CPM Winter 2020 - 20

daup h i n cm s .org


Finding the Way to

Our Highest Self
By DAVID WHITE, MD, Co-Founder
of Aspire Health Concepts, Inc.


had no idea which way was up. I was pumping my arms and legs,
hoping to break the surface of the water. The breath I had taken
before plunging into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean felt as if it
was slamming against my closed throat like a battering ram. I could
hear myself gasping within, desperate to relieve the mounting pressure
within my chest. Though still disoriented, I recognized the futility of
my panicked flailing and just stopped moving.
Only a moment later, I reacted as my toes dipped into the sandy
bottom. I planted my feet and stood up with a burst of exhale and inhale
seemingly at once. I found myself in waist deep water right next to my
surfboard. With wide eyes, I could see that the world around me was
still spinning severely. I grabbed my board to steady myself as I spotted
another surfer wading towards me (sideways) saying, "Wow, are you
okay? Way to charge that wave!" All I could muster was, "Vertigo." I
climbed on my board and clumsily paddled to the safe zone beyond the
break as a new set rolled in.

A Wave of Vulnerability
Though a Pennsylvania boy, my family made a habit of vacationing
near large bodies of water...East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast. My
brothers and I have been swimming, body boarding and surfing on
these coasts from our earliest days. Spending a significant part of their
childhood on the Gulf Coast, my sons grew to share my delight in water,
especially when there are waves. While I have found myself in precarious
positions before, I had never felt as vulnerable as this occasion surfing
with my son in Los Angeles just two months ago.
It was the first wave of the day and it was beautiful. There is nothing
like it; if the timing is right, the wave rolls in and lifts you, then throws
you forward along its smooth, curling face. I know I was smiling. I saw
that the ride would end abruptly as the face lurched and surged forward.
As I had done many times before, I ducked to allow the force of the
wave to envelop me. On this occasion though, I felt immediate pain in
my left ear as my left side impacted the surface of the water. I was able
to surface quickly but upon opening my eyes, I was met with a vicious,
disorienting spin. I clutched my board but immediately felt as if I was
being thrown over another wave, so I reflexively released my board to
avoid injury on impact. But there was no impact and no turbulent forces
pulling at my body as I would normally expect. I was totally disoriented,
20 Winter 2020 Central PA Medicine


CPM Winter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CPM Winter 2020

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