In June, a rash made me question a change in pool chemicals. The rash started Saturday after the pool session. When we heard back that there were no issues, Tracey suggested I contact Midlands Diving Chamber (MDC) for advice, probably because she was considering the dives Sunday (30m, 24m, and 7m) , but in my mind it was from the pool, it had to be right, that is when the rash started!
Sunday after the dives, I went home and was quite tired so went to sleep very early, not abnormal when I have had a high nitrogen load, also it is exam season and I am a teacher so that was fine.
On my arrival at MDC dive history was discussed, and the profiles were examined. The shallow dive had a few blips, but any shallow dive will have spikes, it’s the nature of a shallow dive.
The doctor was not convinced of DCI, but did a physical. Nothing significant until the neuro exam, which showed a decrease since my last medical, that he completed two months prior. I went in the chamber, better safe than sorry.
After treatment using RNT 62
I was re-examined and sent home, with the doc still unconvinced, ‘you could have just been tired this morning’. I was sent with orders to phone in the morning and stay out of the water for ‘a few weeks’ because it is the height of the season and he didn’t want to limit my diving time. Thursday I had a headache and some dizziness later in the day, so I chose to attend a retreatment USING RNT 66 just in case, even if it put me out of the water.
If I did have a bend, the only reason that it was caught was because I made the decision to go to MDC for my yearly medical. There was no other reason that put me in the chamber than the doc knowing my neuro assessment was weaker. Oddly, all because I had a rash that may not have been related. I did learn that 10% of reported bends are in shallower than 10m and instructors in that category are often from pool work. When asking about returning to diving, the doc gave me a timeline and I asked if that included pool work. He stated the pressure changes in the pool are MOST significant and categorically could not go in the pool until my fit to dive medical. How many people think ‘its just the pool’?
This meant there was a huge learning curve. I talked the theory to death with Charlie. He reminded me every step of the way that its all a theory. Tracey reminded me that there was nothing I could have done to change what happened, it was a typical training profile we do and one we have done many times before!
Every step of the way I had a full team behind my recovery. I am fit to dive not just physically, but mentally because I have taken this as a development point and continue to research decompression, making me a safer diver.
What we here at Dive Rutland have 'learnt' from this experience is that undertaking our yearly Health and Safety Dive Professional medicals with our local chamber - Midlands Dive Chamber (MDC) at Rugby means they have our medical files and a baseline to compare to in a scenario such as this. We feel that as Bridget had her files at MDC the neuro check being weaker raised a flag and although treatment potentially not required a 'better safe than sorry' approach was undertaken, which we applaud MDC for.
Its also important that if anyone does not 'feel right' after diving be that in the pool or open water it is raised with a member of the team, so we can discuss and guide.. But at the end of the day MDC are on call 24 x 7 and always happy to take that call. There are cards in the shop that you can put in your purse or wallet, so no excuse not to have the number handy.
And most importantly remember your treatment is free and provided by the National Health Service, so a service as divers we should fight to protect.
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE