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Patrick McMaster


Just make the damn call! By Patrick McMaster

Good Friday, 6th April 2007

Two dives at Swanage, Dorset:

Dive 1 The Fleur de Lys to a depth of 13.4 metres for 29 minutes, with a 1 minute stop at 3 metres as our Buhlmann tables require. (Time in: 10:52, out: 11:21). Surface interval: 103 minutes.

Dive 2 The Kyarra. Maximum depth of 26.2 metres for 51 minutes total dive time, with stops of 3 minutes at 12 metres, 3 minutes at 9 metres, 9 minutes at 6 metres, and finally 2 minutes at 3 metres. (Time in: 13:03, out 13:54).
Maldives Diving Adventure
Patrick McMaster Poor visibility on both dives. Both dives on air. I remember not being very happy doing them this way round hence the somewhat long stops on the second dive.

On the way home I didn't feel quite right...

We stopped at the motorway services for a comfort break. There I felt giddy when in the gents and had to hold onto the wall. I put this down to still having my 'sea legs' (the boat journeys were a bit rough). We continued the journey but I felt extremely fatigued, I wasn't driving I hasten to add. I put this down to getting up very early and having a pretty busy day.
Patrick McMaster Later that evening, when at home, I still had the clubs' O2 kit so sucked it dry, as by now I was thinking, "I wonder if..."

I had no alcohol, but instead had two pints of water.

Saturday 7th April

I woke up feeling VERY tired but couldn't sleep. I felt like I'd had enough sleep but still felt knackered. That was a very strange feeling indeed.
Ralf Tech
In the evening I had a beer and got a headache. Then I had another beer... still had the headache!

I went to bed with lower back pain going from side to side and from the waist up about six inches.

Easter Sunday 8th April

I had a bad headache but it didn't feel like a hangover. I took two paracetamol, but they had no effect. Much later on, it just disappeared by itself. It was like a switch being flicked off, it was that sudden.

During the day I went to the freezer, opened the door, pulled out the draw and my left elbow went 'strange' (don't quite know how to describe that properly). It didn't like being straightened.

Later, sitting on the settee after some time, I experienced 'niggles' to the other elbow and to a lesser degree the rear of my left knee and the side of the right knee. On the whole, these last three symptoms went.

Easter Monday 9th April

I felt OK except for the left elbow which was still not itself.
I belong to several cycling clubs, one of which, called Audax UK, organises many long distance events, and I'd already entered a two hundred kilometre event in Sussex for this day. As I didn't feel too bad, and not wanting to let my mate down, I went and did this. Not the best idea in the world after what I'd been through I know. As my mate is a very sensible person and first aid trained (also happens to be a skipper of a coastal tanker), I explained very thoroughly to him what had happened to me (we had a two to three hour car journey, so had time to do this). I also gave him one of London Diving Chambers' cards for his wallet and told him not to dial 999 if I collapse, or whatever, before speaking to them. I also told him if I am bent and the bubble dislodges and ends up in the heart = heart attack! Or brain = stroke! He just took it in his stride and said I'm probably worrying over nothing, but would look after me.

We did the ride with no problems, but elbow still not 100%. Well, I say no problems, but it was Sussex and bloody hilly!

Tuesday 10th April

Went to work as normal, but whilst there I was still somewhat concerned about the possible bend so contacted London Diving Chamber. They took me in, put me in the pot, and before we'd even got to the maximum depth my painful elbow had subsided, which told me it was most definitely a bend.

I ended up on RNT* 62 (about five and a half hours, give or take) with a follow up session the next day on RNT 66 (about two and a half hours give or take).

I haven't yet explained, that right from the start of this I was concerned I may have had a bend and by Tuesday I was so fed up with the "am I, aren't I" going through my head I made the call.
*Royal Navy Treatment

Moral of the story

It's easy to do and may just save your life, or at the very least prevent you spending your older years being doubled up.

The London and Midlands Diving Chamber Teams' 24 Hour Advice Line: 07940 353 816.
Nautilus Lifeline

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