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Thread: Scuba diving

  1. #1
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
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    Scuba diving

    Anyone here doin it?

    I used to, but have no interest post SCI. I know many out there w/SCI do it, but I strongly recommend against it.

    I had more than a few close calls before my SCI that came up unexpectedly and could not have been foreseen. Had I not had the use of my legs I surely would have drowned.

    I think it's a serious mistake to say to yourself "it's OK because there's a dive master watching out for me." The term "dive master" seems to evoke in people's minds that these "dive masters" are capable of saving them in any situation save for a large shark attack. I can tell you there are situations no dive master or any human for that matter could save you from.

    Having SCI typically means there is some issue in the torso compromised by the SCI. Lower SCI folks are better off than those of us with higher injuries. If you're a higher person and you have a compromised diaphram you're really asking for trouble and one day you'll get it and probably won't survive it. It doesn't take much and you could be surrounded by 10 "dive masters" and there'd be nothing they could do. What's more they might not even know you are drowning till it's too late. All it takes is enough exertion that you begin to gasp for air and you're all done. To see what this is like try taking a tank and regulator for a quick sprint down the street while breathing through the regulator with a mask on. Don't stop till you're breathing hard then continue another 50 yards. Once you've reached that point stop and try to catch your breath. You probably won't without taking the regulator out of your mouth. Now ask yourself what could happen under water that could cause me to need to either swim fast for say 20 yards or struggle to free yourself from something? Either of these situations could spell the end for you. A dive master or aquaman won't be able to help you once you start to gasp for air and the deeper you are the worse it is.

    Just some food for thought...
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

  2. #2
    Senior Member medic1's Avatar
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    I think you bring up very good points. Yet, are we suppose to stop living because of our disability? There are safe ways of doing things. And yes anyone at any time can end up in a situation that can cause you harm. In fact, isnt that why most of us are in the situation we are in to begin with? When I was at Shepherd Center they introduced the idea of Scuba diving it was awsome to see quads be able to get in and feel free. There is a special class to take for scuba diving and they go over the aspects needed to be touched on when diving with a disability. I guess anything in life can lead to injury or situations that will hurt us, I guess it is all in how you want to live your life.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lurch's Avatar
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    I still intend to dust off my diving gear at some point and give it a go.
    I was actually working on my dive instructors license when I had my accident so that experience should count for something. Clearly there are different levels of danger in scuba diving depending on conditions,ie visability,tidal run,depth of water etc. Many AB individuals have died by overestimating their abilities and experience. As I stated in another recent, water related post I think the most important thing for an sci individual engaging in any watersport is to have achieved a sense of confidence in the water .
    The one factor that is most likely to result in elevated heart rate and heavy breathing is panic ,and the problem increases exponentially the more panicked you become .

  4. #4
    I worry less about my breathing than getting cold and having my one good hand lock up. I'll be going again, it's a matter of finances and locale holding me back.

    Cody Unser did tell me not to try drift diving...bye bye Cozumel.

    Stylin' Moe is right, you can't count on the divemaster. It was insanity to count on them as an AB advanced diver too. They are more like sheepherders...or day-care employees.
    Last edited by betheny; 10-26-2005 at 10:56 PM.

  5. #5

    interesting

    points made there.

    i want to go scuba, and the last thing on my mind will be those. however, if i get into difficulties that may cause my death.. atleast i know or hope i know ill die doing stuff that i wanted to do and made me happy.

    im C7 and used to swim regulary in the pool and practice underwater a few yrs ago now. took some getting used to, but i found the best thing was to relax. yeajh i swallowed water and found it difficult to stop in the middle of the pool and attempt to cough up the fluid in my lungs that i sucked in, but why let one thing stop me from enjoying do what i like.

    hopefully i can secure funding to get an openwater cert, but then next question for me would be.. where the bleep am i going to go diving. Do boats need to be set up with a hoist or just make sure theres enough people to help get me in/out of the water.

  6. #6
    Senior Member medic1's Avatar
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    You can go on any dive boat you would like, some are accessible some are not. Make sure you have enough people to lift you. I would encourage you to contact Shepherd center for information on scuba diving. They have group trips every year. This year I know they were going to florida and swimming with the manatees (sp). The course you take for scuba diving with a disability is different than an AB course. The nice thing about shepherd is they provide the buddy swimmers for the outings. Depending on your function determines how many buddy's you have. They also certify people at Shepherd for scuba diving. There pool looked awsome, unfortunatly it was being renovated when I was there. They have one end of the pool deep enough to do scuba diving.

