Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Fear, Phobia and Mad Dogs
In a recent post, Derrick told us that his wife, Mary, had over come her fear of water and was rolling on a regular basis. I, in turned, commented about how I honored her and the others I've seen go through this fear. To me, these folks have exhibited remarkable courage and persistence.
I remember a woman who attended a symposium where I was teaching. She was in an introductory class and told me she was terrified of the water. She added that her biggest fear was to be upside down in a kayak and that she was taking the class to over come that fear.
We started out by just talking about what she feared and what a wet exit required. No one in the class denigrated her and, in fact, were very patient and encouraging in spite of the extra time spent with her. After winning her trust, we went through a sequence of exercises in which I tipped her a few degrees and brought her up. This was repeated over and over until I had her cheek at water level (I was standing in shallow water...but I digress). I told her that when she was ready, she should just dip her face into the water and immediately bring it back out.
To make a long story absolutely unbearable, she eventually did do a wet exit. It wasn't pretty, but she did it on her own. Afterward, she wept from the joy and the immense tension release and then insisted on doing it again. What a gal.
Later that day, someone asked me if she had had a phobia, and I said she did not. A phobia, after all, is an irrational fear and, to me, fear of the water is not irrational. In case you haven't noticed, you can't breath the stuff into your lungs and expect to improve your forward stroke afterwards. Someone else thought it was a phobia, and I asked him to name it. He said it would be either aqua phobia or hydrophobia. I told him that I hadn't heard of the former (although, it may exist) and that hydrophobia actually was the name for Rabies (yes, the disease of mad dogs). Because rabies causes spasms of the throat, the victim is afraid to swallow water, and I can't cure that at a kayak symposium.
note: After yesterday's posting, JB supplied the lyrics to On The Road. I want ASCAP to know I did not plagiarize them and do not know how to remove them.
Paddle safe...
DS


5 comments:

Alex said...

Good story about that women and good for both her and mary. I definitely can empathize with there fears as someone who was in a major way and to a lesser extent still is scared of water.

Silbs said...

Me too. I have felt that gut tightening apprehension when I've gotten caught out in 5- foot dumpers and wondered how the hell I was going to turn around without tipping. Fear or respect? I don't know, but I know the feeling.

Buncher said...

I think fear is an extention of respect. If you don't respect the power of water (to create, as well as to destroy), you won't fear it and that is when you risk getting hurt.

Silbs said...

Very wise, Buncher. You must have a smart father.

JohnB said...

ASCRAP--oh well. . .

How's this one?

"On the Water Again"

On the water again
Just can't wait to get on the water again
The life I love is s’kayakin’ with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the water again
On the water again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the water again.

On the water again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the waterway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin' our way
And our way
Is on the water again
Just can't wait to get on the water again
The life I love is s’kayakin’ with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the water again

On the water again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the waterway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world be turnin' our way
And our way
Is on the water again

Just can't wait to get on the water again
The life I love is s’kayakin’ with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the water again
And I can't wait to get on the water again

Lyrics by Willie Nelson and John Browning; Music by Willie Nelson

Think I'll get a Grammy (not a grahammy as in graham cracker)?