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Chris Collings

ISSUE 5 ARCHIVE - AT THE CHAMBER

Chris Collings

For a new diver like me, being underwater in Sharm is enchanting, little fish, big fish, coral, reef contours, loads of stuff. While being enchanted at 10m I saw my buddy wife sinking downwards fast but, to my surprise, she didn't hit sand. Watching her neoprene bottom fall further below it dawned that, as one of nature's athletes, she was hovering while I was shooting upwards. The surface and I met briefly and when I got back down to buddy level, I coupled a squirt of jacket inflation with chest expansion and again shot aloft from my hovering wife's wry gaze. I went up to the surface twice in a short space of time. Bother. After that, little fish, big fish, coral, reef contours, loads of stuff.

Rameses' Revenge kicked in that afternoon and the world fell out of my bottom. I regretted lunch, reviled the unknown chef and nursed an upset stomach with a side order of headache though, happily, the demon drink played no part in this sorry tale. After most of a night's sleep, what I thought was plenty of water overnight and a good breakfast I took mental stock. I decided I was ready to dive that day for the peak performance buoyancy course booked after my graceless yo-yo moves and then dived again the next day. We followed up with loads of no-dive time before flying back to UK.
Ocean Visions
At home, lying in bed and thinking how long the lawn had grown while we were diving; it probably wouldn't get mown that day because of the rain. What to do instead? An opportunity to phone the London Diving Chamber and talk about three days of tingling in my elbow and knee since the uncomfortable flight back. No sooner said than rung, discussed with the doctor and invited to come in for a check.
A couple of hours later, to allow for breakfast and driving to London, Ben welcomed me for some intro paperwork, name, postcode; they keep it simple. Diving doctor, Eric examined me and discussed the sudden surfacing, dehydration, and age implications. The symptoms apparently did not show definite DCI, so maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, maybe time in the chamber would be a benefit, maybe not. I changed into scrubs and looked mighty good, so no apparent ego damage. Then Ben gave me a chamber briefing as a distraction while Matt and Rob counted the valves, twice. I just had time for a rummage in their assorted collection of modern classics, manly magazines and colouring-in books to keep me amused for the coming six hours in the chamber.

Ben and Matt manned the desk, valves and teapot outside the chamber, while Rob joined me inside so he could revise for his physics exam, apparently he is still single. Inside the chamber? Well, a bit like a caravan holiday in Wales; raining outside while inside basic but mostly comfortable, chilly but plenty of blankets, distraction-free time for reading, lunch and tea breaks. In fact, better than a holiday in Wales because there was no choir, no sheep and it didn't go on as long.

After the six hour treatment the tingling in the elbow and knee had gone, though it returned that evening and was gone again by the following morning; I'm told that echo effect can be expected. Back to the chamber for a pre-planned therapeutic treatment and, still looking good in scrubs, a swift hour and a half under pressure then up to the surface for a medical. Since the treatment I'm feeling good and the elbow and knee tingling has not returned. Was it DCI? Possibly. Was I right to go to London Diving Chamber instead of mowing the lawn that morning? Definitely. And the best thing? Through it all no one said I was too old and too stupid to dive again. Thanks guys.
Catfish Dive & Safari

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