I was recently reminded of the frailty and vulnerability of our allotted time. At the end of every day I enjoy a walk around Deer Lake to reflect on the challenges of work and to plan the next day. On one of my recent walks I noticed a toddler playing alone at the shoreline. Two young women were playing with several other children 50 metres away, and, after some prodding from me, one eventually sauntered off to retrieve him.
As I continued my route along the boardwalk my memory flashed back several decades. Our first daughter was 11/2 years old and full of unbridled energy. Standing waist deep in the ocean, she was playing tag with us as my wife and I stood 2 metres apart. At one point she tagged my wife, turned back toward me, lost her balance, fell forward, and rolled face up under water. She did not struggle. A stream of bubbles escaped her mouth and she began to sink to the bottom. In shocked disbelief I reached down and pulled her limp body to the surface. The time from healthy child to near death was exceedingly short. As we carried her to shore, water cleared from her lungs and she awoke from her brief nap. She appeared unfazed by her recent adventure, but we were not as calm.
It is worth remembering that water of any depth is a potential life-threatening hazard to young children—supervised or not. There is an old aviation adage—learn from the mistakes of others as you will surely not live long enough to make them all yourself.
—John Albrecht, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
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