456 km to professionalism

Dedicated to all professionals, especially Barbara Molina

First, I want to tell my story. I am a UTD dive instructor and head of the diving school at Rivemar Cabo de Palos, Spain and spend more time in the water than on the surface. One day it started to cost me to compensate, so I went to a health center of my town to look at my ear. He told me I had a wax plug and prescribed drops of hydrogen peroxide and drops of antibiotic to remove the inflammation. After 2 weeks, I was still in the same situation and I went back to see the doctor. The plug was still there so he sent me to the infirmary to have the wax removed. The nurse put water pressure on my ear and at first everything seemed to have gone well. Half an hour after leaving the infirmary I began to have a sharp and constant pain in the left ear that only was increasing intensity with the passage of time. I have called my health center where I have been told that they are occupy and I have been sent to another health center to the emergency. I went right away and the emergency doctor after seeing my ear and consulting with another doctor has gotten the diagnosis – eardrum perforated!

What is a perforated eardrum for a diver? It’s like a pianist without hands, a soccer player without legs… For me, diving is not just diving. It’s not just my job. It’s my lifestyle, my philosophy, my life, my future. When I heard this sentence, the world fell on me. It may seem exaggerated and pathetic, but a perforation of the eardrum can carry many negative and unpredictable consequences. Crying I called Fran who is the director of the dive center, crying, saying that tomorrow I start a course and I have another 3 until the end of the month… He tries to reassure me, and after a council of several friends I call Barbara Molina, who is a hyperbaric doctor and specialist in otolaryngology, good customer of Rivemar, and tells me to go see her. The next day I make those 456 kilometers to Madrid, to the hospital where she works. Along the way, from the accumulation of nerves and the stress that I had, I had a contracture in the back (the same day on the afternoon, I visited my physio and it took him almost 2 hours to remove it), well, I arrived at my destination and were waiting in the hospital with mind blank thinking about the coming months… Finally, Barbara’s room, full of tools and gadgets, makes me a tympanometry, an ultrasound of the ear and I don’t know what else, and her verdict is that it is not a perforation of the eardrum! It is a duct wound caused by aggressive cleansing, but it is not the eardrum. I did not know how to thank her for the news she gave me. I did not know how to thank her for the professionalism with which she treated me. A detailed report, drops to heal the wound and one week without diving. Then my trip back with music to the top, 2 hours with physiotherapist and then a beer with friends, with our yellow team that has supported me always. At that time in history I want to thank all the people who have cared for me, that day seemed like my birthday because of so many calls and messages.

To what I am going… From that moment, I have clear, if I have any problem with health related to diving – I do not care about the money nor the time that I will invest to see a professional. And the important thing is that this should be a rule. Regardless of the professional area of the person. And less when it comes to health. The professionalism should be sought, but when you find it you will never regret it. Nobody would like the electricity or the pipe in your house to make an incompetent?! Neither do we call an electrician to fix the roof. The same goes for the doctors and with everything in our life!

Why do we leave some things aside, why do we think that for some jobs we need a professional, but for others, whatever?

That’s right – the eternal question of diving forums around the world! The perfect instructor! It does not have to be perfect, it should be professional. And the professionalism is seen both in his own technique of diving, as in the treatment, in the equipment he wears, in the explorations or diving trips that he does…

I have learned a good lesson… And I give all the thanks of the worldwide world, of the universal universe and of the new alignment to the professionals of all the professional areas, who have invested their lives in their works, and especially to Barbara Molina, for the existence of people in whom we can trust our health.

I’ve done my 456 kilometers until I find the professionalism, are you willing to invest your time and effort in finding yours? It is a question that we should all ask ourselves.

Sasha Karnilovich // UTD Instructor #165