Near death and my prayers were answered

In July of 2014, I was more scared for my life than I had ever been before. My boyfriend and I were on a road trip with my grandparents. We had decided to walk from the RV to the beach, which was less than half a mile. The previous day, a riptide had carried a teenager out to sea. They still hadn’t been found by the time we decided to embark on our adventure.

A riptide carried me out on Carolina beach and my significant other (We’ll call him Sig) nearly drowned trying to save me. We had gone to the beach for the weekend with my grandparents and Sig decided we needed to walk the 2 minutes to the beach while my grandparents rested from the long drive.

We walked to the beach and secured our clothes and towel onto the wooden pier off the boardwalk, tying them onto a beam so they wouldn’t hit the sand. We decided to get in the water up to our shoulders, no further. Two teenagers had gone missing the day before after a riptide drug them out to sea. I joked with Sig, saying it would be horrible if we shared their fate. Sig insured me that this couldn’t happen during high tide when the waves push you towards the beach. We saw the lifeguard riding past on a four wheeler, patrolling the beach. He passed by about every 5 minutes or so.

That’s when it hit us… A huge wave knocked my sunglasses off, which I surprisingly caught with my other hand. Sig’s glasses flew from his face and he luckily managed to catch them as well. After doing a few flips underwater, I resurfaced. To my dismay, I realized that I could no longer stand on my feet. The sand was no longer accessible to my toes. We laughed nervously and began paddling towards the shore. Another wave hit, pulling us under and even further out. I started to get a stitch in my side from holding my breath while being pulled under repeatedly. I have never been a good swimmer and my decreased lung capacity was not helping.

I looked at Sig, fear apparent on my face, and told him I couldn’t make it to shore. He chuckled briefly before a look of horror began to creep onto his face. He realized that I was not joking and he thought I was going to drown. I yelled at him to swim towards shore and get help, otherwise we were both going to drown. I could see him hesitate, trying to determine if he would lose me forever if he left me. I knew he wouldn’t be able to make it with me slowing him down, so I told him to go because it was our only chance. Sig began to panic and tried to swim against the current. I couldn’t use my arms to swim anymore, so I decided to flip onto my back and float.

A few waves hit me as I tried to catch my breath, an anxiety attack was about to hit and I couldn’t breathe. I was crying now, lifting my head up to look at the beach. Sig was far away and looked like a slightly bigger ant than the people on the beach. The waves weren’t carrying me under anymore, but I still couldn’t breathe and I was being dragged out further than I have ever been before. I prayed for the first time in a long time, floating on my back, asking God for our lives to be saved. Promising to be a better person for myself, Sig, and my family if we survived. Sig’s frantic screams for help floated back to me on the wind. I finished my prayer while looking up at the sky. “I’m going to die,” I kept thinking. “I’m going to die and drown alone at sea.” I hate the ocean, why was I even out there?

Oddly enough, I heard screams of relief shortly after this and a bystander was able to get Sig back to shore. Later he would tell me that the white Coca-Cola visor I had given him had saved us. He had been frantically waving it with his arms and someone finally noticed. The man swam out to save Sig on his boogie-board. I had drifted down the beach and hearing him getting saved gave me strength and hope . I flipped over and frantically started paddling towards the lifeguard that was paddling towards me. When he finally reached me, I collapsed. I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I was exhausted, breathing hard, and wide-eyed panic was evident on my face.

I staggered towards Sig at the beach, three medics assessing him. I told the medic I was a nurse, I was fine and was just beginning to have a panic attack. They gave me oxygen, Sig was still being assessed. His oxygen was low, he swallowed too much water. He was hypothermic (low temperature) and needed to go to the hospital. I rode in the front of the ambulance, glad that they would notify my grandparents and allow me to ride with them, as this was usually prohibited. I felt sick, but I was fine overall. Scared, but fine.

Sig was hospitalized overnight due to the amount of salt water he inhaled. Salt water inhalation can dehydrate you and make your lungs collapse on themselves as water is pulled into the lungs to get rid of the salt. They put a warming blanket on him, gave him medication to help him cough up the salt water, and gave him warmed fluids to raise his core temperature. He saved my life and without him, I would be dead. There is no way that debt can ever be repaid. I hate the beach, more so than before.

We went back the next day to see if our clothes and his glasses were still there. Someone had set them up on the beach, the towels positioned around his stuff. It looked like a memorial in case he didn’t make it, but luckily he did. I wish I knew the name of the person that saved his life in order to thank them. Unfortunately, I will never know. I am forever grateful to him for saving us both.

