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Temp or perm minor disabilities

Discussion in 'Divers with Disabilities' started by CBulla, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. CBulla

    CBulla ~..facebook conch..~ ScubaBoard Supporter

    Well, I've been thinking about how to make my entrance into this forum and not sound like an excuse, but I think I'm over that and am ready to kind of talk about it.

    I'm currently laid up with a temporary handicap to my right shoulder having had it rebuilt for the 4th time. Once I'm back to normal in about a year or so I'll still be considered as having a disability since it's effecting my range of motion and I'll never be out of the woods for possible dislocations or re-aggravation of the injury in the future. I'll post more about my surgery and injury's later, but for the industrious and savvy it was a Benkhert lesion and a labrum tear.

    Are there any other divers who have an injury or permanent minor disabilities that they have to deal with every time they gear up?
  2. cudachaser

    cudachaser Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Cocoa Beach, FL
    I have neuropathy in my feet ... Sensation is non existant of very altered depending on where you touch. With a lot of standing or walking I do feel pain. No problems underwater though and foor the most part excessive walking doenn't happen when I go to a dive site. I can't stand wearing shoes but booties are very comfortable.

    Only dive problem I've had was punching a hole in the knee of my wetsuit with my big toe ...couldn't feel where my foot exactly was and I have a Henderson gold which is a bit difficult to get into anyway
  3. mack50md

    mack50md Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Centreville, MD
    I have separated my shoulder at least 4 times in the last 30 years and have permanent damage in the rotator cuff. No surgery. I refused the knife and opted for therapy. I'm not a pro athelete LOL. I have limited range of motion. However, I have never been classified disabled...just clumsy. I just did my physical therapy for a few months after getting out of the sling and went on with taking care of business. And yes, my doctor cleared me first and signed off on my dive medical.

    I only experience difficulty sometimes getting my arm to swing back enough to slip on the BCD. I overcame it by practice. I have worn a 7mm farmer john with as much as 32 pounds of lead. The BCD straps did not cause me pain. I don't push it though. I usually carry my weight pouches with my good arm until I'm close to the entry point. But, that's me and your condition could be much worse than mine. Bottom line...like they teach ya...know your limits.

    If you're talking workman's comp type disability wouldn't scuba diviing raise a few eyebrows at the insurance company?
  4. wacdiver

    wacdiver Nassau Grouper

    CBulla you are far from the only one out there who has to deal with a disability while diving. I have MD my weakness is limitted to the proximal muscles (shoulders, chest, hips, basically muscles near or on the trunk of my body) So I have to deal with many issues while gearing up. For one I can not stand up (on land) with my kit on, the weight of the tank and weights offsets my balance too much and my hips give out (it is not fun hitting the floor with 30lbs of lead and a tank on your back, even less fun trying to get up, which by the way I have problems with without the gear on). I also have a limitted range of motion as well, there is no pain but arms will only go so far on their own (if I use one arm to support the other I am OK but I can Not grab my mask strap or tank valve without use of both arms). Plus I can at times tire easily due to the weakness in key muscle groups. Does it mean I can no longer dive? NOPE I just have to be extra cautious and stay way within my limits, I also make sure that my Buddy knows exactly what my limits are (as well as the DM and Crew of the boat) and what type of assistance I will need (during gear up, and also entering and exiting the water)
    What this means for you and anyone else that is returning or just starting to dive with an injury or disability is that you need to give yourself extra time for what was once a 1 2 3 thing. It also means that you need to find your limit, NOT what your limit was once, but what it is now, this you will figure out only through experience (and experience can be a rough and nasty teacher so take your time and do NOT push too hard) I found that you do need to push yourself but do so gently and slowly, too much and you get hurt, or worse you hurt others (usually when they are trying to help you). The way I look at it is; because I Know I have physical limits due to my M D I work with them not against them. I do all my own setup and everything else I can do without assistance, then once I have reached my limit I ask my buddy or crew members for help. Help is usually in the form of having them carry my kit to the end of the boat (or to about 3 foot deep water for a shore dive) Then I don my gear sitting on the edge by the entry point on the boat (I put the BC on in the water for a shore dive cuz it takes all the strain off my hips so I can stand up with a little less difficulty). Once BC and gear is on I kinda just fall off the boat (I do have my Buddy or Crew give me a good push as to help clear the ladder and sides of the boat) While in the water I stay close to my Buddy as to make sure they are there if I need help. Exiting the water I take off gear in water so I can climb out with alot less weight (weight belt come off first and handed to someone on the boat or if you can not reach up ask buddyto pass it up for you, then BC, Fins LAST in case you get seperated from the boat it is easier to swim back, mask and snorkel stay on until safely on the boat,the with use of waves rising and falling I climb the ladder waiting while the wave drops and climbing when the wave crests, climbing with the waves the up/down motion assists the climb)
    When you have a disability or injury you may not be able to deal with a situation that others easily could. For example during a dive with some new buddies and rented BC I had some serious trim problems (too much weight on back, not distributed properly) I was down at 20 feet on the bottom when I kept rolling to the left and had a hard time trying to straighten up without the anchor line, or something similar to pull on. We were waiting for 2 others to decend when i let go of the anchor line to adjust my weight belt I rolled over to the left and onto my back, tank got stuck in the sand (relax all, it was a sandy bottom in the LI sound so No coral was damaged). My Buddy was looking for the other 2 to decend and was not right next to me I was stranded on the bottom unable to straighten up or release my BC (arms were in a bad position and due to weakness I was unable to grab buckles and belt release) basicaly I looked like a turtle lying on his shell. I had 2 options inflate BC for a emergency ascent or ascent until I was able to right myself or wait till my buddy came back. I opted for the 2nd choice. He came over saw my problem and simply helped me over I readjusted some weights and continued the dive. If he had not been as attentive to my extra needs things could have been worse.
    What I amtrying to say is when you have an injury or a disability make sure you have a very competent buddy that is aware of your situation (make as many people aware as possible the more people that know the more eyes there are to look out for probs), because when you are not 100% Murphy's Law will strike!!
  5. diver_paula

