Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scuba Diva

Ignore the hand signals. This person is not okay.

Getting certified for scuba diving was one of the best things I've ever done because it resulted in me getting up close to the reefs in Grand Cayman and Cozumel--experiences that were amazing and unforgettable. But the actual certifying process was fraught (fraught I tell you!) with difficulty. It was also very revealing.

"My name is Edith, and I have an "attention seeking personality disorder."

Right from the start I singled myself out from the rest of the class. It was easy. I just popped back up as soon as I could so the instructor would have to come help me personally. For the rest of that class I was the proud recipient of several comments like these: "What claustrophobia?! You're doing fine!" "Are you a plant from the Salt Lake Class?"

You'd never know that I tried to keep a low profile during the next class. Not with my dramatic clawing for the surface from 15 feet down after I forgot how to clear the regulator before re-inserting it and breathed in pool water. My sister and I came back for extra practice after that--simply another way to get more attention, I assure you.

I could have complained about the question they marked wrong on our first written test that I actually got CORRECT, but you know, I was really trying to get this thing under control.

But with the end of the course in sight, I managed to create a truly attention-getting scenario. For our Thursday night class I began developing a cold sore. Friday I was sick and exhausted--and that's when my tooth began to hurt. On Sunday my face began to swell. After lots of internet research and several long-distance phone consultations with my favorite dentist (Thanks, Joey!) I was pretty sure I needed a root canal. On Monday my local dentist confirmed it and said she could do the first part then, and the second part on Thursday. But our last dive was scheduled for Tuesday night, and you can't dive with a partial root canal. Your tooth is liable to implode.
That's when I called our divemaster, Greg, to see if, by any chance, there was a group going to dive on Friday? Or even Thursday night? He informed me that I should have gone with his group that went on the previous Saturday. Yes, that WOULD have been better. Let's do that.
Then I remembered that you are not allowed to dive within 18 hours of flying. Since we were flying out Saturday, a Friday dive wouldn't work anyway.
After a flurry of phone calls and consultations with every medical person I know, my brother-in-law Mike set me up for an appointment with his brother, the endodontist, for Tuesday afternoon. Endodontists are not as conservative as dentists; they do the whole root canal in one go. I was only hoping I'd still be up for a dive after that.
It was a little awkward unscheduling with my dentist in favor of a "professional." But it was worth it. The appointment was fast and, after the numbing shots, painless. Lucky for me, I guess, my tooth was already dead.
When I left an hour later I wasn't able to smile like I wanted to, but I was humming inside with relief that I'd get to do my last certification dive. And you might think that that would be the end of my pathetic plea for attention. Not at all.

Diving in the Homestead Crater is wonderful because the body temperature water is fully enclosed by rock walls--no currents and no creatures to add complications. And it would have been wonderfully uneventful but for two things--somehow my hubbuddy and I managed to get ourselves down to forty-six feet before Greg hauled us back up to our 40 foot limit. (We got a scolding for that.) And partway through the dive my knee joints and forearms began to feel a little odd. Like they were cold, or cramping or something. By the end of our dive they felt positively buzzy.* And even though I just really wanted to forget about it and go blithely on to our family vacation, I felt like I had to mention it, just in case it was the bends.

Greg swore. And began to tell me just how much I DID NOT WANT to have the bends. And that's when I knew I'd gotten his attention! And that I needed help to overcome my disorder. And that's my story. Thank you for your kind attention."

*Pretty sure it was a combination of dental medication, exhaustion, and malnutrition from five days of being sick and mouth-sore. It went away slowly over the next few hours. And the lightheadedness, which I didn't mention, went away right after we ate our late dinner.


JennyHP said...

So glad you got it all in and got to scuba. It was SO FUN!!

Katie said...

how convenient for you to have all those tribulations while you were in scuba class. that really is the best way to get attention. and it was totally worth it right? you are funny funny. and you dove beautifully by the way. you could see your lovely lashes through your goggles as you calmly and gracefully breathed and swam. hey, speaking of attention seeking - check out your florescent yellow wet suit. :-)

kate said...

hee hee!!! so glad you got to do it. way to persevere. or seek attention or whatever. :)

victoria said...

Ha, ha. And I was there to see it all. I did a little attention seeking myself. (and my kids are seeking attention - wv: mommama!)