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Ben, Singing


William Maurice Borthwick

A monkey can drive a recompression chamber. It can also fly a plane and drive a car. Let's face it, if the various governing bodies would allow it, they'd probably be doing both right now. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... perhaps I'm just admiring the talents of our jungle loving evolutionary cousins (or surprisingly similar clay moulds for the over 50% of Americans who want to pull Darwin's beard); or perhaps I'm trying to point out, badly, that running a machine is more than just operating the controls. That, at least is the justification we, the dedicated team of hyperbaric professionals at LDC and MDC, use to get us through the day, and to stop society from replacing us with primates. Foolishly, the editor of this magazine gave us, the said dedicated team, an opportunity to walk you, the intrepid UK diver, around life behind the scenes in our little corner of the UK diving industry, so hold onto your hats! Alright, it's not actually that exiting, but I'm going to tell you anyway.
Dive Worldwide PNG
Robbie at the Wheel Our role, in the great game, is a carefully knotted link in the safety net comprising of the coast guard, the ambulance and all the other emergency services that are there to support you should you step a little too far outside your comfort zone, have an equipment failure, or are just generally unlucky (because, as we all know, you can still get DCI on a conservative dive). The process generally starts when the phone rings. There are two phones, manned 24 hours by our staff, if for some reason the team member can't reach the primary phone (stop it you filthy minded people) the call is diverted to the second phone, backed up again by voice mail. The genial person who answers the phone is experienced and well versed in most aspects of diving and diving medicine. When they answer the phone they will generally say something along the lines of, "London and Midlands Diving Chamber, X speaking." Yes, they are there to answer your query, but what they are really saying is "I love you". That's right, I said it, we love you all. Not in a freaky perverse way, alright maybe a little bit perverse, but mainly in the way a tradesman loves a callout to a domestic emergency. We love you at 5 o'clock on Friday, when the phone rings just after we've just fought are way home through Friday traffic, sat on the sofa with our child on our laps, boiled the kettle and settled down to watch England win the ashes ( b*****ds). We love you when you ring at midnight on a Saturday to book a medical, or 4.30am Sunday morning from A&E because you have a slight cough and a sniffle and were treated for DCI three weeks ago. The fact is we love you, because at the end of the day we would rather you called than sat on the problem and worried about it, because the longer you leave it, the more you dive on it, the worse things get and the longer the recovery, so if you're in any doubt, call us, we love you.
The Underwater Channel
If necessity demands, the person on the phone will refer your information to a qualified and experienced diving doctor. We'll get you in for an examination, as required and then we will treat you as necessary. The treatment is like a six hour plane flight. You get food, a toilet, the pleasurable company of your own personal tender and all the books and magazines you can read, or pillows, a blanket and a bunk to sleep on. You may even find it educational! We try to answer all your questions and if we can't, we will find out the answer. During the treatment we will constantly get updates on your medical condition from yourself and the tender, and make many bad jokes. Whilst you're inside the chamber with the tender recovering, your treatment will be supervised by our team of highly trained and experienced technicians who will ensure your environment is comfortable and that all the pressures and levels are correct. At the end of the treatment, like the plumber who successfully flushes the toilet, or the electrician who flicks the switch and the lights come on, we get satisfaction from a job well done when you step out of the chamber and tell us you're feeling good.

So, to all you fellow water sports enthusiasts, we hope one day the water is clear and warm at Stoney, or that the slack tide lasts that little bit longer on the silty wreck. We hope that next summer the wet and windy weather saves itself for during the week, or France and the basking sharks stop being so damn shy. If you need us we are here at the other end of the phone to answer questions and settle your nerves... just in case...

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