20 May 2006


Submitted by Karl Hagen
Home from Cozumel (the trip was my wife's birthday/anniversary present to me) where we went diving and snorkling. It's a great place, although still quite battered from Hurricane Wilma. Most of the trees are still largely denuded of their leaves, and the reefs, especially the shallow ones, have really suffered. They're covered with sand. I came home with a ruptured eardrum. I was diving on the last day--we went down to about 65 feet on the second dive. On the way up, though, I couldn't get the air to clear from my right ear. The pressure just kept building up. If you have trouble equalizing on the way down, you just scrub the dive, but there's not much you can do when you're already at depth. You have to come up, after all. So I ascended, and eventually I felt the pressure release, and the pain went away. I thought no more of it until the plane ride home. Then my ear really started to hurt. It too, eventually cleared, but this time I had some blood coming out of my ear. (Usually a sign that the eardrum has been ruptured.) So after we got back, I went off to the emergency room, where, as you might expect, I had to wait forever to be seen. (seven hours, and I was lucky, I think. Some had been there more than twelve). Sure enough, the eardrum was ruptured. It's healing, but I have very muffled hearing in the right ear for the moment. As I was telling my wife, it's a foretaste of what she can expect in 40 years or so. ("What? Say that again?"...)