Diving and Scuba Diving

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Diving and Scuba Diving

A group for people with diabetes that are interested in diving, scuba diving, snorkeling, and the likes.

Members: 66
Latest Activity: Jul 19

Diabetes Forum

Kids w/ T1D and scuba diving

Started by Janette. Last reply by Janette Apr 19, 2013. 13 Replies

Scuba and the OmniPod

Started by mmom. Last reply by jbowler Dec 16, 2012. 7 Replies

Its Official

Started by diadiver. Last reply by Joan Nov 5, 2012. 2 Replies

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Comment by diadiver on June 24, 2014 at 2:48pm

Glad to hear you're still alive too Rock! You up in Canada here still? I'm in Halifax now if you're up this way. First beer on me.

Getting a medical was a trade off. I'm a human guinea pig now. My endo, who is also my hyperbaric physician, made a water proof box for a wireless CGM. We're gonna give it a go next time I'm up his way outside of normal working hours. I'll let ya know how it goes.

I've been hearing they are letting Iphones and e-readers in sat now. They are not "allowed" per se, but everyone looks the other way. I can't confirm either way. I stay close to the daylight :)

Along the same lines on what you were saying though on pressure effects, there was an IMCA safety flash created when someone was injured from a thermos cup coming out of sat and then exploded.

Here's the PDF link for the safety flash: http://www.imca-int.com/media/145917/imcasf07-14amended.pdf

Comment by Rock on June 24, 2014 at 2:30pm

Good to see that Cooter is still alive and kicking. While I agree that an electronic glucose meter will work in a shallow water habitat, there is no electronic equipment of any kind that will work in a mixed gas chamber at 300 feet. That includes glucose meters and insulin pumps. The pressure will crush the displays. Anything that goes into a chamber at that depth has to be specially designed to withstand the pressure.

Cooter's experience with variations in glucose levels while diving match my own. I also carry a CamelBak, and use it to moisten my throat during those long decompression dives. If you are diving scuba gear, it might pay to practice drinking out of it in a swimming pool. Problem solved if you are wearing a Superlight hard hat or a Kirby-Morgan bandmask like the old pros use.

My sugars tend to stay pretty much the same if I am goofing around and watching the fish and taking "I was there" photos with my dive buddies. They tend to drop if I am swimming hard after a redtail snapper or a grouper with my speargun. Hey, you have to bring dinner home if you are going to spend all this money on a diving trip.

It was good to hear that Cooter was able to maintain his certification and keep working. Diabetics get shut out of so many things, mostly through the ignorance and stupidity of those that do not understand the disease. Being aware of yourself, staying in good control, watching your diet, staying in shape, all these things can help each of us lead normal lives. And the best part is that we get to see all this really cool stuff underwater!

Take care,

Rock

Comment by diadiver on June 24, 2014 at 12:24pm

Hey Fabio,

And here I was thinking I was the only diabetic in a habitat!

I agree with Rock. Leave the pump topside. When I head into the habitat for work, i have a small pelican box I put a cheap meter, strips, bottle of apple juice and pen in. Longest time in so far was 9 hours and my sugars really didn't move much from baseline. If you have access to your buddy's habitat, you can do the same.

Take the readings with a grain of salt however as the meters will likely lose their calibration the deeper they go as they are not designed for that. Our working depth is usually around 20 - 30 feet.

If I'm working outside the habitat on a normal job, i usually jack my sugars to 14mmol and limit my dives to 2 hours depending on the activity. I also have a camel pack that I either clip on or put in the hat depending on what I'm doing. I suspect this isn't going to work for you thought as I'm diving commercial gear. Rock knows the set up though!

For note: my sugars go down if I'm doing aerobic (eg. swimming in current) and go up if I'm doing anaerobic (eg. ship husbandry stuff slugging my guts out, lifting, etc.)

Good luck and safe diving!

Cooter

Comment by Rock on June 24, 2014 at 11:11am

Fabio,

I'm not up on all the latest stuff for getting insulin into a diabetic, but maybe some folks on here are better versed. I have been beating Type I's over the head that want to dive with an insulin pump. There is no such thing as a pressure proof insulin pump. I advise those that do go on a dive trip to shift to syringes and bottles or cartridge pens and the little needle hickeys. Hickeys is a diving technical term.

One lady on here that uses a pump takes off the pump and covers the infusion site where the tubing connector goes. She uses a waterproof plastic bandage that has covers the infusion catheter.

I have always leaned to toward errors on the side of caution, which is why I am still alive and have been diving since 1965. My suggestion is to remove the infusion set before diving and shift back to cartridge pens or bottles and syringes during a dive trip. After all, an accidental subcutaneous injection of sea water could ruin your whole day. The ER doc would be looking at you and asking, "Tell me again how you managed to do this?"

Depending on conditions and the type of gear, you might get away with leaving the infusion set alone if you dive a dry suit. No biggy, until something goes wrong, and the dry suit gets flooded. Bad ju-ju. Another diving technical term.

The other point to consider is that rubbing and chafing from a wetsuit or an equipment strap can wreak havoc on anything stuck through your skin. Most folks that use a pump have the catheter located somewhere along their waistline. Right under the waist belt on your buoyancy compensator. Uh-oh..........

I hope this addresses not only your concerns but anyone else out there that wants to give this wonderful sport a try.

Take care,

Dive safe.

