At the beginning of my sixth grade year in middle school, my parents and I had a talk about me getting my scuba diving license. Later that year on my birthday, they gave me an instruction book that I had to read and take the tests at the end of each chapter. At first, I was really into it, but even today, I have trouble focusing on one thing for and extended period of time. What I was supposed to accomplish by the end of my sixth grade year took me to the end of my eighth. Even then, I was rushed to finish, so I would just skim for the answers for the tests. I believe that you should never put things off.
Because I didn’t read everything, I wasn’t always able to answer the questions my instructor asked me. Not everything in the book was essential knowledge for me, but neglecting the reading was the most regretful thing I have done. It wasn’t until I was working on my check dives that all the books information became clear to me.
As I was ascending to the surface, I developed a reverse-block, which is like filling a balloon to full and eventually popping. All I remembered was my instructor saying was that a reverse-block was the opposite of a block where air is incapable of escaping from your ear canal on your ascent. Because I never read the text in the book, I didn’t know how to fix it. Fortunately, I was still working on my check dives, and I had an instructor there the entire time. It took about five minutes before I was able to tell him that I developed a reverse-block.
As I waited, buoyant, at twenty feet, my instructor went up to get a slate to write on to tell me what to do, my submersible pressure gauge (SPG) went into the warning level for remaining air pressure. It eventually came to the point where I couldn’t wait in the water anymore. As I was working up the courage to face the pain and the realization that I could lose my hearing due to a perforated eardrum, I kept trying to recall what I read in my scuba book about this. There was nothing to recall.
The only information that I remember reading was how water pressure made the air denser and occupy less volume as you descended. Before I ascended to the boat, I descended to thirty feet for one minute then took one deep breath and preformed a Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent (CESA).
Luckily, it was the choice I made to descend a few feet that saved my hearing. I never thought what I read about scuba would ever come into play that quickly or in such an emergency. All because I put off reading my book, I never knew how to counter a reverse-block. I believe that if you put things off that they will comeback to haunt you.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.