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Posted by Miguel ( on July 31, 2000 at 09:46:02: ridin' the damned board in good condtions is
called in the windsurfin' circles. However, a scarey moment
yesterday. A sudden lightning/rain storm came up out
of the blue, literally speaking. Wind was blowing the
wrong direction, so going back to origin was impossible.
Wind was so strong that I could not keep big sail up, at
least without more experience. Waves started to grow.
Man! It was a tight situation. Tried putting sail on
boad and swiming back...That didn't work...Waves were getting bigger and
taking me further and further from shore...No lifevest, and
already tired from "shedding" for the previous 5 hours,
thus no energy left... What do I do? What do I do? Nobody
could see me from the distance because of the thickness of
the rain, so signaling with my arms was useless. Well,
lay low on the rig so lightning doesn't hit me, and try not
to be tipped over by the waves. Await the storm strongest
part to pass hoping that his wasn't the last storm I ever
see. Keeping a cool head at this point was essential.
Initially, I tried to sail back, but the wind blew the sail
away with a strong gust. I had the big sail on (7.2) because
the winds were light early on. Sail landed right on me.
I used a lot of enegy fighting the sail, just like in the post below.
Then I remembered the post, don't fight, think! Found the mast
and followed it to the other side calmly (with my last
breath wearing out). Surfaced to a wave...swallowed a bit
of water, but held on to the mast to pull myself up.
Took the harness off and tied it to the boom. The rain slowed down.
The wind still blowing like a "mofo", and the waves just as big breaking
on the board. Keep [the storm] will pass too.
The rain slowed down enough for me to see the shore, while being
able to aim the board. I figured that if I headed in either direction
at an angle to wind and waves, with the sail sheeted-in loosely,
I might be able to hold the sail up in the strong winds,
and eventually reach the shore, even if 5 miles up the coast.
I used the last of my strength to raise
the sail, slowly and carefully not to get thrown
off the board away from it. Got the sail up and asumed
"the safe" position. Grebbed the mast with one hand
instead of the boom, and brabbed the boom
with the back hand. Held on to the boom loosely and without
sheeting-in much....just enough to get forward motion to
overcome the waves toward the shore. Slowly the winds
diminshed. Barely making headway toward shore, yet steadily,
the wind became more reasonable and the waves decreased
in size. The pal,s of my hands were on fire. I reached the shore 3 miles up
from my departure point, but alive! Pulled the rig off
of the water and gathered my thoughts. My hands were burning,
my back, shoulders and legs were almost exploding from
being so tight and used up. I was exhausted. Now, I do
not want to walk back and take this rig with me without
any strength left in me. I sat there wishing for a cigarette
to calm the nerves down. I began re-living the horrowing
experience. I thought...I will never windsurf again...
Then I thought - nonsene! I thought about CH for some damned
reason. I thought about my post below about not loosing
one's kool when in distress, even when staring at death
right in the eye. I did, kept my kewl and won my life back
away from the waters and storm.

CH is the same way. With every attack one thinks of the impossibility
of carrying life under these conditions. However, we
manage day in and day out. We "stick it out", and bear the pain. We
fight it and resist it, look for a solution and a cure.
We manage just to survive and await the next attack, while
hoping it doesn't happen at some crucial moment of our mondane
daily lives. That is the key, every moment is crucial.
No matter what, we always have something to do...something
to do that is far better than laying there, in the dark,
thrashing and howling among the waves of pain. Pain so
excruciating that our kewl, sense of selfrespect and integity
go out with every stab, with every pulse with every deliciously
long carving of our head's bones with a very dull knife
by this senseless ailment.

We don't give up. We try and face it every day. Unfortunately,
our desperate need to stop this ailment puts us at
a disadvantage. We, for some reason, expect a "magic bullet"
to take care of this pain instantly. Most disease
treatments take time, why should this be different? It hurts
like heck and we wish it to stop right now. Realistically,
it will not happen that way, and we know it. Even if it
did, it manages to come back....two hours from now, next week, two months from now,
two years from now....And we fight it again right then and there.

After I gathered a little of courage, and strength, I hopped on the board
again and sailed slowly but steadily back to my point of departure.
I figured that if I gave up right then and there, I would
never ride again. I got to my beach. I grabbed the board and sail
and pulled then to safe ground. I grabbed a cig, lit it up
and laid on to top of my savior board and sail, while
being eternally thankful for not allowing myself to give up,
and for the board to be there for me to hop onto safety.
Why did I hop on instead of letting go and slowly drowning
to the silence and depth of the waters? Without a sound, at least
that anyone could hear? Because it was challenge in which
the stakes were life, even with CH, it is life! I guess I fight
CH for life, for myself, for my existence to a better tomorrow.
Selfish? Yes, but far better than the alternative of a cowardly
end without a fight, without a sound, without a life...


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