- Reaction score
- Durham, North Carolina
I submit for consideration that the 20' to 0' to 30' cycle with only seconds on the surface at 0' had a definite effect. The symptoms I felt on the descent (A "foggy dream-like thinking state" that I had to push through) certainly sound like descriptions I read elsewhere of nitrogen narcosis.
Whether it was nitrogen on the brain, or adrenaline, or just being 43-years-old - Whatever it was, that post-CESA descent was dramatically different from the other 4 descents I did that weekend. I suspect it had something to do with attempting to descend ALMOST IMMEDIATELY after the CESA ascent.
If I had a dive computer on my wrist, that would have helped. If I had drilled equalization to the point that it was a muscle memory skill, that would have helped. (It's one thing to answer a question correctly on a quiz, or to show your instructor that you can pinch your nose and exhale. It's another to do the right thing while descending from 10' to 15' in a matter of seconds while something else is going wrong. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had a prepared descent routine for equalization that I had actively practiced.)
I submit that a 2-3 minute rest on the surface after my CESA would have helped also. For instance, I knew that one should always ascend if there's an issue with equalization - but again, the "foggy dream-like state" interfered with my ability to conduct the descent correctly.
And that's been my main objective in posting here. A chain of unfortunate events lined up to result in a significant injury. I contend that a rest period on the surface after my CESA would have broken one of the links in the chain leading up to the injury.
@Ken Fischer , I concur with the other posters who have said that it is highly unlikely that you were suffering from nitrogen narcosis. There are a few potential explanations for the foggy feeling that do not involve that. Neurological symptoms immediately after a practice or actual CESA would be more concerning for arterial gas embolism, though if you were asymptomatic after surfacing the second time, that would be low on the differential. Way down the list, but a possibility, would be a bony dehiscence (area of missing or underdeveloped bone) between a sinus and the brain, which could lead to neurological symptoms if the sinus does not equalize properly.
It's also not unheard of to experience a mental "fogginess" during periods of vertigo, likely attributable to anxiety as you suggested in your first post; you could have had some momentary alternobaric vertigo that resolved on its own. You also could have become hypercapnic (too much CO2 in your body) on your second descent if you were having difficulty equalizing, felt anxious, and overbreathed your regulator. I would look at one of these two as the most likely explanation, though you didn't report a headache, which is one of the hallmarks of hypercapnia. You almost certainly were not narced though.