Wednesday, November 22, 2006
One of the things we run into in the dive business, especially as instructors, are health concerns. When we hold any kind of a class, from introductory dives to ongoing dive education, there will be the usual littany of waivers, as well as a medical health history questionaire. Be prepared to fill one out whenever you take a class.
In an ideal world, everyone is perfectly healthy and has no health care history at all, in reality, especially when approaching middle age, that's usually not the case. When you take a look at the health questionaire, don't be afraid of it, fill it out honestly. Some people will take a look at the form, see that they have one or more "yes" answers, as say diving can't be for them... don't fall into that without actually consulting your physician first. A reasonable level of physical fitness is always something to strive for, but you don't necessarily need to be much of an athlete to enjoy scuba diving. While scuba diving may be contra-indicated for some conditions, there are many that your physician may sign off on. In my case, I really hadn't been into a physician for a checkup as an adult and I went in for one when I was going thorugh the dive leadership program... good thing, we found my cholesterol and blood pressure were off enough that we needed to take measures. I'm better off for it and my physician cleared me for diving. That doesn't mean if you are taking the proper drugs you're OK to go... Any decisions as to your scuba diving future should be between you and your physician, so please fill out the forms honestly, if there are concerns go to your physician with them, you could be doing yourself a big favor and be cleared to participate at the same time.
Your instructor or dive shop should have the proper forms for your physician to sign off on. If you are thinking of taking classes it wouldn't hurt to get the waivers and questionaires ahead of time, especially if you happen to have a doctor's appointment in the months ahead of when you are looking at taking the course.
I thought I'd post this because, being in a tourist destination, we got a lot of people who want to do this as a last minute thing and get hung up on the medical questionaire. Some won't bother and just not try, but many will and it ends up being a lot of faxing back and forth to get the required signatures... just a little heads up that you can take care of it ahead of time (also, I made a great sloppy sandwich for breakfast).