In the spring of 1983 my husband and I took a vacation on...

In the spring of 1983 my husband and I took a vacation on a beautiful Caribbean island. One of the things we enjoyed was swimming in the warm ocean waters. There was a flag posted some distance out in the bay where we swam, and on our first day there, after my husband had been assured by the lifeguard that it would be safe for me to swim that far, I swam out to the flag. I noticed that the flag was mounted on some rocks and decided it would be wiser not to get too close to it. I am a fairly strong swimmer, and I made the swim out and back without difficulty.

The second day I went out again. This time I thought it would be fun to climb up on the rocks and touch the flag to prove I had actually reached it. The rocks did not appear sharp, so I began climbing up. However, as I did this I felt a sharp stinging pain all down the side of my right leg from the thigh to the ankle. Then I noticed that the rocks were covered by coral. Instantly I backed off the rock, but the pain continued in my leg.

Then I realized I was faced with a challenge. What had been an easy swim before, now appeared to be a formidable obstacle. And the salt water seemed to make things worse. I wondered whether I could use the leg at all to swim back. The waves that had seemed gentle swells, now loomed as treacherous mountains.

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April 29, 1985

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