The Pucketts came to us for Aquatic Survival Instruction (ASI©) on June 1, 2020. On the first day of lessons, they informed Eli's instructor, Coach Pam, of the nearly fatal incident Eli experienced. Coach Pam knew exactly what she had to do; she approached each lesson with patience and gave Eli the time he needed to learn and grow. Eli went on to excel through our program. Brace yourselves, for what you are about to read is Mrs. Puckett's account from the summer of 2020.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare was our reality.
My husband and I pulled our son's cold, blue, lifeless body out of the pool in our backyard. My only thought was, he is gone.
With 911 on the phone, I rushed to clear his airway and give him rescue breaths while my husband started CPR. It was unbearable; our two-year-old lying on the concrete, unresponsive. Awaiting the unknown, I remember seeing Eli's smile as he pushed his favorite trucks around in the grass just moments before. Would we ever see that crooked little smile again?
After four very long minutes, my husband nodded. Bubbles emerged from Eli's nose and mouth. His weak eyes started to open. Relief came over us. He's alive!!!
First Responders lined our street, life flight on call, neighbors watching and wondering . . . . I fell to my knees and just prayed. It's all in God's hands now.
We watched as they loaded Eli into the ambulance and rushed him to the ER. After two hospitals, two ambulances, and two long days later, we were able to bring home our happy, healthy little boy.
Where do we go from here?
My husband and I talked about pool covers, pool nets, pool alarms, fences with automatic closing gates, or swim lessons. As parents we want to make the best decision for our children, especially after knocking on death's door. No answer felt ideal after such a traumatic event. I really just wanted to wrap Eli in a plastic bubble and hold him tight.
After countless hours of research and going over every horrible scenario in my head, I decided the best choice for our family was a pool fence and survival swim lessons.
His accident happened on April 4, 2020. Eli started Aquatic Survival Instruction at Gwinnett Swim on June 1, 2020. What an emotional day for all of us! We met his ASI instructor Pam, and Eli was able to get his whole body into the water for the first time since the accident. He screamed and shook, scared of the unknown. We had a BIG emotional battle ahead of us. Pam took the challenge and said we are going to take each day slow, but she was going to make him work hard.
Now, what an undeniable bond Eli and Pam share! Eli trusted Pam with his heart; therefore, he was able to obtain new skills everyday. It was a hard process to watch, but so worth it!
The day Pam told me that Eli was going to graduate from ASI, I couldn't hold back the tears. There was not a dry eye in that building on August 6, 2020, graduation day. Eli was tested in winter clothing and no matter how he was thrown, dropped, or flipped into the pool, Eli could save Eli.
Not only is Eli able to save himself, but he is continuing swim lessons while maintaining ASI skills. He has built up so much confidence since day one. At his latest swim lesson, he told me he had fun and was not scared.
We would not be where we are today without you all. Thank you so much to everyone at Gwinnett Swim."
Ryan, Megan, and Eli Puckett
Since Eli graduated from ASI, he has to have a cuddle from Coach Pam before every maintenance lesson with his new instructor. His confidence and happiness are soaring; he comes off the step all by himself and he is learning scoops. Soon Eli will be transferring to a 30-minute class with a friend where he will learn elementary backstroke, kneeling dives, and proper breathing techniques.