Ear Ye: Doin a Van Gogh

For eight years now, I have been scuba-diving. I started out as an Open Water Scuba diver, then a year later, got my Advanced ticket. My passion for scuba diving has seen me undergo weekends of training and diving all over the world. I am so enamoured by scuba diving, that I learnt all about search and rescue techniques, first-aid, navigation, scuba diving gases and lots more, working my way up to become a Master Scuba Diver.

The hubster is my scuba diving buddy and we have been to Indonesia, Maldives, Egypt and Oman to scuba dive. We are also going to Jordan in two weeks which will include a scuba diving trip to Aqaba. In fact, just yesterday I dived at the Dubai Mall Aquarium and next year, the hubster and I are planning a scuba diving holiday to Palau and Truk (Micronesia).

My obvious passion for scuba diving has seen me undergo my Dive Master ticket whereby I can get paid for diving! Finalising this ticket has taken a lot longer than I had hoped. I started in Perth, then when undergoing IVF I had to stop for a while, then winter came along and the hubster got news we would be going to Abu Dhabi.

I was mid-way through my skill tests when our focus clearly changed to packing up, shipping out and starting a new life in the Middle East. It took about two months to settle into our new surroundings, before the urge to scuba dive again came over me. The hubster and I searched high and low for a reputable dive school – taking another few months – and then we found it! Al Mahara Diving Center. After finalising my Dive Master Exams with my school in Perth, I arranged for a transfer to Abu Dhabi. Both centers were fortunately happy to comply.

In order to take the next steps however, Al Mahara requested that I update my medical clearance and first aid skills. Fair enough too… they were about four years old. The only problem was, I was now being treated for bipolar – a condition that was only discovered in me just under two years ago. The first two doctors I saw in Abu Dhabi (who were PADI qualified) were unwilling to sign off my clearance due to concerns that the medication has unwanted side effects that may be dangerous when diving. Despite the fact that I am on the lowest dose possible, that the world diving regulations do not automatically dismiss a diver when on this medication, and that I do not have these side effects, the doctors were unwilling to succumb to my pleas.

I finally found a doctor who willing to look into the situation further and happy to sign off on the clearance! He is German and very thorough. I even had an ECG test which I had never had before in all of my years of diving. Finally, he checked my ears. Hmmmmm…. there appears to be an issue with my left ear-drum. For eight years, I had complained to doctors of slight pain in my left ear when diving. They had never found an issue!

I may have a small hole in my left eardrum and I have been told to see a ENT specialist. The bipolar and mind issue I can deal with – a hole in my eardrum I can not. Scuba diving has been my lifeline. When all has gone to crap, scuba diving has been there to get me out of the funk. It has been my back-up plan if my last ever IVF treatment in December fails!!!

Knowing all this, there is only one solution I can think of (okay there are many but I am not letting facts get in the way of a good blog story! I am going to have to do a Van Gogh! While in Amsterdam, I visited the Van Gogh museum. I was amazed at this man’s life! It is a fitting way to recognise him and my own passion! Like Van Gogh, it is the left ear!

I will update you on my progress! 🙂