Amanda Buse

How I Drowned & Lived to Tell About It - Part 2

About 9 months into my postdiluvian life, I found myself brushing my teeth and putting in contacts in the bathroom of the ER at my nearby hospital.  A nurse knocked on the door and said that my husband was asking to see me.  I rushed after her, thankful that at least he was still speaking.  Wasn't sure if I was going in to say goodbye to him for the last time or not.

You see, I very nearly became a widow about a week before our 1st wedding anniversary. 

I had been working from home back then, and our electricity went out one day. Since I had recently moved, I called my hubby to ask the name of our electric company in order to report the outage.  He answered that they already knew.  

He was the reason that the electricity had gone out.  

He had inadvertently touched the bucket of a hydraulic lift to some high tension power lines outside on his parents property.  Luckily, he was able to free himself from the controls of the lift after only being momentarily shocked. Not electrocuted.  

Thank God he hadn't been in the bucket of that lift. Thank you, dear God.  

He made it into a little, local newspaper though.  Always notorious, this one.

He also walked away with some nice entrance and exit wounds on his hands and feet where the electricity had flowed through his entire body.  

He didn't want to go to the hospital that day, of course. The paramedics convinced him otherwise when they said that his heart wasn't beating correctly.  He rode to the hospital in the ambulance, and I drove myself there.  Somehow.  Couldn't tell you how I got there.  No idea what roads I took.  

But I beat the ambulance to the hospital. 

We learned that avoiding electrocution is all a part of marriage that day. Oh, there have been other days when I have wanted to kill him. Clearly. But I am always glad that we both continue to survive.  

The doctors were able to shock his heart back into rhythm at the hospital. He has been doing great ever since. 

But I definitely felt like my heart had received a shock of its own.  

In the photo, there is a tractor which was attached to the high lift, and it burned completely to the ground from the constant stream of electricity. And the shock of it all felt like I was in that fire. 

Burning...Still drowning...

Still soaked, and now charred.  

And this is part 2 of MY STORY.  My unbelievable story of bizarre loss, shock, and trauma.  We'll get off this emotional roller coaster someday. I promise. The phoenix rising...that happens.  Out from the flooding and the fire.

But just not quite yet... 

Amanda Buse

How I Drowned & Lived to Tell About It - Part 1

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked in was the refrigerator.

My had floated.

Came to rest at quite an amusing angle. Who knew this appliance was so buoyant? Wasn't really very funny though. It felt as if the weight of that fridge were on my shoulders.

As I squished my way across the now chocolatey brown carpet that used to be white, I was in total shock. The water had risen the whole way up from the ground floor to a point higher than I am tall on the next floor. Even in my wildest and worst dreams, I couldn't have imagined that my house would ever look this way.

Or smell this bad.

The smell is something that I will never forget. A nice cross between gasoline and sewer. And it's in my living room. AND KITCHEN.

Something like fourteen or fifteen feet of creek water flowing through your home is nothing that you can imagine. Until you live it. Then it's difficult to forget. This is not the same water that comes out of your faucet. It's not clear and sparkling like a bubble bath overflowing. It's dark and sinister...and all consuming. This nasty flooding...

It flooded my whole being.

It was very overwhelming to take it all in. I had been there the night before it happened and it was eerily peaceful. Not a sign of what was yet to come. Looked pristine. Neighborhood was quiet and usual. One last good look around.

So many beautiful memories. This was the place where my husband and I first kissed, where we first said "I Love You," and where he proposed. The first place I really lived on my own after moving away from where I was raised. MY first real home. It was me, it represented me. All my dreams and aspirations.

And when it flooded, I drowned.

I felt my optimism slip away and shock took its place. Started going through life like a zombie. Definitely not among the living...

The next few weeks were spent tearing everything out in an attempt to allow the bare bones of the house to dry. Ripping out carpet and drywall, and hauling away appliances, cupboards, and furniture. It sounds fun to say that you're "looking at studs" except when it means bleached two by fours in the glow of your flashlight.

Flooding brings literal darkness in that the electric was still on when the water rose to the level of the breaker box in the garage. After that, there wasn't electricity for months.  Which makes it tricky to run dehumidifiers, or try to work in the evenings as the sun sets earlier and earlier.

All this brought me another kind of darkness. A whole new unwelcome darkness. A kind of sadness that try not to think about it.

There were other things you don't think of. Like the irony of how you don't have running water.

Over the next few months, we slowly rebuilt the house. It seemed so cold there. Not a place I wanted to be anymore. Even after we were able to restore power and get the furnace running (just in time for winter so the pipes didn't freeze), it was so cold.

And the cold stayed with me.

It would be a long time until it left. I don't even know if I realized at the time how much it took hold on me. Looking back I can see all of the ways that it manifested itself over the years.

And yet, this is not a pity party. It's not a 'woe is me' kinda story. Plenty of other people experienced these same things, especially in my neighborhood and other places in the town.

But it is part of MY STORY.

Which is a story of a phoenix rising. Except the flood is just Act I. We're not even near the part where the bird can fly yet. Hang in there with me. It's going to get worse before it gets better...