“Timing is everything.”
We’ve all heard it before. Maybe offered as a condolence when something doesn’t go our way. Maybe cited as the source of success at times during our lives.
On May 24th, timing was definitely everything in the life of 62-year-old Beverly Watson, who was critically injured during a jet ski collision in Florida Bay.
Beverly, her husband Bill, and a handful of friends were enjoying a Sunday afternoon on the water, much like they’d done so many times before. Following lunch, they hopped back on their jet skis to continue the fun closer to their dock.
Bill was driving the couple when all of the sudden, another jet ski came barrelling into theirs. Knowing his wife generally falls to the left, Bill looked over his shoulder. What he saw was his wife in the water- cool, calm and collected- but missing the bottom portion of her leg.
What unfolded in the next twenty minutes is nothing short of heroic.
The first thought was to hoist Beverly back onto the jet ski via the back sled. The Watsons quickly discovered that the collision had caused the jet ski to start to sink and had to adjust their plan.
That’s when they saw a boat with two passengers aboard and signaled for help. The boat approached them, and without the luxury of a ladder, Bill and the two passengers attempted to maneuver Beverly over the side of the boat, unsuccessfully.
Beverly was losing blood quickly. The jet ski and the boat appeared to be the only two lifelines available, and both had failed to safely transport Beverly to shore.
Timing is everything, though, and just at that moment, two stand up paddle boarders spotted the struggle by the boat from about a quarter mile away. They quickly paddled over.
Beverly and Bill would later credit these two paddle boarders, Sabrina and Mike, with saving Beverly’s life. Together, they got Beverly stabilized on the board. Mike tied a tourniquet around her leg to slow the bleeding, and Sabrina’s husband Kip attached a tow rope to the boat to get Beverly safely to shore where a helicopter was waiting to air lift her to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.
Thanks to her calm and solution-oriented demeanor and the timing of Sabrina and Mike paddling by, Beverly survived the tragic situation.
She was in critical condition for 3 days, in ICU for 2 weeks, and in the hospital for 27 days. Three months, four operations and 13 blood transfusions later, she is on the slow but stable road to recovery, but the lives of everyone involved will be forever changed.
Beverly and Bill say they are more cautious and aware, and are constantly finding new pieces of their daily lives that need to be adjusted. While Beverly is not back in the water, they haven’t tucked away their adventurous spirits forever.
Beverly and Bill weren’t the only 2 lives changed that day. Remember our friend Mike? The SUP hero who spotted the couple, applied the tourniquet and helped tow them to shore? Inspired by the accident, he started his first year as a pre-med student this week, specializing in Emergency Medicine. It turns out, timing really is everything.
Beverly is now on crutches and fearlessly charging forward with her life- even making occasional trips to the movies and dinner with friends.