Last night Sofia told me she’s going to be starting scuba diving lessons so she can go while we’re in Costa Rica. Apparently there’s a scuba/snorkel day that I never noticed when I was looking at the trip description. Sof missed it too – it was her aunt that noticed it and offered to pay for her classes. But me, I’ll just be snorkeling. It’s a bummer but the truth is I can’t get my scuba license because a. lessons are way too expensive and b. I’m afraid I’ll die if I do scuba.

Part b of that last sentence may have looked weird to you, but it’s the truth. It all started two years ago when Donald and I went to Australia. I had planned a week-long stay on a scuba boat out on the Great Barrier Reef for us to learn to scuba and get our certificates. But in Australia they make you get a physical before you can even get on the boat. I thought this would be no problem, until I got my physical. The physical consisted of them weighing me (no problem there), making me blow into a machine to measure my lung capacity, and having a doctor look me over.

When I went in to see the doctor he was already concerned because I guess I didn’t blow hard enough in the machine. He kept asking me about asthma and if I smoked – neither of which I do. So then he pulls out his stethoscope to listen to my heart, but when he gets to my back he stops cold. I was wearing a tank top that day and he could see a scar running up my back and he asked what it was from. Truth was, I wasn’t actually sure what kind of surgery I’d had. It was called “exploratory,” but the scar I have, which runs from the top of my right shoulder blade all the way around my shoulder blade to under my right arm, is a scar of a someone who’s had open-heart surgery as a baby. But because I couldn’t tell him what the surgery was for he had to assume it was for heart or lung surgery, deeming me “permanently unfit.”

See, when you go under water to great depths the water puts pressure on your body, then when you resurface the pressure is released. If you have any scar tissue on your heart or lungs and you resurface too quickly the pressure release can cause your scar tissue to burst – and you can die. Now, I’ve been told by plenty of people that I could still get my scuba license here in the US because my permanently unfit status isn’t kept on file anywhere, but I’m not sure I really want to take that chance. What if I got my license, went scuba diving in Costa Rica and my scar tissue explodes and I die? Maybe the government, or the scuba certifiers, don’t know about my unfit status but I know and that’s just as bad right?

I’ve also been told that scar tissue isn’t as week once you’ve had it for a large number of years because it becomes like regular skin. Well, I’ve had mine for 25 years (since I was 2 days old) so I suppose that’s longer than most people have had a scar, but I’m still worried.

Regardless, I’m still bummed that I’ll be snorkeling in Costa Rica while everyone else will be swimming with the sea turtles.

PS Speaking of Costa Rica, I got another donation to my trip fund! Chason donated $20 this week so now I’m up to $1047! Only $1453 left to save. Remember you can donate by going to my front page and clicking on the “make a donation” button. All donations are tax deductible.

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