Now, I never really believed in God, but so many little things went right that led to our survival…. So I’m blessed even though I can’t always see it…

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Near Death… And My Prayers Were Answered

In July of 2014, I was more scared for my life than I had ever been before. My boyfriend and I were on a road trip with my grandparents. We had decided to walk from the RV to the beach, which was less than half a mile. The previous day, a riptide had carried a teenager out to sea. They still hadn’t been found by the time we decided to embark on our adventure.

A riptide carried me out on Carolina beach and my significant other (We’ll call him Sig) nearly drowned trying to save me. We had gone to the beach for the weekend with my grandparents and Sig decided we needed to walk the 2 minutes to the beach while my grandparents rested from the long drive.

We walked to the beach and secured our clothes and towel onto the wooden pier off the boardwalk, tying them onto a beam so they wouldn’t hit the sand. We decided to get in the water up to our shoulders, no further. Two teenagers had gone missing the day before after a riptide drug them out to sea. I joked with Sig, saying it would be horrible if we shared their fate. Sig insured me that this couldn’t happen during high tide when the waves push you towards the beach. We saw the lifeguard riding past on a four wheeler, patrolling the beach. He passed by about every 5 minutes or so.

That’s when it hit us… A huge wave knocked my sunglasses off, which I surprisingly caught with my other hand. Sig’s glasses flew from his face and he luckily managed to catch them as well. After doing a few flips underwater, I resurfaced. To my dismay, I realized that I could no longer stand on my feet. The sand was no longer accessible to my toes. We laughed nervously and began paddling towards the shore. Another wave hit, pulling us under and even further out. I started to get a stitch in my side from holding my breath while being pulled under repeatedly. I have never been a good swimmer and my decreased lung capacity was not helping.

I looked at Sig, fear apparent on my face, and told him I couldn’t make it to shore. He chuckled briefly before a look of horror began to creep onto his face. He realized that I was not joking and he thought I was going to drown. I yelled at him to swim towards shore and get help, otherwise we were both going to drown. I could see him hesitate, trying to determine if he would lose me forever if he left me. I knew he wouldn’t be able to make it with me slowing him down, so I told him to go because it was our only chance. Sig began to panic and tried to swim against the current. I couldn’t use my arms to swim anymore, so I decided to flip onto my back and float.

A few waves hit me as I tried to catch my breath, an anxiety attack was about to hit and I couldn’t breathe. I was crying now, lifting my head up to look at the beach. Sig was far away and looked like a slightly bigger ant than the people on the beach. The waves weren’t carrying me under anymore, but I still couldn’t breathe and I was being dragged out further than I have ever been before. I prayed for the first time in a long time, floating on my back, asking God for our lives to be saved. Promising to be a better person for myself, Sig, and my family if we survived. Sig’s frantic screams for help floated back to me on the wind. I finished my prayer while looking up at the sky. “I’m going to die,” I kept thinking. “I’m going to die and drown alone at sea.” I hate the ocean, why was I even out there?

Oddly enough, I heard screams of relief shortly after this and a bystander was able to get Sig back to shore. Later he would tell me that the white Coca-Cola visor I had given him had saved us. He had been frantically waving it with his arms and someone finally noticed. The man swam out to save Sig on his boogie-board. I had drifted down the beach and hearing him getting saved gave me strength and hope . I flipped over and frantically started paddling towards the lifeguard that was paddling towards me. When he finally reached me, I collapsed. I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I was exhausted, breathing hard, and wide-eyed panic was evident on my face.

I staggered towards Sig at the beach, three medics assessing him. I told the medic I was a nurse, I was fine and was just beginning to have a panic attack. They gave me oxygen, Sig was still being assessed. His oxygen was low, he swallowed too much water. He was hypothermic (low temperature) and needed to go to the hospital. I rode in the front of the ambulance, glad that they would notify my grandparents and allow me to ride with them, as this was usually prohibited. I felt sick, but I was fine overall. Scared, but fine.

Sig was hospitalized overnight due to the amount of salt water he inhaled. Salt water inhalation can dehydrate you and make your lungs collapse on themselves as water is pulled into the lungs to get rid of the salt. They put a warming blanket on him, gave him medication to help him cough up the salt water, and gave him warmed fluids to raise his core temperature. He saved my life and without him, I would be dead. There is no way that debt can ever be repaid. I hate the beach, more so than before.

We went back the next day to see if our clothes and his glasses were still there. Someone had set them up on the beach, the towels positioned around his stuff. It looked like a memorial in case he didn’t make it, but luckily he did. I wish I knew the name of the person that saved his life in order to thank them. Unfortunately, I will never know. I am forever grateful to him for saving us both.

Now, I never really believed in God, but so many little things went right that led to our survival…. So I’m blessed even though I can’t always see it…

A Governor’s Relative: My Story of Sexual Harassment

Some men believe that women are there for their pleasure. This was obviously the case with Robert Kemp.

