YEARS AGO, MY YOUNGEST BROTHER AND I ALMOST DROWNED TOGETHER. I’M THE ELDEST OF THREE BOYS. WE THREE WERE SWIMMING AT MY ADULT COUSINS’ APARTMENT COMPLEX’S POOL. NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY. OUR PARENTS, WHO HAD SENT US TO THE POOL, WERE VISITING MY COUSINS, UPSTAIRS, ABOUT 50 YARDS AWAY. I WAS ABOUT 9 YEARS OLD. MY TWO BROTHERS WERE 7 AND 6 YEARS OLD. THE YOUNGEST WOULD JUMP OFF THE SIDE INTO 8 FEET OF WATER, AND THEN FURIOUSLY DOGGY PADDLE BACK TO SAFETY. THIS WOULD WORK IF HE WERE MORE HORIZONTAL WHEN PADDLING, BUT THIS ONE TIME HE WAS BOBBING VERTICALLY. SO, DOG PADDLING ONLY MADE HIM BOB UP AND DOWN MORE VIGOROUSLY, SPLASHING WATER UP INTO HIS FACE. HE BECAME PANICKED. I SAW HIM AND JUMPED IN TO HELP. MY LOVING BROTHER GRABBED ME, CLIMBED ON TOP OF ME, PUSHING ME UNDER. I WAS LAUGHING, BUT INSTANTLY REALIZED THAT I DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH AIR. AS I SANK, WITH MY BROTHER HOLDING ONTO MY HEAD AND NECK, MY FEET HIT THE 8 FOOT BOTTOM, MAKING ME TEMPORARILY STABLE ENOUGH FOR MY BROTHER TO USE HIS FEET TO PUSH OFF MY SHOULDERS, AND PADDLE BACK TO SAFETY. A COUPLE OF IRONIES: MY PARENTS NEVER FOUND OUT THAT THEY ALMOST LOST 2 SONS THAT DAY, AND ALL THREE OF US BOYS GREW UP TO BE LIFEGUARDS.

Whether in water or in life, drowning people, even if they love you tremendously, can and will drag you down with them. They are dying. Your job, your goal, your DUTY, is to help them, without endangering or sacrificing yourself. Become a lifeguard: know dangerous areas and dangerous situations in and around you and yourContinue reading “YEARS AGO, MY YOUNGEST BROTHER AND I ALMOST DROWNED TOGETHER. I’M THE ELDEST OF THREE BOYS. WE THREE WERE SWIMMING AT MY ADULT COUSINS’ APARTMENT COMPLEX’S POOL. NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY. OUR PARENTS, WHO HAD SENT US TO THE POOL, WERE VISITING MY COUSINS, UPSTAIRS, ABOUT 50 YARDS AWAY. I WAS ABOUT 9 YEARS OLD. MY TWO BROTHERS WERE 7 AND 6 YEARS OLD. THE YOUNGEST WOULD JUMP OFF THE SIDE INTO 8 FEET OF WATER, AND THEN FURIOUSLY DOGGY PADDLE BACK TO SAFETY. THIS WOULD WORK IF HE WERE MORE HORIZONTAL WHEN PADDLING, BUT THIS ONE TIME HE WAS BOBBING VERTICALLY. SO, DOG PADDLING ONLY MADE HIM BOB UP AND DOWN MORE VIGOROUSLY, SPLASHING WATER UP INTO HIS FACE. HE BECAME PANICKED. I SAW HIM AND JUMPED IN TO HELP. MY LOVING BROTHER GRABBED ME, CLIMBED ON TOP OF ME, PUSHING ME UNDER. I WAS LAUGHING, BUT INSTANTLY REALIZED THAT I DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH AIR. AS I SANK, WITH MY BROTHER HOLDING ONTO MY HEAD AND NECK, MY FEET HIT THE 8 FOOT BOTTOM, MAKING ME TEMPORARILY STABLE ENOUGH FOR MY BROTHER TO USE HIS FEET TO PUSH OFF MY SHOULDERS, AND PADDLE BACK TO SAFETY. A COUPLE OF IRONIES: MY PARENTS NEVER FOUND OUT THAT THEY ALMOST LOST 2 SONS THAT DAY, AND ALL THREE OF US BOYS GREW UP TO BE LIFEGUARDS.”

ONE OF THE MORE FRUSTRATING ASPECTS OF CARING IS THAT YOU TRY TO NOTICE AND TO HELP OTHERS WHO SEEM TO BE DROWNING, BUT, WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN,OTHERS DO NOT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO DO THE SAME FOR YOU.

Charles Tadros, M.D. July 13, 2021 Saint Louis, Missouri