    diver_paula Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southfield, MI

    I'm not sure if this would help you but in case it does here goes.... A friend of mine has shoulder issues and donning / doffing his BC was a bear. He switched to a BC with a clip at the shoulder. Now he doesn't have to swing his arm back. He clips the shoulder strap on. & then unclips it to get out of the BC.

  6. CBulla

    CBulla ~..facebook conch..~ ScubaBoard Supporter

    Oh, don't let yourself think I've stopped doing things the last 9 years since my last surgery! I'm one of those tough people to hold down, even without the use of my arm, I'm still doing things left handed which drives my wife and doc nuts. I sweep and mopped the house with my off hand just because I was getting antsy. This is my 4th time under the knife for this injury, its starting to become kind of routine. :D

    The sad thing is that I cannot wear a wetsuit as it tends to cause problems with my shoulder, so I'm considering a dry suit to alleviate that problem as I like to dive and once the water gets below about 70 degrees I like to thermal up a little.

    Wacdiver, mac, cuda, you sound like my kind of buddy.. slow and easy.. enjoy the dives and time underwater. Thats how I approach about 70% of my dives. I'm a goof to, I LOVE my environamental clean up dives (participated in 2 around the state this year, 1 of them in a very precarious place that really requires excellent diving skills and maybe some stupidity... but it was awesome diving.

    I like to spearfish to.. my last trip to shoot fish was 4 days before the surgery and I brought home a few nice snapper to feed the family with fresh fish one last time before being laid up for a while. I guess it'll be late spring or early summer before i've rehabed the shoulder enough to pull the bands back on the gun.. if not, I'll be takin pictures.

    What it boils down to ultimately is that my doc reinforced that with 7 anchors and a screw and limited range of motion on my shoulder I technically have a disability of 5-10 percent and I really should acknowlege it. I do.. my shoulder never lets me forget it. Between that, my knees, ankles, back & neck I can tell if we're going to get rain or a hurricane! I guess I'm just not ready to slow down some yet.. after all I'm only 30... right?!
  7. Sideshow Rick

    Sideshow Rick Guest

    Hi Colin,

    Just as Wacdiver says, don't reinjure yourself. some years ago I tried excercising by peddaling a stationary bike with my hands, it went great and was real awesome, right up to the point where my elbows stopped working. No one wanted to really talk about solutions for what happened, I would just get a shoulder shrug and be told "there's not much we can do".. Several years later they still hurt and any "curl" type excercise is still a no no... Something I have to work around, along with other things, but it would be real nice to never have happened in the first place.

    my dive instructor "The Awesome Jeff" has my training log so far on his website if you got time to kill,


    about 2/3rds of the way down is link,

  8. mack50md

    mack50md Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Centreville, MD
    Hey Paula,

    You're right! I forgot to mention. I have a Seaquest Pro QD+ BCD with shoulder strap buckles. They work good from a sitting position and are also good if you need to exit out of the BC quickly. A little more problematic when donning the BCD from a standing position without a buddy assist.

    Thanks for covering that good suggestion.
  9. cowprintrabbit

    cowprintrabbit Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Denver, CO
    I've recently been told not to bend down, use my right arm, or carry anything heavy (including backpacks) - so that should make it interesting next time I dive. This is until I have surgery for my scoliosis (I find out the 17th); then it will just be the bending at the waist and not carrying anything heavy...
  10. CBulla

    CBulla ~..facebook conch..~ ScubaBoard Supporter

    Hey Rick - I'm impressed with your drive and determination! I've attached a pic of the slightly post surgery pic of my shoulder taken on November 5 (surgery on Oct 27). This is all the steristrips covering various holes for arthroscopic and the big open hole from the labrum repair (which was open in the 3 other surgeries for what now is done arthroscopically).

    I've got a plan for slow rehab.. no diving until spring and those are going to be nice easy dives.. no spearfishing. My favorite dive to do thats really non-strenuous is fossiling at Venice Beach, FL. I can dive, relax, find cool fossils, etc., and you can do long dives because its so shallows (18' give or take depending on the time of day).

    BTW, I love your Gawain and the Green Knight quote, will tell you more about that PM if your interested.

    Cowprintrabbit - sorry to hear of that injury. It makes me cringe to think about. :(

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