These past six months I've been learning to surf and I believed myself confident enough to say that I had graduated from beginner to novice. Until the incident occurred where I sent myself to the hospital with gut wrenching abdominal pain.
Now let me try to set the scene a little.
I surf a beautifully handmade, hand shaped 9'6" Chris Brock long board which has been designed to be thick, heavy and was glassed twice, 'the boat' is often what I refer to it as. It is big and It is heavy.
Just days before my birthday I paddled into the surf and sat between two rocky outcrops in the water. The waves weren't big maybe 1 to 2 foot and if you sit just inside of the first rock you can get a nice right hand wave going across into a little bay.
I had only just got out into the surf when I saw this wave coming and choose to paddle for it. Having drifted too far down the beach with the current I was now sitting in the wrong spot (remember I am still learning to surf) but something inside me compelled me to paddle for this wave and it wasn't one of my smartest choices, I literally made every single learner mistake and paid heavily for it, for the people watching me on the beach they wouldn't be wrong in thinking I hadn't surfed Once in my life.
The wave I paddled for broke right on top of me (oh shit, I've thought moments before realising I had fucked up) and I held on for dear life to the surfboard, (there is a list of mistakes I made in this instance that in hindsight I could of prevented them from occurring, isn't hindsight a bitch.) with the impact of the wave I was thrown up out of the water and the board nosedived beneath me into the sand bank and as I've come back down I landed upon the tail end of the surfboard and the board propelled with full force hit me right across my lower stomach and I was thrown back again into the water.
It hurt instantly and after gurgling beneath the surface of the water (particularly after a bad dump feels like forever), I finally emerge gasping for breath I spent a lot of time just floating in a rip and holding onto the side of my surfboard taking into account everything that had just occurred and feeling dazed, embarrassed and sore.
I paddled back onto the beach after my husband had yelled at me to get on the board and out of the rip and stopped to talk to chat about my wipe out, exhausted I lay down for a long time and tried to rest my injury. Trying to deny the feeling it was quite serious and shaking off the suggestions to go home or to the hospital, I was embarrassed and felt defeated how could I have fucked it up so badly. At one stage I even got up and managed to paddled back out into the surf for ten unproductive minutes trying to shake off the pain, embarrassment and the feeling I needed to seek medical assistance.
I left the beach with my husband and children lying down in the front passenger seat of our car holding onto anything whilst groaning and agonising in pain and discomfort, My husband drove as fast safely home whilst our kids were unusually silent, even passing the local hospital (Living in a coastal town, our local hospital is only limited in it's capabilities to help), I just wanted to get home and kept denying the fact this could be more serious then something a few endone's and lie down in bed couldn’t solve.
At home I managed to get out of the car and into bed without passing out or falling over in agony and my husband gave me a few of his strongest pain medication to help with the abdominal pain, or so we hoped.
I lay in bed for up to four hours in between bouts of sleep and various self medication with wheat bags and strong pain medication, nothing was working and the pain continued to grow stronger, it begun to feel worse then the contractions experienced through labour.
It was time to act and get to the hospital. I was weak, I had thrown up, I began to shake uncontrollably and my eyes kept rolling back into my head, standing up for that short walk to the car was one of the most difficult things I've had to do. Like I said I was weak and couldn't fathom the energy required to walk, I sat trying to rest almost passing out.
I was admitted into our local hospital system, sitting in a wheel chair, sitting in general was painful and uncomfortable and shortly bought into emergency and given a large dosage of morphine and a saline drop, as my heart rate kept dropping and I was barely conscious to my surroundings, still shaking uncontrollably.
It's a strange feeling to be so unaware and out of control of the situation occurring over your self and body, you are present to the situation but only like a ghost watching yourself at a distance.
Cutting quite a long conclusion short, the nurse and doctors thought I might have ruptured either my spleen or kidney and I needed to be admitted into the mater hospital for scans and further testing and possible operations, transferred by ambulance an hour into the city, the pain had really decreased from a rating of 11/10 initially to 5/10 and decreasing.
After hospital admissions and much excruciating pain I had only badly bruised my abdominal area (thankfully, it could of been so much more serious) and was cleared to leave the hospital the following morning. Still weak and very sore I spent upwards of a few days laying in bed sleeping and watching movies lying down didn't exhaust me the way standing and sitting did initially.
After two weeks of healing I did get back out into the surf and am continuing to still learn to surf, I am determined to get this sport, Just because I fell off doesn’t mean I give up. Though I'm still making mistakes and am frustrated often by the same issues I continue to have, even sometimes thinking to myself (I won't get this, I don't want to do this, I should stop) I won't quit there is no satisfaction in giving up, when I am so much closer to getting it with every surf.
It might take me longer then it may take someone else, but I will continue to learn and surf and make mistakes and one day I will graduate from novice to surfer... bruises and all.