Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Visit to Margaret's Blog and Underwater Thailand

Today, I'm delighted to visit author Margaret Larsen's blog. She's running a three-part interview starting today. Margaret's novel, SAVE THE CHILD, is about a family's legal battle to get the treatment they want for their child with cancer. Margaret is a medical professional and knows what she's talking about. Margaret also started the group, Writer's Unite To Fight Cancer, which organizes fundraising efforts and author events around the Valley of the Sun. I'm honored to be associated with them. I'll teach at their July 19th Publishing Workshop at the Shea Barnes & Noble in Scottsdale, AZ.  I wish I could see all of you there!! Please, stop by Margaret's blog. It's the next best thing.

Here's some AMAZING underwater Thailand photos that were taken with a big strobe to reveal the amazing diversity and life in those waters. You don't see soft corals like this in the Caribbean.

Oh, and I promised to recount my misadventures. When you dive in Thailand, the boats are big (see yesterday's photos and the sunset shot below), and you go out all day on them. Dive in the morning. Relax and have lunch. Dive in the afternoon. Motor back to port. After a second dive full of fun swim-throughs, we spotted some small blue whales close by. Cool. The boat pulled up and all the buff, young dive guides strapped on their fins and masks and swam to see them. I am not one to be left behind, so I swam out, too. No whales. Swim back. Pick up the rest of the divers who were bopping on the surface waiting for the boat.

About an hour after the dive, I started feeling awful. I had a pounding headache and my hand tingled. I get migraines, so I didn't think anything of it. But the hand tingling didn't stop. My nose started to tingle. When my left thigh went numb, I made my husband go find the head dive guide. Instant concern. He put me on pure oxygen right away. They called the hospital and an ambulance met the boat. They took me to a hospital with a state-of-the-art dive medicine clinic. The doctor confirmed our fears. I had decompression sickness--better known as the bends.

I had to go in the decompression chamber twice. There chamber was a big, clear plastic tube. I could see out and watch movies. I was fine for a couple hours--but I got claustrophobic and made them let me out to go to the bathroom. They couldn't get me to go back in. I remember telling the doctor I was done, and he said, "That's okay, we'll give you an injection." They shot something into my hand, and the next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital bed. For the next session in the chamber, they gave me a sedative to begin with.

Kind of a vacation wrecker, huh. Mom rushed to the hospital. The specialist there said the swim post-dive could have caused the attack, but it was most likely because I'm a female over forty. That's the highest risk category. Great. I only dive nitrox now. That makes a difference. I didn't use it that day.

The whole disaster did give me a great, great scene for UNBROKEN CONNECTION and the perfect reason to get Michael to visit Leesie in Utah. The hospital stuff is authentic--right down to the funny Thai nurses. I'm NOT posting pictures of how hideous I looked in the hospital. Sorry, I have my pride.

The doctors said I'd feel like a truck hit me for at least a month--yup. I was whacked. I still have slight residual nerve damage in my leg. I have to be super careful when I dive and always, always use nitrox.

The next trip we took to Thailand, my wonderful husband drove north with me up to the port the boats that go out to the Similans leave from. Watch for that next post.

Here's wonderful, amazing photos of undersea creatures and corals. I guess corals are technically creatures, too. Enjoy!

This is me signaling I'm okay at the end of a dive.

Can't beat those sunsets. 


  1. Wow, these look like they're right out of a magazine. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. OMG! i have to do scuba dive someday u.u
    it's awesome!!
    and i imagine Michael like that, it's crazy :P