Being saved

This was my first year at Burning Man, I came with the hospital staff, Rampart, to assist with some tasks and I came with my husband, who worked with the hospital.

To get to the point, after a week at burning man, I was there from thursday to thursday, Friday night my hubby and I had some time alone. Sadly some of our companions over taxed their physical bodies and were down for recovery. So my hubby who heard that the art project “wall-street” wasn’t going to be burned on friday night, thought it would be cool to ride our bikes out there. I being pleased at his enthusiasm to another bike ride was more than willing to enjoy this adventure. Since I arrived at Burning man, I have taken it upon myself to dress comfortably, but artistically to keep out excessive dust but allow my skin to breath, so I was wearing layers, of light clothes, including some rainbow knitted tights. I had my goggles, head wrap, and neck and mouth wrap, open fingered cloves, and no heels on my boots. We drank plenty of water before we left.

Wall street was impressive, so much work in so few days, I was wandering around reading the marker remarks. Acknowledging what people wished to share. When I arrived at “Golden Sucks” I thought, what would the view be like from the top story? And decided to head up. I had at this point lost track of my hubby, who was enjoying the structure his way. As I made it to the second floor, I was distracted by the moon, it wasn’t full, but it hung low and was amazing through the random dust storms rushing through the burning man city. I paused to look and to see how high up I was on just that floor.

Than I walked across the floor past the ladder heading back down towards the ladder heading up. I side stepped someone coming towards me, and stepped forward onto a plywood board on the floor which gave way under me. My foot went through the floor. Maybe I have seen Star trek one to many times, but I lurched forward to try and catch myself on the floor, and not fall straight through. I dug my fingers into the plywood floor before me and continued to slide through. Luckily the board snapped back up and caught my leg, it ripped through the skin at the back of my calf, and stopped in my knee cap. But then bent again and I fell a little more till it caught my thigh.

At this same time some of the people coming down the stairs from the 3rd floor saw me, and quickly tried to grab my arms. One person on each arm. It happened so quickly, I was more aware of the falling and trying to grab something, that I was grateful someone had caught me. He or she must have leapt down the stairs. Then someone else helped move the plywood to release my leg, I wish I could remember how many people helped and exactly how they helped me, but I was over-welmed at that point as to how I had fallen through a floor and could James Kirk have caught himself, because I only managed to slow myself down. Was my leg bleeding, or severed?? And the worse, how much attention did I just bring to myself? Who falls through floors, how far would the fall have been?

As I worried about what just happened to me, someone else was making sure they could rescue me and that I was ok. I remember sitting for little while trying to determine how injured I was. Could I walk? I was terribly shaken, and stunned. I don’t even remember any conversations with those who saved me, just that they were concerned about me, and if I needed more help. I didn’t want more help, I knew my hubby was down below somewhere, and he is a paramedic, so if I could just get to him, he could assess my injuries. So I resolved try and thank those who helped me, got up and crawled to the the stairs leading back down to the floor, and crawled down them. I was able to hold some weight on my leg and limped to my hubby. It hurt, but I am no stranger to pain. My hubby looked at my leg, said it didn’t look too bad, would he like me to have Rampart come get me. Of course not, I begged to ride our bikes back to camp and then he could clean up my leg and get a better look. Pedaling was easier on my knee than walking.

We road for about 15 minutes, and I started crying from pain and the experience. I hadn’t had much time to process it. The tears collected at the bottom of my goggles, thus it was a bit blurry. Then a dust storm kicked up through our path, and not minutes later I hit a large can full of glowing coals, I did not see the glow, but I heard the screams when I hit it. I was told the can tipped and the coals ignited, I fell the opposite way and rolled across the desert putting out any sparks that tried to ignite my clothes. Again more people ran towards me to help. Even one woman sat with me, and let me finally just sit and cry. I could really talk, it was to hard to gather more thoughts, I still wanted to get back to my camp on my own, and would need my resolve to push through the pain in my leg and the unease in my brain. This was such an alien experience for me. I did not get the names of those who helped me through the fire, and sat with me for a short cry, before I was back on my bike heading back to camp. I really wish I could give them a more heart felt thanks, and I was sorry, I was just not able reach out better, and remember them. I am glad they were there for me, and I think that there are such important times like this, where just being there and doing what is needed and wanted is all someone can do to help another.

I like to believe I am pretty self reliant. But I needed saving that night, Thank you to those who had helped me, I figure you would also have remembered such and event.


About the author: Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa

Tales From the Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by participants. Submit your story here.

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