So Baxter says “Let’s all go to the Midlands Diving Chamber and do a 50m dry dive”… and we did. Well, dry for some of us but more of that later.
The Midlands Diving Chamber is a hyperbaric decompression chamber offering NHS funded recompression to divers with Decompression Illness (DCI) together with other Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments. The chamber specialises in Diving Medicine and provides a 24 hour centre with everything a diver could need from a medical facility.
We were warmly welcomed by the staff, who had coffee and biscuits ready to go in exchange for our health forms and dive computers. Before we knew it, we were all dressed in unfamiliar scrubs and looked like rejects from Holby City. The briefing was incredible – we all learned lots about DCI and its treatment both in the UK (hooray) and in some overseas locations (boo). The best tale was of a DCI sufferer needing the loo, and the ‘medical’ team simply opening the door. Not much pressure there…
And then it was time to get into the chamber. Some more instructions, and then the pressure started to build. The difference between pressurised air and water is immense; we were all really feeling the build up, to be told we hadn’t reached 3m! After 3m there was less need to equalise so frequently, but the temperature started climbing toward a maximum of 32 degrees.
By the time we reached 30m we were all talking like we’d been breathing helium. At 50m depth, we had some challenges to do – which slowed us down – and we did a few experiments involving balloons. Mike was really enjoying himself, splashing people with water and grinning a lot.
Coming back up involved a huge amount of condensation and a big drop in temperature. At 6m, we were onto the oxygen for 23 minutes to counter the nitrogen in our systems.
Soon enough, we were all back at surface pressure, ready to have our final checks while the system was explained.
A brilliant experience, with lots of learning and a really informative team.
Thanks guys, and a big thanks to Baxter for organising.