I've almost given up the idea of going scuba-diving. It's been a life-time dream. I did a trial run round a Cornish bay once - but this year we were going to a location where I could go on a course.
Firstly there is the problem of getting a medical certificate. Secondly I've begun to question whether I should really attempt it, that in fact having symptoms of sinusitis and blocked nose may be the worst possible thing for a diver.
British divers seem to have adopted a new medical certificate system which looks very good on paper. It should hook you up to a doctor who is reasonably expert.
Problem 1: I emailed a local doctor who is on the list of the UK Sport Diving Medical Committee and have had absolutely no response.
Problem 2: It is not clear to me whether the new system is intended for casual divers or only diving club members. Maybe that's why the doctor has not replied.
Problem 3: I checked a dive centre where we are going and they are using a completely different medical form.
I considered lying and declaring myself medically fit. Maybe I could declare myself cured just as we go on holiday. In some ways I've been doing quite well recently, especially when I eat fish. I went to a dinner with a set menu the other day and ate most of it - including all sorts of bits of green mixed in with starters and sauces. In spite of that the Splodge is calm and my left eye hardly hurts. But sadly my nose is quite blocked.
I considered taking the form to my local GP. Then I began wondering whether I could reasonably ask him to sign it - or even if he would.
So I've spent the weekend reading up on the issue. This was the best and the scariest page, with a good link to a very detailed pdf. During diving you have to make sure air flows between the air, the sinuses and the nose so you can deal with increases and reductions in air pressure. That's why they don't like allergies and hay fever because it creates mucus that can block the connections. As I've seen in the past, the ears can fill up with wax quite quickly.
I think I could master the most sophisticated techniques for equalising pressure. I've used some of them for years for underwater swimming. But the guide says you should get a click of the ears when you practice. I can't get that click and frankly I can't pretend I'm not a little gummed up and have been quite gummed up in the past. In short, the risks of getting it wrong are too great and could cause major damage to my hearing.
I'm currently thinking I shall do some surface-diving for a couple of days and see how it goes. But really and truly this is beginning to look like a dream that will have to wait to the after-life.