On Sunday 11 of our members attended the Dry Dive session in the Hyperbaric chamber near Liverpool. The morning began with an explanation of the work done at the chamber (accompanied by some gratuitous gory photo’s of injuries). The chamber operates 24/7, 365 days a year with the majority of their work being to aid healing following injury, fire, or other trauma.
Diving incidents account for a very small percentage of their cases but the telephone is manned the whole time by someone able to give advice if anyone suspects DCI. The message I got was that if you feel ill after a dive, call the chamber for advice rather than your doctor or hospital, since diving medicine does not form part of general medical training. If you are taken to hospital then ask them to call the chamber before you let them chop anything off.
After the initial sick making intro we were given a very good, easy to understand, talk about what DCI is and how to try to prevent it. This was basically an extension of BSAC Ocean Diver training which highlighted yet more ways you can die when diving. After the lectures we moved down to the chamber for our ‘dive’. We had been warned that you get hot on the way down and very cold on the way up but I think this was exaggerated somewhat. There was a temperature change but it didn’t involve anyone stripping to nothing on the way down (disappointing for Joe who had his camera ready to go) or dressing for the arctic on the way back up. We dived to 40 metres when one of our party felt chest pains. Not funny for the individual concerned but Joe’s voice as he explained it to the operator outside had us in stitches. Have you seen Alvin and the chipmunks?
Anyway, we’d all experienced a bit of narcosis, and most of us sang Happy Birthday to Garry and made fools of ourselves giggling and talking nonsense. Although we went to 40 metres our computers showed anything down to 42 metres which is on the right side for safety. If the opportunity to do this comes up again I would definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been before.