in without a jacket…even when she is in the shallow end. Great job!!!

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    1. Thanks, it is sad that more people don´t pay attention. The second home owners allowing their “kids” to bring their own kids in summer can be a royal pain in the ass for all of us. They have no respect for people who live here either. Some even come to “mummy and daddy´s” house and behave like they´re in Benidorm! We´re nowhere near the place. {But hey it´s Spain so lets get pissed all day, then have a nice loud argument, let the kids run wild, let the baby scream} etc etc. It´s so quiet here but all it takes is one or two wild family´s to shatter the peace and tranquility!!
      Anyway, have lots of fun in your pool, if ever you need a lifeguard, just let me know lol.

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