Archives for: November 2006, 10
Fact #1: The biggest Great White Sharks ever consistently tracked (25-30 ft. long: Think Moving Van)(Dorsal fin height: 3-4 feet above water surface: When you're treading water, your eyes are only a couple of INCHES above waterline!) have been regularly spotted off of Northern California.
Fact #2: There are more human fatalities caused by Great White Shark attack in Northern California waters than anywhere else in the world (Yes, that does include South Africa and Australia).
Fact #3: In these waters, Great White Sharks often cruise in groups or gangs, rather than alone.
Fact #4: The Great White Shark occupies the San Francisco "Red Triangle" (from Monterey Bay on the South, to Tomales Bay on the North, to the Farallon Islands on the West) from September until December every year, feasting on the blubber of straying/ailing migrating whales and sea lions.
Fact #5: Many people go surfing within the Red Triangle during precisely -- and by preference -- this season (warmest water and air temperatures). But here's the really Bizarro angle: Many of those surfers are unaware of Facts #1-4!
(For more cool Red Triangle GWShark facts, check out Susan Casey's 2005 book, The Devil's Teeth)
Last year I had three different surfer clients who didn't know the Facts. Now that they're new parents, they have to start hunting for, and caring about, facts, no? One mom (blood type B!) pooh-poohed my Great White warning. "That's the risk we all take; we love our sport". My prayer is that, since last year, she's grown up into her motherhood. It being November, my thoughts turn to the beaches...
Another client decided to investigate some facts, entering his Zip Code into a "Megan's Law" site, discovering that his next-door neighbor was a convicted child molester.
A few years ago, my friend Carol told me the story of another postpartum scenario, that of her own younger brother's family: SIT DOWN for this one:
He and his wife had had a baby girl, and this mom's OB advised the woman to have a tubal ligation afterward, as her medical condition (to which I'm not privy) "ABSOLUTELY precluded" another successful birth. On religious grounds, this couple had refused the surgery. Fair enough, and, yes, I DO remember my own blog (24 April 2006: "A Problem Like Maria's...") on the subject of Faith and AntePartum/Partum health...
The following year, Carol's sister-in-law conceived again. She "just knew" it would be fine; her husband was anxious, but she "seemed ok", and neither considered any 'Plan B'. Daughter #2 was born, Mom in critical condition and then died postpartum, in hospital, age 35. Dad brought the newborn home. Too depressed to attend the funeral, he checked into a psychiatric hospital for observation, leaving the tots with Grandma. After two weeks away, he was discharged with Rx meds, to go home to his two little ones.
One night shortly thereafter, Carol left work for her brother's house, to make dinner and help with the children. Approaching the house, she heard crying babies. Opening the door, she found bits of her brother's bloody brains...
At age 48, Carol (unmarried) quit her career and took legal custody of the two babies, after burying her brother beside his bride (No more than a month had transpired between Baby #2's birth and my friend's resignation).
That's a couple that ignored the FACTS; they apparently didn't even consider the downside of their negligence and hadn't so much as discussed the possibility that her obstetrician's concern might have been founded. They'd made ZERO mental provision for a Worst Case Scenario, and this man's remorse and guilt drove him to suicide, leaving his children altogether parentless.
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Flip side: Sharkwatching charters motor out of the SF Bay to the Farallon waters every morning during Shark Season. Indeed, people fly in from all over the world to witness the frequent "breach-predations" (on/above surface feedings) from topside. A $500 surcharge puts the tourist in an underwater cage attached to the boat, to watch from BELOW)(No injuries sustained since inception 8 years ago).
(Even so, Moms/Dads especially: Count the Cost.)
Extreme Sports? Calculated Risks? It's time for New Instincts, when There's Another Life In The Equation.