Thursday, September 8, 2011

The backstory....

This story is about my friend John. He has many traits but I am going to focus for now on his grit.

On September 3, 2011, John swam an event called the Maui Channel swim. He swam it solo (most folks swim it as part of a relay). It is roughly 10 miles going across the channel from Lanai to Maui in Hawaii. He completed the event with one of his swim buddies Mike. They did it in roughly 6 hours and 15 minutes in some very rough conditions. John likes to talk about the fact that they did not come in DFL (dead f'in last). I have yet to see the official results, but it would appear that John and Mike beat many of the relay teams! They really kicked some butt out there!

This had been a goal/dream of John's for over a year and for a year, he trained and trained. Not only did he put in a ton of time but he liked to make it even harder on himself by how he trained. Most open water athletes up in our neck of the woods (San Francisco Bay Area) don't even dare going into the water without a wetsuit. John on the other hand, decided that he wanted to be part of the tough folk gang that swim in an ocean that hovers around 50-55 degrees in just his speedo, a swimcap and some goggles. John truly has grit in his character.

So why call this blog lifeafter615? Well, an event occurred at the very end of the swim, that is going to call up every bit of grit John has. His life is forever changed by his swim (finished in 615) and what happened at the end. Two hundred or so yards from the finish line of this swim, in an area that was supposed to be free of boats, John got hit by a boat. John suffered great trauma to his right arm and left forearm/wrist, including loosing his left thumb and pointer finger from the prop on the boat. He had a super fast rescue performed on him and at the hospital he underwent surgery. The surgeon was unable to save John's right arm and it was amputated just above his right elbow. The surgeon put John's left arm back together as best he could and in the end, John would have a broken wrist, pins/plates/screws holding his left forearm, wrist and hand together, and lots of "wound" that would need to heal. John's left thumb and pointer finger are now part of the great ocean that he loves to swim in.

So, John now has a new challenge in life, one that began after 615.....

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