Rock

Comment by Fabio Esteban on June 24, 2014 at 10:04am

One thing I have been wanted to ask. Well, I normally use my pens when I go for a week of diving, but I'm starting to swim as a regular exercise again and I was wondering if anyone has suggestions for keeping the infusion sets dry? I mean, if they get wet for a period of time, they loose their stickiness.
Any advice? thanks fe

Comment by Fabio Esteban on June 24, 2014 at 10:01am

Hey Rock,
Thanks for your response. Sounds like you are a lot more tech than me, I just love the horizontal mesophotic zone, and spend much time there, trying to capture that point where light turns to darkness, it is an amazing place. I'm sure you see it too in your deeper dives. One of our colleagues, Michael Lombardi, has designed a portable habitat for those very deep dives and even longer decos. I can send you more information, but it would be nice for you to step out of the water, have a sandwich, read a good, or just rest instead of doing long waits in cold water. Any how, There's a Mesophotic workshop in Israel in October, Google it and maybe we can meet there. Cheers. fe

Comment by Rock on June 5, 2014 at 3:50pm

All right Fabio! A fellow technical diver joins the forum! I'm not much into cave diving, but I have been doing deep dives that require decompression and using trimix. I dive a rebreather rig, which requires extra maintenance and a careful approach to assembly and pre dive safety checks. The benefit is no more narcosis and cheap trimix gas fills. Like you in a cave, I cannot surface during a decompression dive. What is worse is that if I do have to surface for an emergency, then I have to go to a recompression chamber that can handle a deep dive. There are a lot of medical chambers around that can handle 60 fsw and oxygen, but fewer and fewer chambers that are rated to 165 fsw. Which means all of us, like cave divers, are very careful folks. And, like cave divers, anyone can abort the dive for any reason at any time, no questions asked. Diabetic divers need to have this reinforced in their training.

Being a little high in the glucose range and eating a good meal before a dive is also a good practice. I have also found myself reducing my basal dose of Lantus during a vacation week when I dive every day. On a live aboard trip, I dove five times a day, two morning dives, two afternoon dives and a night dive. As I am a Type 2, my insulin demand dropped to almost nothing. Things went back to normal when I went back to work and stared at a tube all day. Sigh......

It is good to see diabetics pushing the envelope and getting into sports and adventuring and letting the rest of the world know that we can do anything. I am quite sure the medical community will be self righteously horrified at this sort of thing. I have nothing but admiration and respect for a fellow diabetic that controls the disease, instead of letting the disease control him. Bravo, Fabio, dive safe, and if your buddy bails on you, give me a call.

Rock

Comment by Fabio Esteban on June 5, 2014 at 10:09am

Hello Divers, this is my first comment or thought regarding diving and diabetes. I'm T1 and I have been training for the past 4 years on different technical and scientific diving techniques, mostly focusing in diving submerged caves. I wanted to share some thoughts about my experiences.

I personally think that a T1 diabetic should take extra carbs before diving, although it is a very relaxed activity, there are lots of associated movements, like keeping good trim/buoyancy, swimming hundreds of horizontal meters, and how about the getting in and out, carrying tanks, etc. In my experiences in diving caverns, my usual dive is about 90 minutes and in those 90 minutes I have seen my BG drop 100 to 150 units by the time I'm out. Sometimes there are multiple dive plans that occur without getting out of the water and so I have decided to bring along Clif energy gel shots during dives. Each packet contains 24 grams of Carbs which can come in handy if you are feeling low.

About feeling low, I have to say that it has only happened twice and there's no excuse, no matter how expensive or exclusive the dive may be, I follow the golden rule of cave divers: For any reason, at any time during the dive, any diver can call a dive and there should not be no questions asked by any diver in the team. It could be a broken toe, or a head/ear problems or simply the mask is leaking. Any small problem can become a life issue at depth, especially in caverns and caves when going up is not a solution.

Specially Type 1 Diabetics, we should do what we can to have a plan if things go wrong, and then a backup. Redundancy in life support systems is what will keep us alive when that moment happens. Hopefully this will not happen to most of us, but it will happen regardless.

I vote for a Golden Rule for Diabetics: Always intake extra carbs before a dive, always pack a gel to take along, and always remember that at any time for any reason, anyone can call a dive with no questions asked. This my friends will save lives and enhance our experience in the watery world.

Best. fe

Comment by Wills on March 18, 2014 at 8:56am

I had a great trip to Roatan last week and did 9 dives. Only had to abort 1 of them due to a low BG. The average dive dropped me about 20 mg/dl. The coral was really cool, and we saw lots of sharks, turtles, lionfish, big grouper (ate lots of those as well) etc. I've been diving in Belize too - awesome, but IMO, the diving was better in Roatan...

Comment by Rock on May 2, 2013 at 2:01pm

One of the questions I always ask when folks tell me about a diving mishap is, "At what point did you consider aborting the dive and decided not to"..... I have aborted a few dives in my time, and there are no repercussions or second guessing about it. Yes, it is unfortunate to have to make the decision, but there it is. You can spend a lot of money and time in getting to a prime dive site, and the decision to abort the dive is a hard one, as it means you and your buddy will miss all the cool things you can see in the water. But pushing a bad situation into a dangerous one is how folks get hurt. I apologize for the soapbox.

Squirting the gel in your mouth underwater is trickier than it sounds. I would suggest trying it in a swimming pool first. I came up choking and spluttering my first time, to the amusement of my fellow students.

I felt little woozy once near the end of a dive and gave my buddy our hand signal for "Low Glucose". He took control of the dive and we made a controlled ascent to the surface. Once on the surface, I squirted the gel in my mouth and started to feel better. He gave me a 15 second medical evaluation, and, over my objections, towed me back to the dive boat. After we got back aboard and got the gear taken care of and an adult beverage in hand, we reviewed together what might have caused the low glucose event and how it could be avoided in the future. In his own quiet and understated way, my dive buddy, who is also my son, chewed me out for being stupid. We both learned a valuable lesson that day.

Brian, did you see any lionfish in Roatan? They are turning into a first class ecological disaster.

Rock

 

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