Thursday, August 25, 2005

Taking the first breath

Recently I was thinking of the very first time I was able to experience the joy and thrills of SCUBA. In a way, being able to breathe underwater was almost anti-climactic. I am not sure what I expected, but breathing turned out to be natural and normal, yet very memorable.

One thing I remember from my first pool session was having a dry mouth at the end. Recently a student asked me about why her mouth was so dry after the pool session. The reason I gave was that the air is filtered and moisture reduced before being added to the tanks. So the next question was “what can we do to prevent this?” Unfortunately, I did not have a good answer. I know there are products available on the market to alleviate the dry mouth sensation, but I personally do not know anyone who uses any of these products.

In my case, I do not even notice the dry mouth sensation anymore. I am not sure why that is. Before I dive, I make sure that I am adequately hydrated. By that, I mean I do not drink a huge amount of water, but make sure that have at least the equivalent of two or so glasses of water before the dive. I am sure this is different for everybody, but that seems to work for me. Another personal rule that I have is that I will not have any coffee or carbonated soft drink before a dive. The reason is that I find that coffee, Coke or Pepsi act as a diuretic to me.

One of the instructors that I sometimes teach with has a phrase that he likes to use. He says that there are only two kinds of divers - those who pee in their wetsuits and those who lie about it. However, I do not subscribe that school of thought. I think that if you manage your fluid intake you should be able to manage the bladder situation. I know that everyone is different, so I guess if you have to go, then you have to go. Personally, I find the thought of diving in a “suit of pee” not attractive at all.

Experienced divers probably do not think too much about the act of breathing from the regulator. However, the memory of my first nervous and excited breaths from the regulator will always be with me.

Update: 09/07/05: Article by a doc on the effects of pressure on bloodflow and the bladder.


Willy Volk said...

I've tried on many occasions to manage my need to urinate underwater, to include under-hydrating in advance of a dive. However, no matter how carefully I prepare, I ALWAYS need to go while diving; this need is so widespread, in fact, it even has a name: Spaceman Syndrome ( Now, I'm resigned to the fact that I will consume liquids before I dive, and I will expel them during the dive.

I don't understand at all why it's considered "gross," though: the water washes you clean right away.

BWRAF said...

Hello Willy, my diving buddy was telling me about the spaceman syndrome the other day. I guess the important thing is that one has a safe and productive dive. If your body is geared in certain way then there is very little one can do about it. Thanks for the good comments.

Susan said...

I don't really recall my first underwater breath. I was way too busy trying desperately to sink far enough to be under the water. I float with a vengance and the instructor had guessed a wee* light for me.

*Pun intended in light the other part of this entry. ;)