to be be be an be be be...

High Water

photo from, 

A stroll down memory lane....

Do you remember where you were in May of 1978?

I do and if you lived in the greater New Orleans area, May 3rd in 1978 would be a date that you might remember rather well. It was a day that had record rain fall amounts, over ten inches of rain in a very short time span.

In New Orleans that spells flooding. Living in an area that is below sea level, rain water needs to be pumped out of the streets and into our adjoining lakes. There always comes a time when the rain falls down faster than the pumps can remove the water and May 3rd was one of those days.

Why do I remember this day more than others you might ask? I was only twelve at the time, but I made some choices that would almost cost me my life.

It started simple enough as the story goes. The rain stopped and my friend Allen came by the house and wanted to know if I wanted to ride bikes. Silly question, of course I wanted to ride my bike and check out all the water that was still standing in the streets. Isn’t riding a bike through water filled streets the coolest thing to do? It sounded fun and I could not resist the temptation.

I don’t remember asking my parent’s permission. I just grabbed my bike and opened the gate and headed out with Allen. The missing and important information is that I left my shoes behind. Why would I want to ruin a pair of shoes? I mean, riding your bike through flooded streets, who would wear shoes to do that?

That failure or mistake would almost cost me my life. We made it only a few blocks away when the combination of the water height and my lack of balancing skills forced me to put my feet down on the street. The water was not crystal clear like you might find in the Bahamas, it in fact was murky and I did not see that I was placing my bare foot on. I can only assume I landed on a broken glass bottle. In fact I never did see what tore my foot open. I just felt this sharp pain and raised my leg to look at what had happened.

I would call it the pad of your foot, that area behind your toes. As I raised my foot up, that area of my foot was sliced open and a large portion of my skin was dangling barely attached. It wasn’t pretty to see and blood was pouring out. I had no idea what to do. I was crying I am sure and did not think that I could ride my bike back to my house. So I asked Allen to ride bike and let my parents know what had happened. I looked up and down the street hoping to find someone who might be able to help me. The street seemed deserted.

To my amazement, a few houses ahead on the right side, sat a woman on her porch. I made my way to her and she immediately knew something was wrong. Without hesitation she brought me into her house and her bathroom. There I sat down in her tub with my foot wrapped in a towel that was now covered in blood. With my foot wrapped, she called the hospital to get an ambulance to come get me. When she hung up the phone she applied some pressure on my leg and it seemed to limit the flow of blood that had been gushing from the cut.

I was rushed to Ochsner hospital, which thankfully was only a couple of blocks away. There lying on the examination table as the doctor began treating me I heard the words that have scared me ever since. “He might have died if that bleeding had not been stopped.” Those words haunted me, what if I wouldn’t have found that one lady sitting on her porch that day, would I have died?

But she was there and she did take care of me and of course, saved my life.

The road to recovery as I look back seemed to take all summer. I was stuck on the sofa for a period of time and I used crutches to take the weight off of my foot for a couple of weeks it seemed. Like anyone who has used crutches, they take some getting used, especially going down stairs. Needless to say, I learned the hard way about going down steps correctly…

But I managed and eventually made a full recovery from that fateful day. But I would have never guessed that this event would help shape my life. It would also challenge me in later years to come to a better understanding about life, my purpose in this life and God.

I will save that for part 2 of my stroll down memory lane