Back in May, someone from Variety, the Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, reached out to us. We have long been involved with their events — ever since we attended a movie and holiday party in 2013. They wanted to invite us to a charity event at the Grand Geneva resort. As a featured Variety family, we would speak to their donors and sponsors.
The charity event was on a Monday, so we had our choice of which night we would stay: Sunday to Monday, or Monday to Tuesday. Since our stay also included passes to a water park, we thought we’d take full advantage of the weekend and head down early on Sunday. It did not go at all how we thought.
Paul hurt his back
I’m breaking with the first-person for a moment to make it clear that it was me, not Namine or Jessica, that got hurt. By this point, I’ve repeated this story several times: to water park staff, to EMTs, and of course to Jessica. I’ll tell it one more time here.
The water park had, as many now do, a zero-clearance area. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means that instead of stairs or a ladder, you can enter the water like you would at a beach.) Namine parked by the water, where I helped her climb down. She started to crawl, but the pavement was hurting her leg, so she asked me to pick her up and put her in a little deeper water.
When I picked Namine up, I felt a twinge in my back. It wasn’t painful, but I immediately knew something was wrong. I set Namine down and sat down in the water. My vision started to, for lack of a better word, black out. But it was gradual, and more akin to looking at a TV with grainy reception. I felt like I was straining to see through static.
Namine did her best to keep me talking, but I must have lost consciousness at some point. The next thing I knew, a man was tapping me on the shoulder, asking me if I was all right. Talking also felt difficult, but I understood him, so I shook my head.
While this was all happening, the same man went to Jessica and said, “I’m not sure your husband is okay.” We are eternally grateful for Richard and his family. While Jessica was on the phone trying to reach emergency services, they helped Namine back into her wheelchair and kept an eye on her — but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Sitting in the water, my vision slowly came back. I realized that a couple water park lifeguards stood close by. While I was unconscious, Jessica had flagged them down. Seeing that I was once again able to hold conversation, one approached me and asked me some questions. The EMTs arrived a little later, and they asked me the same questions plus several more.
The EMTs determined that I was dehydrated, more than anything else. They did not take me to the hospital, but instructed me to rest and take plenty of fluids. My back still hurts — even now, typing this out — and I have a couple doctor appointments still in the near future.
As far as telling you what happened to me, that story is done. But there is one more thing I have to say on the matter, and that is how very proud I am of Namine and how she behaved during my crisis. She never left my side (and in fact said it was weird how my eyes never closed), staying by me to make sure I didn’t fall in the water. I am honored to be the father of such a loving and compassionate young lady.
That evening, the resort set off fireworks. (This happens every Sunday evening, apparently.) We were in our room relaxing (mostly for my sake; had we been able, we’d have gone back to the water park after dinner) when we heard their booming start. Our room looked straight out over the lake, which gave us a perfect view of the fireworks.
For the past several years, we have not gone to the Fourth of July fireworks. Namine has complained too many times how the reverberations hurt her chest. Even at Disney World, we made sure we were far enough away so that she could see them, but not feel them.
That was, with no added effort on our part, exactly where we were in our room. We opened the sliding door to our patio, where we were able to go out and enjoy the view.