Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mission Unaccomplished... well, kinda...

I finally bit the bullet and did it... I went to Perhentian Island with the aim of securing a license as an Open Water Diver. But my nerves had other ideas. Literally.

The story starts about a year back, when I was diagnosed with Cervical Spondylosis:

Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the joints in your neck. Also known as cervical osteoarthritis, this condition usually appears in men and women older than 40 and progresses with age. Although cervical spondylosis affects both sexes equally, men usually develop it at an earlier age than women do. --

The result of my affliction are very confused nerves and an extremely knotted neck. Since the diagnosis, I have diligently strengthened the neck muscles with a morning ritual of neck stretches that relaxes me so much, I normally feel like crawling back into bed for a snooze. Hence, I had not given it a first thought, let alone a second, on how it would affect me on a dive adventure.

So, off I went to Perhentian (with mother in tow... a tale that I will leave for another day) and went through the first day with a breeze. On the second morning, it caught up with me. Although I didn't know it at the time, lugging 25kg worth of equipment strapped to my back would have a consequence that finally bear some painful results. Not sure of what I had done to trigger it, I had an excruciating pain shoot through my head like a bullet and if were indeed a bullet, I swear it would have gone through the roof of the head. This happened underwater and when I surfaced, I just about threw up everything except the tail ends of my intestines...

The symptoms were consistent with that of a migraine attack but the difference was that it did not last as long. I was ok after a chuck and a rest and continued again with another dive with no more problems for the rest of the day. Day 3 was a carbon copy of Day 2; it happened again in the morning and by evening I was good enough to continue with the best experience I have had yet with diving... I saw Nemo at home in a spot called Tukas Dalam and that was one modest mission accomplished.

Last day rolls around and I pass theory with flying colours. Time for the final dive and just TWO more skills to perform. We went out to Shark Point, I jumped off the boat first, gear and all. And while I waited for the rest, out of the clear blue sky, it happened again. And this time it was so bad that I knew I had to abort any further thought of diving for the rest of my last day on the island.

With two skills still incomplete, I am a certified Scuba Diver but not yet good enough to dive in Open Water. Now, I know what being caught in limbo means.

After consulting the doctor who first spotted my Spondylosis, my conclusion is that this blog entry is not yet ended. I shall have another one to write come September. But for now, I shall let Spondylosis rest in limbo.