The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
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 vol. 41. iss. 1, March 2006
Additionally, little things one scarcely thinks about when one has the use of one's limbs became serious considerations.  We had to be very careful not to drop grit, shed from our coveralls and helmets, into Gregg's eyes, for he had no way of wiping it away.  Numerous times along our journey it was necessary to stop and ever so deftly brush away sand that had fallen onto his face.  It was the intimacy of such requirements, the trust and reassurance exchanged during these moments, that raised all of our consciousness beyond anything one can learn in a mock rescue.  This was no dress rehearsal.  This was life and death, and the smallest gestures took on unimagined importance. 

It wasn't until we were headed up the breakdown hill leaving the deepest are of the Big Room that we had our first and most decisive crisis.  Looking back, it was the scariest moment of the rescue for all of us who were carrying Gregg.

The ascent from where Gregg had fallen was quite steep; it was very difficult to keep the Ferno horizontal.  We quickly learned, however, that keeping the Ferno horizontal was absolutely requisite.  As we were struggling to ascend the jumble of breakdown, we allowed the Ferno to slope somewhat, though we did so gently; but this evidently put pressure on Gregg's damaged spine.  Gregg tried to call out, but was interrupted by what appeared to be an epileptic seizure.  Alarm was written all over his heretofore passive face.  In a chilling moment, Gregg shuddered violently and gasped, apparently experiencing difficulty breathing.  Throughout the seizure—perhaps the longest ten seconds of my life—he could not communicate to us what was wrong.  He arched against the Ferno, choking and looking very startled.  Then, with a peace not of this world, Gregg stopped moving utterly; his eyelids hung open on eyes that had


ceased to tear.  Witnessing his filmy, insensate stare, we were all frozen by what we feared the worst.  And then he came back to us. 

Checking him as thoroughly as was possible, Mike Summers saw to it that Gregg was again ready for transport before we proceeded.  If we had let ourselves slip at all, the seizure had tightened all our belts a couple notches.  I don't think my heart ever stopped pounding from the adrenaline rush Gregg's seizure had roused.  We were all driven with a renewed urgency to get the hell out of this cave.  The Ferno was kept as level as possible from that moment forward. 

It was also determined early in our return that the "spider" was more a liability than an asset at this point in the rescue, its loops snagging on rock outcroppings and falling dangerously underfoot.  It was removed in the pause following Gregg's seizure, and should have been left at the entrance where it was required. 

Negotiating the automobile-sized blocks of breakdown with a cargo of utmost delicacy required the mindset, organization and stamina of a team of Himalayan sherpas.  We valiantly endeavored to meet the challenge.  If you can imagine a mode of terrestrial locomotion, it was utilized somewhere along the concourse toward Garbage Pit.  In the stoopwalk phreatic tube that circumnavigates the Second Lake Room, we were obliged to put into practice one of the more curious rescue manual techniques for litter transport:  a nifty little teamwork trick called "the turtle".  In proper context, such as a stoopwalk passage where hauling a litter is a strenuous, backwrenching chore, it is an eminently practical arrangement. 


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