My friend and I had decided to go to a bowling place that had a bar, game area, and darts. We had just started our game and ordered a few drinks when two gentlemen approached the lane next to us. We had been sitting on the incorrect side of the table, so we apologized and migrated everything.

The older gentleman was significantly overweight, but wasn’t ashamed of his body, as I would find out later that night. He had brought his drink from the bar and was obviously tipsy at this point. He introduced himself as Robert Kemp and I immediately recognized the last name. “Kemp? Are you related to the Secretary of State?” I asked. He said he was and proceeded to pull out his license. “You don’t believe me?” he said, pushing his license towards me. “See, my last name is right here!”

The other man, let’s call him Raul, introduced himself as the son of Mr. Kemp’s girlfriend. He had recently come to America on a student visa.

Mr. Kemp asked if my friend and I were dating. I told him I was married to someone else, but that he was always working and could never go out. My friend and I wanted to get out of the house and do something fun. As the night progressed, Mr. Kemp bought everyone three rounds of drinks.

As you all know, I was an RN for 4 years. I had some bad things happen in my personal life and I made some bad choices, leading to drug addiction and self-harm. I ended up voluntarily surrendering my nursing license in order to avoid having it seized from me, as I did not have the money to pay for the ordered psychiatric evaluation and treatment. I had just given up in general. I told him I was just starting to get my life together and wanted to know the process for me to get my license back, if I even could. I wondered if he could ask his relative, Brian Kemp, the process to get my license back if I were to comply with all orders. He told me he would see what he could do.

He sat down next to me, put his arm on the back of the bench, and leaned close enough for me to feel his breath on my neck. He told me that his girlfriend was saving herself for marriage and that he was sexually frustrated. He asked if I would consider helping him out for $200. My face was turned away from his and my eyes met those of my friend. He had a concerned, angry look on his face and my look of amused shock didn’t help. I told him I had never done anything like that before, but a friend of mine had in the past. I stood up and went to bowl.

Now, amused shock is not a bad thing. I was shocked that this man believed his approach would work with a random woman he barely knew just because she MIGHT be able to get help from him.

When I sat back down, he was bowling. I sat there and debated whether or not I should put him in his place or play along until we left. I decided on the latter because obviously the “No, I’m married” approach wasn’t working. He had increased the amount from $200 to $300 to try to convince me. “Not even for sex,” he said. “Just a blowjob.”

He bowls a strike and proceeds to take his shirt off and swing it around his head as he dances. His extra weight jiggling like jello.

At one point he asks me “Is your husband okay with you hanging out with your negro friend?” My friend hears him and gets a shocked, angry look on his face. I told him that my husband knows I have friends and that he doesn’t care what they look like. I walk up to bowl and try to process the stupidity of this man. He’s making passes at a girl IN FRONT of his girlfriend’s son.

He asks if he can give me his number, takes my phone, and saves himself in my phone as “Mr Irresistible.” I tell him that I’ll contact him later in the week and he goes to pay.

At this point, I talk to Raul and tell him that his mom needs to leave this man because he’s trying to mess with a younger girl in front of his girlfriend’s son. I get his number so we can talk later and he goes to meet Mr. Kemp. I tell me friend everything that happened and he starts to charge off towards the direction Mr. Kemp went in. I tell him it isn’t worth it and that we don’t want to cause any issues for ourselves. He reluctantly let him leave without a scratch.

I sent a message to Brian Kemp’s website saying I needed to talk to him about what a family member was doing in “his name,” but no one ever responded. This was before the election for Governor. I hope the sleazy douchebag hasn’t propositioned anyone else, but I feel like it is something that needs to be discussed.

Raul did text me about a month later and said his mother had left Mr.Kemp after he told her everything he had done at the bowling alley. I felt like I had done some good by ridding her of this fool.

What should be done about this man?

Should the Governor even address the issue? Is it his responsibility?

Is this even considered sexual harassment?

I don’t think anything will ever happen, but at least I could share my story. Don’t believe all the promises men make to get you to put it. Luckily, I wasn’t naive enough to think he could help me and even if he could, my body is not a trading card.

My Butterfly Effect

So, today I created havoc with the butterfly effect caused by my actions.

I go up to the counter at the gas station to buy cigarettes and a SoBe green tea. Apparently, I grabbed the wrong card. So the transaction declines and I leave the drink on the counter while I drove back to the house to get the correct card.

Upon my return:

“When you leave, I think you take the drink.”

“Oh no, I didn’t…”

“I know, let me tell you… This guy come in after you leave and he fight with his girlfriend. He get mad and throw bottle over her head at door. He pay me $2 for the drink before he go, so it okay.”

He smiled at me and we laughed while I apologized for creating chaos. It was only amusing because no one got hurt.

