Sucked Into a Drainpipe

One April day my dad, my uncle Randy, my cousin Jacob, and I went to the wildlife refuge near Needles, California. The Colorado River feeds the wildlife refuge through large irrigation tubes.

My dad and uncle were jumping off a platform and swimming into what my dad thought was a cove off of the river. My cousin and I were playing on the sandy beach.

Dad had no idea that there could be danger nearby.

Suddenly Uncle Randy called out, “Brother, I think your boy just went under!”

“What do you mean, he went under? This is a cove with a beach.”

“Well, he went under, and I haven’t seen him come up,” replied my uncle.

I had indeed waded too far and ended up in the deep water. So my dad dove down and swam around, trying to find me. Instead, he found a three-foot wide irrigation tube pulling water from the river into the wildlife refuge.

Dad’s first thought was to go in after me, but hearing a voice tell him “Stop!” he stuck out his hands and latched on to the rim of the tube. The current nearly sucked him in, but he pulled himself away and came to the surface.

“Go to the other side!” he cried out to Uncle Randy.

The other side? Fighting panic, my dad, who had grown up near Los Angeles, California, suddenly had a familiar picture in his mind of an underground canal system where one entrance leads to several channels. But which direction could the tube possibly be leading? With a horrible feeling he realized that he didn’t know of any other side or exit.

Dashing toward the truck, he and my uncle hopped in and began to drive for help, as it was impossible to guess which way the tube was going.

Suddenly, Uncle Randy caught a glimpse of something. “Brother, there’s a ditch over there!” he cried out.

My dad slammed the truck in park and ran toward the little glimmer of hope. He saw the end of the tube gushing water and quickly scanned the length of the rocky ditch. Finally he spotted me far down the ditch, lying face down on a sandbar under three feet of water.

Dad ran down into the ditch and quickly grabbed me, then lifted me up to my waiting uncle. I was pale, and my dad quickly began chest compressions on me. Uncle Randy reminded him to also breathe into me, which in his panic he’d forgotten to do.

After several attempts with no results, my dad finally decided that it was time to stop trying to do things in his own power. Laying his hands over me, my father prayed that God would give the breath of life back to me. After a couple more attempts at CPR, he suddenly saw my skin go from white to blue. Seeing this as a positive sign, he thanked God for answering his prayer.

The paramedics soon arrived, and I was airlifted to a Phoenix-area hospital. I was in a coma. The doctors told my dad that if I had been under water for seven minutes and survived, chances were great that I would have severe brain damage. The seriousness of the situation weighed heavily on my dad, but his faith in God was strong.

After many promptings, Dad was led away to get some sleep. He tried, but every time he shut his eyes, he would picture me in the water and wake up. He finally couldn’t take the pressure of not knowing my real condition. He had to check on me and find out if I was going to be OK.

As Dad walked through the door of my room, I suddenly woke up and looked at him, wondering where I was.

“Everything is going to be OK,” Dad said softly to me. My nose and mouth were full of tubes and wires, and my wrists were secured to the bed. I had no idea what was going on. My dad wanted to test me and see if I really was brain damaged. I couldn’t talk because of the tubes, but since he had taught me sign language when I was 3, he asked me, “Son, can you show Daddy an ‘A’?”

I showed him two A’s with my tied-down hands. Next he asked, “Can you show me a ’B’? I showed him two B’s, and so on, until he finally called a nurse to go get a doctor.

When the doctor came, Dad asked him about me. The doctor reminded my father that I was going to have severe brain damage. So Dad had me show the doctor the alphabet and told him, “That’s sign language!”

“Yes!” said the doctor, with a sigh of relief. Quickly, however, the doctor regained his composure and told my dad that it didn’t prove that I still wouldn’t have brain damage.

Well, that incident happened several years ago, and here I am 16 years old. I’m alive and well and thankful to God for giving me another chance at life. The doctors said I should have died or had terrible brain damage, and yet, well, I’m just as smart as any other student! I give God all the glory  for my survival.

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Sucked Into a Drainpipe

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