I recently found this picture online of Sutton's Bluff in Southern Missouri and it just so happens to be the exact spot I fractured my neck when I was a little girl.
I remember it like it was yesterday, one hot summer day back in 1992. My family was camping out at the campgrounds of Sutton's Bluff which was close to where my aunt Judy used to live in Ellington, Missouri. We had decided to go swimming before heading to my aunt's house that evening. Of course my parents being protective made me wear my life jacket even though I had just taken swimming lessons and could swim quite well on my own. To this day I am so happy that decision was made for me, little did I know it may have saved my life.
After swimming and playing in the water for a while, my brothers, cousin and I decided it would be a lot more fun if we jumped off the cliffs. I was only seven at the time and wasn't about to attempt the climb to the top like they did. One I was scared I would fall off and two I'm sure mom and dad would of had a say in that. Mom and dad watched us from the gravel bar and let us know when to jump since I was on the lower spot where they couldn't see. (note: the lower spot I've circled on the picture and believe it or not the higher part where the boys where at is not shown on the picture. It was that high up!) This had went on for an hour of taking turns jumping. Somehow we had a miscommunication and when I jumped so did my cousin. Of course I would land in the water first. I remember coming up to wipe my eyes and hearing a lot of commotion. The next thing I knew, I had felt this weight pushing down on my neck and pushing me to the bottom of the creek. Come to find out that weight was my cousin landing on my neck/shoulder. At the time it was a little sore but didn't seem too major. I sat on the gravel bar and didn't want to swim the rest of the day. Mom was afraid I would be scared of the water and tried to get me to go back out there. A snake had swam right where we were jumping and wasn't planning on leaving any time soon. To this day we think this was a sign from God, the had doctors said one more jump could have officially broke my neck.
I want to say a couple of weeks went by and my neck was a little stiff but we still didn't think nothing of it. It had worried my grandma that I couldn't move my neck side to side like normal and knew something just wasn't right. Mom had taken me to the hospital to get x-rays done and still they found nothing wrong with my neck. My grandma had suggested I go to a chiropractor and have them look at it since it was still not getting any better. It only took him a few seconds to realize the problem, I had a hairline fracture. He had told us that with my fracture even the small weight of a quarter dropped on my neck could go ahead and break it the rest of the way. Needless to say I had to wear a soft collar for 6-9 months with a lot of adjustments along the way from the chiropractor.
If it wasn't for the life jacket I may not be here today or would of ended up with a broken neck. God does work in mysterious ways and that day the snake came to my rescue!