Scuba diving: reverse sinus infection

You ever worry that your head might explode?  It was a serious concern of mine, and terrifying.  Obviously I was overreacting but that’s what happens when you’re an amateur at something and it goes wrong.

It was after scuba diving in the Bahamas. I felt dizzy with a killer headache. I got my scuba diving certification as an elective in college and I couldn’t remember the specifics of decompression sickness. I did know that in worst case scenarios, it can be deadly.

Most of our time in the Exumas, was spent sea kayaking from cay to cay and camping on the beaches.  The last four nights, we rented a villa in Georgetown and it was on our last day that we decided to scuba dive. Let me say up front, despite the headache and minor panic attack, it was worth it.

We had very little battery left on the cell phone we had with us (and this was before we had smart phones). I didn’t want to worry my parents so I called my sister and asked her to google decompression sickness and read me the symptoms.  She found a scuba diving hot line and gave me a number to call.  That was so helpful!  My phone died before our conversation was over but I did get out of him that I probably had a reverse sinus infection, I wouldn’t die if I flew home tomorrow, and to ease the pain on the airplane ride, I could wet paper towels in hot water and place them in cups over my ears (which I did).


I got the reverse sinus infection because I went diving while I had an upper respiratory infection then surfaced too quickly. 

I made it home alive.  The lesson: don’t scuba dive with a cold.  You can read about our full trip here.



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