Amy Rees Anderson

A Harrowing Experience and My Gratitude For Those Who Got Me Through It

Last week my family and I went down to Lake Powell for the week to host our kids and their college friends for a welcome home celebration trip for our daughter Ashley. We knew she had missed Lake Powell vacations tremendously while she had been serving her mission for 18 months so we made it a top priority to get her down here as soon as she returned.

On Tuesday afternoon we had taken the young adults tubing on the ski boat. There were two tubes with three people on each tube. We hit a big wave and they all went flying into the air, which is normally part of the fun, but this time one of the other girls foot came crashing down on my daughter Ashley’s mouth and her bottom teeth went through the inside of her mouth and out the front of her lip…it was bleeding like crazy. My heart froze the moment I realized my daughter was hurt. Here she was finally back with me after so long of being away from me and now she was hurt and bleeding and we were a long way away from a hospital. Our friend Curtis McDougal offered to rush myself and Ashley back to the marina in his ski boat so I could get her to the nearest town’s Emergency Room. It was about a 45 minute boat ride back to the marina going at high speed in rough waters. Curtis’ son Bailey, Alyssa, and our friend Jim rode with Ashley and I as we tried to keep ice and pressure on her bleeding mouth. I knew it was a small town hospital and I wondered if the physician on call would be able to stitch her lips up or if we would have to fly to a hospital with a plastic surgeon on call in order to minimize the potential of scarring her beautiful face. I was sick with concern but I was incredibly grateful for the others in the ski boat who went out of their way to distract my daughter from her pain as we bounced around in the rough waters on our way to the marina. I was also grateful for our friends Dave and Tiffini Taylor who got right on the phones and made calls on our behalf to let the hospital know we were coming and who had their plane on standby in case we needed to fly Ashley to another hospital. They even offered to open their home in town to us if we had to stay there overnight. Having such great friends so willing to help us in every way possible was such a blessing – I was so humbled by their service they offered our family.

We got to the hospital and were super blessed to find that the ER physician on call was a woman who went out of her way to do the smallest stitches possible in Ashley’s lip to help minimize the scarring. We then rushed to the pharmacy to get antibiotics as we still needed to get back to the marina and then take the long ski boat ride back to the houseboat and it was already getting dark outside. But by the time we got out of the pharmacy it was dark out. However, we took comfort in believing we had two large spotlights in the ski boat to help light our way back to the houseboat. Once we were in the ski boat and away from the lights of the marina we realized that both our spotlights were completely dead! We had no light to help guide us on our way back. In fact all we had was a really small flashlight and one green laser pointer – That was it. For those who aren’t familiar with Lake Powell it is a massive Lake with more shoreline than the entire west coast of the United States and the rock walls go up for hundreds of feet in the air. The danger of boating in the dark is that you cannot see the rock walls around you and you cannot spot the rocks under the water that you could run into and sink your boat, not to mention how easy it is to get lost in all the channels. It became quickly evident that we were in serious danger out on this Lake with no light and no moon in the sky to add any light at all. It was literally pitch black out and we were in trouble with no way to communicate with anyone for help.

We went about five miles an hour with each of us perched on different corners of the boat trying to spot where to go and any rocks ahead of us. We used the GPS on our cell phone as a guide to see where we were on the Lake and the green laser pointer to try and find walls ahead of us. It would be impossible to put into words just how harrowing the experience was for all of us as we tried to navigate in the pitch black surrounded by potential danger of rocks and walls while my injured daughter was curled up in the back of the boat saying a silent prayer for our safety. That original 45 minute boat ride ended up taking us around two hours and forty-five minutes in the dark to get back to the houseboat. I can’t even describe the exhaustion we all felt by the time we were back from the stress of trying to navigate home.

All I know is that if it wasn’t for the help of Curtis, Bailey, Alyssa, and Jim in the ski boat that night I don’t know that I would have made it through that entire experience without falling apart. They were amazingly supportive and I am forever grateful to them for their sacrifice they made that night to help my daughter and I.

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So grateful for friends. Remember this week to thank yours! Have a great week ahead everyone!

~Amy Rees Anderson

2 Comments

  • Brenda says:

    So glad you were all safe getting back and had many friends helping along the way including your best one, the Savior. I couldn’t help but reading through the whole ordeal how this could be a wonderful Ensign story. The words “Navigating in the dark, with tools such as your GPS to get you back home. Wow so powerful, Sometimes we are all navigating in the dark but thank goodness we have the priesthood, our scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and our “best friend” doing all they can to bring us back to home to our Eternal home. Even the scars that may or may not occur with Ashley happen with each of us that can be a result of something that has happened in our lives, but as with each small stitch performed by a nurse (our Savior) who cared (line upon line, precept upon precept, day by day) we can be healed and feel good again. Thank you so much for sharing this experience and pray your daughter heals quickly. Tell Alexis “hi” for me, she’s a special girl.

  • Preston eichers says:

    Big shout out to my great cousins. Job well one!!!

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