Is it a bird…is it a plane…
No it’s a PFO… well according to the cardiologist report ‘a three speck of CFM may suggest a pinhole connection late diastole’ so whatever is going on it is very very very small which is just about the best possible diagnosis I could have hoped for. ALTHOUGH the more I research the more I discover next to nothing is really known about what causes decompression illness in some people and not in others including in those who have similar dive profiles and those who have and do not have confirmed PFO. Theories abound but studies prove and disprove them in equal measure.
On the one side: While I was out of the water before leaving Lembongan another diver suffered suspected skin bends and has since gone on to have a diagnosis of PFO confirmed.
And then the other: While we were buying my new BCD (Buoyancy control device, the jacket you wear while diving) at Ocean Leisure in London we met the lovely John Bantin, diver and author extraordinaire, who told us a story of a lady who had suffered with decompression illness and subsequently been diagnosed with PFO. She underwent the procedure to close the hole and once fully recovered went diving in the Philippines and suffered such a large decompression event (not just skin bends) that she was stuck there for three months receiving treatment!
So yep, who knows…my plan moving forward is to keep researching and to eat dark chocolate before every dive – well if that’s what research says I should do it would be rude of me not to. I’ll dive conservatively staying above twenty metres as a rule, keeping my dives to around forty to fifty minutes rather than fifty to sixty, diving nitrox on air tables and taking longer safety stops during my very slow ascents. All of which are pretty sensible things to do anyway. Yes it bars a career in deep or tec diving but that’s not the end of the world nor something I was interested in anyway.
Me, I’m glad I can move on with researching where to complete my PADI Instructor Development course, a little wiser and none the wiser all at the same time Xx