1. "I remember well the fearful feeling of complete helplessness."
Can I replace that in bold with "fear" and still mantain the exact meaning? If not, how so?
Perhaps yes, but what is there is better. You can say "feeling of fear" but then you have "of fear of complete helplessness," which isn't great style. What about "the feeling of fear that comes from complete helplessness." I like the original.
2. "I had difficulty swimming and staying afloat in the turbulent waters."
"...as though I were being ripped in half by the churning water."
"waters" and "water" here are referred to the same river the vehicle in which the author was riding plunged into. Question: When do we use plural and singular for water?
This is tricky - I would have used the singular for the first one, but when you want to refer to a variety of water conditions, you can use waters. The waters off the coast of Maine contain tricky currents. Since this person is in only one little bit of water at the time, I would have argued for the singular though.
3. "But then I felt guilty and in a lot of pain."
I am reading it as 2 sentences combined into 1:
"I felt guilty" and "I felt in a lot of pain". Correct? But in the sencond sentence, is "in" out of place? Shouldn't it be "I felt a lot of pain"? I thought another alternative was: "I was in a lot of pain." Therefore the sentence should read:
"But then I felt guilty and a lot of pain." or
"But then I felt guilty and was in a lot of pain."
I would have written the first one with a "was," as you did in your second example.
All opinions would be immensely appreciated. I wouldn't have let it bother me 3 months ago, but like I said it's the 3rd eye that nags. I'm cursed for life.
Yes, reading the church bulletin will be the next problem for you.