Quick-acting lifeguard rescues teen
HUMBOLDT — Thane Meadows is in his first year as a lifeguard at the Humboldt Municipal Pool.
It’s a job that suits him nicely.
He confesses he’s not an avid swimmer, but his natural athletic ability is evident in the pool.
More importantly, Meadows takes a no-nonsense approach to his job. He eliminates distractions and stays focused on the task at hand.
“I’m just sort of like that,” he said. “I’m always the one who is prepared for the worst, ready for anything.”
His actions Monday afternoon likely saved the life of 17-year-old Adrina Slocum, who began suffering from a seizure while in the pool.
Meadows and Slocum — who spoke to the Register in a telephone interview — recounted the scary affair.
Meadows was perched aboard his lifeguard chair, monitoring the pool, when one of the swimmers began motioning in his direction, asking for help.
Slocum was underwater, relatively close to the pool’s shallowest waters.
Had she been standing, Slocum easily would have been able to touch bottom and keep her head and shoulders out of the 4-foot-deep water.
But instead, she was fully submerged. Had a passerby seen Slocum, he likely would have assumed she was swimming underwater.
It wasn’t until Slocum’s boyfriend, who was exiting the pool, turned around and saw her underwater.
“I’m glad he turned around and saw where I was,” Slocum said. “I remembered standing in the pool talking with him, with my hands on the concrete (side). The next thing I remember, they had me sitting in a chair.”
MEADOWS remembers the events vividly.
As Slocum’s boyfriend motioned for his attention, his first thought was she had been injured.
“I thought maybe she hit the wall,” Meadows said. “She was pretty close to the steps.”
In a flash, Meadows blew his whistle, directed the dozens of other swimmers to exit the pool and jumped in.
He helped pull Meadows to the surface. She was still conscious but unable to walk or even stand.
“Her skin was pretty white, and her eyes were bloodshot,” Meadows said. “She was pretty out of it.”
Another swimmer helped pull her out of the water, where Meadows escorted her to a nearby lawnchair.
Within moments the seizure had subsided, leaving Slocum a bit confused.
“I was wanting to go back into the water,” she admitted. “My best friend told me no, that she was calling my mom.”
An ambulance was dispatched to the scene, where Slocum was treated and observed for a while to ensure the danger had passed.
A FEW of the younger swimmers, distraught at the incident, approached Meadows later.
He assured them there was no danger; that Slocum was going to be OK.
“I’m usually a person who can stay calm, so I was working to keep everybody else calm.”
The crowd, estimated at about 100, was cooperative, Meadows noted.
Humboldt City Administrator Cole Herder, in a written report later in the day to City Council members, also credited fellow lifeguards Ashlyn Bartlett and Cheyenne Harris.
“”They managed the situation with the other swimmers and support perfectly,” Herder said.
SLOCUM was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 12, and suffers from an occasional seizure.
She typically takes medication to control them.
“That’s what’s so confusing,” she said. “I took my meds that morning, and it had never happened to me in a pool before.”
Typically, she can sense when a seizure is about to happen, usually in moments of stress and tension.
“This wasn’t anything like it,” Slocum said. “It just happened.”
The incident isn’t scaring her away from water. Slocum joined friends at the Chanute swim complex on Thursday.
She’s under orders from the Humboldt pool managers that in order to swim in Humboldt again, she must wear a life jacket while in the pool.
“I don’t want to do it, but it’s for my safety,” she said.
She will return to the doctor for her next appointment Tuesday.
MEADOWS, meanwhile, is proud of his actions. He plans to sign up as a lifeguard again next year. The son of Terry and Shelly Meadows, Thane will be a junior at Humboldt High School.
He is active in cross country, basketball and track and field, and plays trumpet for the school band. Terry Meadows is the band instructor for USD 258; Shelly Meadows teaches kindergarten at McKinley Elementary School in Iola.
After high school, Meadows plans to study technical engineering. He also hopes to earn a spot on the Kansas State University Marching Band.
Meadows credits his parents for his no-nonsense, calm demeanor at work or at school. “They’ve always done a good job of keeping me in check.”