How did I spiral so far down?

Sometimes I sit here and wonder how I let it go sometimes. By “it,” I mean my life. Who I was, am, and could be. Each one so drastically distant from the other.

I have heard that the most intelligent people tend to fail because they self-medicate. That was true after I was sexually assaulted. I went from alcohol and weed to cocaine to pain pills to herion over a 5 year period because every time my brain was sober, I started having panic attacks in public. Analyzing every look to make sure no one would hurt me again. So instead, I just hurt myself. I knew what I was doing was stupid. I started to lose myself and I didn’t care if I died or not. I just wanted my pain to end. Now that I’m sober, pain is normal. I try to deal with it the best way possible, but I definitely need medication and a job with insurance to see a doctor.

Who I was: An A/B student. Honor Roll. Smart girl involved in many activities: Choir. Band Flutist. Debate Club. German Club. Girl Scout. Volunteer.  College graduate. Many different career paths: Manager at 17 years old. Nanny for 2 years. Registered Nurse for 5 years.

Who I am: Unhappy Soon-to-be-ex-wife. Unemployed and desperately looking for a job. Recovering drug addict. Rape victim. Childless and nearly hitting 30 years old. Individual suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Insomnia.

Who I want to be in the future: Mostly unknown. CEO of a non-profit organization for the homeless? Therapist? Restaurant/coffee shop owner?

I don’t even know what I can do or want to do half the time.

My Dog

Lucy

My dog and I shared an awesome moment together today. She usually doesn’t go for fruit, so I usually don’t offer it to her. But we shared a frozen mango fruit pop. She kept spitting it out because it was too cold, but I’d pick it up and hold it out each time she dropped it. She’d take it from my hand carefully and chew on it until all the ice finally melted and then she would eat the uncovered mango chunks whole. I realized my natural eating and wellness binge will need to include fresh fruits to combat my crazy sweet tooth. I’m going to have to be creative.

Homelessness… And My Ideas to Reduce the Numbers

We have many different crises happening in the United States. Homelessness is one that is evident driving through any major city. At most exit off-ramps in Atlanta, there will be someone holding a sign. At every major road that has woods under a bridge, you will see people sleeping with their possessions or make-shift tents in the trees with clothes they washed in a nearby stream or local bathroom drying on wire hanging between the trees.

My experience working as a Registered Nurse for Grady Memorial Hospital, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and Devereux Foundation Georgia has shown me that people from all walks of life can end up homeless. Someone with a Bachelors degree, or even a Masters degree, can end up sleeping on the streets because they decided that they were prescribed too many painkillers and developed an addiction or because they drank in order to stop the flashbacks of war. They made a mistake and instead of getting help, they get dirty looks and judgements. Some people are children and young adults that didn’t have any choice in the matter. Their parent lost the place they were staying at, so now the whole family ends up on the street.

According to the January 2017 Point-in-Time count by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, it is estimated that there are AT A MINIMUM 553,742 homeless individuals in the US. It’s impossible to have an accurate count as the surveyors would not come across every homeless individual during their “census.” 33.3% (or 184,661) of these individuals were people in families.

I have been working on an idea for a homeless outreach initiative. It would provide a place where homeless individuals could sign up to be on the registry. Doing so would allow them to get an ID that would allow them access to the facility as well as get them discounts at partner facilities. The organization could partner with other organizations and use the ID to get rooms at homeless shelters. If at all possible, the ID would be the same as the non-driver’s license ID issued by the government. It could have the name, DOB, organ donor status, and emergency contact information.

Becoming a registered member would give you one of the jackets I designed. The jacket would have a map and map key, showing all the local homeless shelters, resources, and kitchens that are available for the homeless. That way, they will know what the address/phone numbers are without having to carry around a paper that can be easily lost.

This would allow them to receive a PO BOX in order to get a license, replacement social security card, apply for foodstamps or medicaid, and allow them to receive mail, which is important. There could also be a shower and laundry facility. By improving the hygiene of the homeless population, we could decrease costly hospital admissions. I wanted the facility to have a computer lab where homeless individuals could be taught computer skills, assisted with applying for jobs and benefits, and have the option to read and learn other materials. It would also have a shuttle service route of about 3 buses taking people to shelters, places for mental health/medical treatment, and soup kitchens.

The organization could also partner with some local business to get the food waste at the end of the day. At Starbucks, they would throw out enough food to feed 20-30 people per night. If we had programs that would reimburse some of the food costs when businesses donated their leftover food, the homeless and the businesses would both benefit extremely.

I really wish I could create my own non-profit and make this my life’s work, but I don’t know how to create a business plan. So my next step is to find a job at a non-profit, learn all I can, and hope that one day, I can make  a difference.