  7. #7
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwee
    points made there.

    i want to go scuba, and the last thing on my mind will be those. however, if i get into difficulties that may cause my death.. atleast i know or hope i know ill die doing stuff that i wanted to do and made me happy.

    im C7 and used to swim regulary in the pool and practice underwater a few yrs ago now. took some getting used to, but i found the best thing was to relax. yeajh i swallowed water and found it difficult to stop in the middle of the pool and attempt to cough up the fluid in my lungs that i sucked in, but why let one thing stop me from enjoying do what i like.

    hopefully i can secure funding to get an openwater cert, but then next question for me would be.. where the bleep am i going to go diving. Do boats need to be set up with a hoist or just make sure theres enough people to help get me in/out of the water.

    I used to say the same thing to myself..."i'll die doing stuff that i wanted to do and made me happy"...as I raced motocross. I never dreamt it could horribly injure me in this way. Point being, what if you're not killed but embolize and survive to come away with a brain injury that leaves you aware enough to know what's going on, but unable to communicate as a normal person anymore essentially rendering you as an aware vegetable.

    A good point was made about approaching it cautiously. I think if you were an active or certified diver prior to SCI you know better than someone that's trying it for the first time with SCI, what can happen and what to look out for. Someone with pre SCI scuba experience is in a much better position than the person just starting out post SCI.

    As mentioned by lurch, panic is a very real and dangerous enemy. I disagree that it's "the most likely factor to elevate heart rate and breathing", but it certainly will help that process along once you've already found yourself in a situation that's elevated your heart rate and breathing. Once your heart rate is up and breathing is labored you're in serious trouble. Then panic sets in and you're beyond trouble and entering what may very well be your last moments here on earth.

    I say this from experience. I was in 75 feet of water just off Catalina Island diving with two buddies. We were spear fishing and bug hunting. One buddy continued to swim deeper and out to see in his pursuit of a juicy and fat Sheepshead. Visibility was excellent, about 100 feet that day. He was not aware how far from us he was and was heading into a deep darkness. We could barely see him when I decided to go after him. Myself and my other buddy were removing a fish from my speargun when we watched him swim off so I motioned to him that I was going after him and he would stay put and watch us both. I sprinted to try and catch up and did, but once there I was huffing and puffing like a 400 lb 85 year old man running for the early bird special. We turned around and headed back toward my other buddy as I was still gasping for air. I stopped short and just sat on the bottom, on my knees trying to calm my heart rate and breathing. It wasn't working. I gave it another 2 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, but still was unable to get caught up. Now panic begins to creep in. I looked up to see how far the surface was and it looked like a mile. Panic had cleared another hurdle on it's way to taking me. My buddies could see me and knew something was wrong. They approached and I gave the signal I wasn't alright then motioned I was going for the surface. At this point I had to literally bite down as hard as I could on my regulator to keep from ripping it out of my mouth and gasping for air. It's an automatic response that panic will try to convince you it's OK to do. Panic has come to take you now. It took every bit of strength I have to keep from yanking that regulator out of my mouth. 5 feet before I broke the surface I inflated my BC, yanked the regulator and shot for the surface. As soon as I burst out I gasped and gulped for air. It only took about 4 deep breaths to get caught up. I was wiped out and now about 400 yards from the boat. I began a slow kick on my back toward the boat.

    Yes panic is deadly, but usually after you've already immersed yourself in trouble to begin with.

    My son is 4 right now. I hope to have successfully gone through some sort of treatment that will restore some of my function by the time he's 12 or 13ish so I can join him in a dive somewhere.

    Beware and be safe...
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
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    This is a link from my therapy center about scuba diving check it out http://www.richealthfit.org/programs/scuba.htm I cant do it cause my doctor said no but I know guys who did and said it was awesome.

    JJ

  9. #9
    I got my open certification post SCI.

    I have to disagree with you moe. If one lives like they'll be hit by a bus post SCI why bother living at all?

    I see your points. They are valid. You have different experiences as we all do. Discouraging someone isn't my way. Giving them a heads up is.

    I find I am more safety nazi with my neices and nephews around pools, trampolines, getting in cars etc. too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
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    I here ya Liz and I agree a heads up is probably more appropriate. Please don't forget the ocean is a very unpredictable and hostile environment. It's only tranquil for very short periods of time.

    I'm glad you've enjoyed your experience thus far. It's a terrific sport, but in my eyes it's an extremely dangerous proposition for someone with SCI. I don't think the opportunity should be outlawed however.
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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