Course of events

On 30.12.07 I did two dives in Lake Lucerne. Both dives were perfect in terms of profile, so the first one was on 39 meters and lasted 44 minutes, the second one on 38 meters / 40 minutes. In between 3 hours surface break. All stops (including deep stops) and ascent speeds were adhered to.

After the second dive I got pain in my right shoulder after about five minutes. For the time being, I did not attach much importance to this. We went for a cheese fondue and when I took off my sweater I saw the red rash on my right shoulder. To be on the safe side I started to breathe oxygen, but that didn't help, so we went to the nearest hospital. The responsible emergency officer contacted the diver emergency service and then everything went very quickly.

Diagnosis Decompression Illness Type 1 (joint and muscle). There is also type 2, where the nervous system is affected, which is of course much worse (cross-sectional eruption).

Fifteen minutes later the rescue helicopter flew me to Basel, Switzerland, where there was a pressure chamber.

rega chopperDuring one hour you are set to an ambient pressure of 2.8 bar (equivalent to a depth of 18m) and pure oxygen breathing. With DCI Type 1, shortened treatment is possible if the symptoms subside within 40 minutes. Unfortunately, this was not the case and I was allowed to participate in the full five-hour program. After all, I wasn't alone. There was also a diver from Eastern Switzerland who shot at the surface from a depth of 15m. He had a Type 2 diagnosis (Tingle in the skin). After a half an hour long "ascent phase" at 9 meters it goes on for another 3 hours, still under oxygen ventilation. Decompressing to normal pressure then takes place in the last half hour. At 3 o' clock in the morning it was over, although my shoulder still hurt a bit.

That's a funny thing. I didn't do anything wrong from a diving point of view, which of course upsets me. Is it really DCI or just a muscle inflammation that has worsened in cold water? For the diving doctor it was clear, he is 100% sure that it was DCI.

If that's the case, how am I supposed to dive in the future? In our waters you certainly have to approach the whole thing technically and dive with different gases in order to achieve the best possible decompression. The coldness is a factor not to be underestimated, so material and planning must be right.