Posted on November 15, 2007
Aaron’s Shark Attack!
Okay everyone, here it is in all it’s gory goodness… THE SHARK ATTACK BLOG!!!!
But before I get to all the bloody stuff, I’m going to bore you with some vacation photos…
Day 1: Arrive in Maui and party!
This picture is scary because of the foreshadowing, Here we are at the Four Seasons on our first day in Hawaii. We decided to have drinks at the Four Seasons while we were waiting to check into our condo…
Crazy foreshadowing… right behind my right shoulder (your left) is where Aaron would be attacked by a shark two days later!
Day 2: My cousins took us out on their boat to swim with the turtles.
Later on Aaron would say that this day made his shark bite all worth it. He would have gotten attacked all over again just to be able to have the amazing experiences we did this day.
That evening Aaron and I drove around the island and visited several beaches…
DAY 3: the day that changed our lives.
Over breakfast Aaron let me know that if we didn’t spend that day at the beach he was going to loose his mind. He said he was tired of just going out to lunch and wandering around the island, “he land is here to sleep on at night, the rest of the time we should be in the water” were his actual words.
I always like to go to the Four Seasons beach to start off the trip. We went to that beach that the last time Aaron was on Maui, so we decided to go there again, and oh how our lives would change because of that. I still feel guilty about it some times since it was my idea.
I have no picture of the fun times on the beach, I was mostly reading my book and occasionally looking up to check and see if Aaron was still alive. And yes, I did that even before the attack. He spends hours in the water and I was afraid that he would drown or something someday and I would loose him to the ocean. So I made it a habit to look up every now and then and make sure I could see his head surface. It always did, thank god.
I just happened to be watching him for longer than usual when it happened. I saw him jolt upright from floating on his back and look around. I wondered why he was acting so spazzy. The reason was this- Aaron had just felt a harsh bump against his leg, sorta felt like he had hit one of the rocks nearby. He glanced around the water and saw a “big grey thing, kinda like an upside down canoe.” I still shudder when I think of that description. He said, whatever it was was big. Then it was out of sight. It took a minute for Aaron to notice that he was bleeding and when he did he realized that he must have just been attacked by shark! And he started slowly and calmly back stroking towards the shore.
I watched him coming back in and felt relieved because we had already been at the beach for about 3 or 4 hours and the wind had started to pick up and I was pretty much ready to go. I watched him swim back and then started to hear something in the distance. As Aaron was almost halfway back to the shore I heard a voice calling for help, evenly and calmy. I stood up and searched the ocean but couldn’t quite place the voice. It couldn’t be Aaron, he was a strong swimmer and seemed to be doing just fine, but no one else was really in the ocean. I told my mom and Jane to stop talking for a second and listen and I asked “is that Aaron?” My mom’s “mothering instincts” kicked in right away and she knew immediatly that it was him. In a flash she was yelling at a nearby Four Seasons employee to “get in there and help him!” And Manny (the employee) was off in a shot. He got to Aaron right away, I watched them exchange words and tell him to hold on to his floaty-thing, and Manny pulled him to shore. Once past the waves another employee, an enormous 6’3” guy named Chris Hoffman picked Aaron up in his arms as if Aaron weighed nothing and carried him over to a chaise lounge.
And here I am, standing on the beach, confused as all hell, and let’s face it, slightly embarassed, thinking that Aaron must have had a cramp or got caught in an undertow or something lame like that. Until Chris came closer with my boyfriend in his arms and I saw a large red gash on his left calf. A stingray mark maybe? They came closer… No, it looks like a cut, maybe he cut it on a rock? And closer… OH MY GOD! That’s way worse than I thought!!! His calf was hanging down- his calf and his leg were no longer connected. And, as the papers loved to quote, “I just about lost my mind.” I felt it wobble away from me for a second and I almost ran away as far as I could go. But then Chris set Aaron down on the lounge and I ran towards him instead.
And Aaron was laughing! He was actually fricken laughing. He said “I think I got attacked by a fucking shark!” with a twinkle in his eye, and I was laughing too. And then he said “good thing I have great insurance.” And then it wasn’t so funny anymore, because the real tragedy of this story is that Aaron actually has NO insurance what-so-ever!
Jane, my cousin, works for the hospital and had them on the phone in seconds with a bed in the ER with his name on it.
And now folks… here they are… look away now if you have a weak stomach…
There were apparently two wounds- one on the calf and the one above the knee on the inside of his leg. We didn’t even know about the knee wound until the ER nurses pointed it out.
Later that night Aaron would be taken into the OR to have his leg operated on for the first time. The doctor put a “wound vac” tube into the gash to clean the wound, making sure it wouldn’t become infected. The wound vac would be on his leg for about 4 days.
Day 4: In the hospital.
That morning in the hospital we watched the sun rise from his window.
Aaron was visited by his doctor- Dr Peter Galpin. He is the #1 shark bite fixer-upper in the world! Aaron was his 9th shark victim. Dr. Galpin said he was looking forward to hitting double digits soon.
After Dr Galpin gave us the scoop it was time for the “press conference”…
Aaron utilized his sound guy skills to put the mics on himself. This was a first for the news guys who were super glad to not have to put their hands up a strangers shirt for once.
Day 5: More hospital time.
And the next day Aaron made the front page again…
My dad also came over from the mainland! He actually sat next to Kelsey Grammer who was flying out to meet HIS family as well in Maui. (Apparently the Grammers had a fled to Maui during the fires that were raging in California.) And they got to talking and dad mentioned the shark attack. Mr Grammer actually said that he’d heard about that and to tell Aaron that he wishes him well!!!! That was pretty cool.
Halloween through i can’t keep track anymore: Surgery through recovery…
A few days later, on Halloween no less, Aaron’s doctor sewed him all up. Here are the two (tiny) pictures we have from the surgery. I actually took screen shots of the news reports on youtube.
We were told that the above photo was a joke with the nurses. They have to do what is called “time out” where they take a picture and make a note of where they are going to be operating, you know, just in case they open up the wrong place or hack off the wrong limb. I think in this case though, the problem area was quite obvious. See… it’s where the nurse is pointing. See it?
Then a few days after the final surgery he was ready to get out of bed for the first time.
That’s Aaron’s “OW!” face. You can tell how painful it was to just move his leg at all. But eventually they got Aaron up and into a wheelchair and Aaron took his first trip outside the hospital room in a wheel chair.
Then a few days after that, on the day were were supposed to fly home, Aaron was released from the hospital!
Getting out of the hospital
When Aaron got home (and by “home” I mean to my cousin Jane’s house) he got the chance to shower for the first time and we all got a look at his newly stitched up wound…
And what happened after that is a whole other story I’m saving for a whole new picture blog. (We got engaged!)
But for now there’s this…
I have this picture framed and on my bedside table and everyday I look at it when I wake up and before I fall asleep to remind myself of how lucky we are.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that called, wrote and visited during Aaron’s recovery. Your support meant more to him than I can ever express without sounding horribly lame and cheesy. But it meant the world to us!
Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!