Monday, May 12, 2008


The guitar duo-after church
Saturday and Sunday nights (May 3, 4) REAL Christian Theatre presented a musical called "A Song From the Heart." It was written by a member of the team, and it was a full-length play. The whole thing was original except for the songs. The most amazing thing is that the author is only 17! She also directed the play. It was really good-it had humor, drama, irony, all the good stuff.
Me and the lead actress of the show!

The Cast!!!

On Sunday morning, Judith and I met Mark at Lao Lao for a dive. It was just the three of us, so we got to go really deep (well, the deepest I've gone so far-125 feet) and we saw some really cool things. Of course, the fish and the coral formations are always exciting to me, but the best part was that we saw two turtles! Mark had his fancy shmancy underwater camera so here are some pictures.

This little guy didn't seem to mind our presence at all-it even let stroke its shell!
It hung out with us for quite awhile, foraging on the bottom.

We saw another, bigger turtle down deeper. We also saw a pretty darn big Napoleon wrasse. It's scary going down really deep-when I looked up and I couldn't see the surface, I became a bit...uneasy. But it was fun.

Another cool thing that we saw was a giant fishball-it was so mesmerizing just swimming with that solid wall of fish. We also got to swim in it! Here are some pics!

Me with the fishies!

This is such a cool picture of my roommate Judith!

After the dive we decided to go to Remington Cafe, a place that we had never been but we had heard about their famouse iced coffee with COFFEE ICE CUBES! After wandering around Garapan unsuccessfully, we were about to give up when I happened to turn around and see the inconspicuous sign. It is such a great little place-great coffee, good music, good environment, good service. The guy that worked there was really nice, he saw us looking at some diving magazines and so he brought us more, and he also brought us this really cool book that was in Japanese and English. I guess you can only buy it in Japan or on Japanese websites so Judith and I plan to go back and have him help us order it. (Did I mention the guy was Japanese?)

After the dive that day, I felt really exhausted. It's normal to feel tired after a dive, but my exhaustion wasn't going away. A few hours later, I also started to feel dizzy and short of breath, and my joints were aching. The thought of decompresson sickness crossed my mind, but I didn't really get worried until it was about midnight and the symptoms still weren't going away. I talked to the Maycocks and they decided to take me to the ER. They gave me oxygen and an IV, and after a few hours I was feeling better, and so they sent me home. But the next morning the symptoms were back, so I went to a walk-in clinic and Sean called the Divers Alert Network for advice. Both the DAN people and the doctors at the clinic felt that I should probably be treated in a decompression chamber. It was kind of an adventure getting all the arrangements made for me to fly to Guam-oxygen or no oxygen, commercial plane or helicopter (which would have cost a lot!) etc. But finally they decided to treat me with oxygen for 1 hour before the flight, which would be on a regular plane. I was kind of nervous going on the plane though because I was afraid that I might get worse or something, but it actually wasn't bad. Then someone picked us up (Barbara came with me) and took us to the Navy hospital because I guess the regular decompression chamber was in use. So I showed up there, and they were like "What are you guys doing here? We are only supposed to recieve military and military dependants unless we have made arrangements with someone ahead of time. No one should have let you guys in here!" But they said that since I was there with a medical condition, they had to treat me. They hooked me up to all sorts of monitors and gave me more oxygen (that's some good stuff let me tell you.) My symptoms had really improved by the end of that oxygen session. The dive doctors of the Navy came in and saw me. They did a neurological function test on me and asked me all sorts of questions. After evaluating me, they decided that recompression therapy was not necessary (after all that). So the next day we flew back to Saipan. I was really tired and a little weak for a few days but I'm pretty much back to normal now. The only sad thing is that I can't go diving for awhile. I'll probably only get 1 more dive in right before I leave.

It was kind of a scary experience because I guess DCI, if it's severe or not properly treated, can have lasting effects like paralysis and brain damage and stuff. But luckily my case was not severe, and also I had lots of people praying for me here on Saipan and in the States. Thank you everyone, and thank you Jesus!


Sean said...

Glad your A-Okay Riki! Hope you can get back in the water soon!

Erin said...

Wow Riki! That's pretty scary. I'm glad you're ok. I've always been scared to dive deep for that reason. The pictures from the dive are awesome though!

Minisavage said...

Glad you are ok Skipper, that's awesome about the turtles and the ball of fish though, I've been in one of those too, they are cool!! I can't wait to see you again!!!

Brittany said...

Hey Rik! I'm finally getting caught up in reading your blogs--I can't believe how negligent I've been with that! But I seriously laughed out loud a few times, and a few other times I had to do a double-take at your pictures because there are definitely a few people and kids (not that kids aren't people, but you get the picture) that remind me of people I knew in El Salvador. Crazy, I know, but hey I'm like that. So, lately in Portland we've been having some nothing sun days, so I envy you and your sweaty skateboarding-ness and diving adventures. But shoot, I'm glad you're alright and not all neurologically challenged now! Just don't dive too close to the time you have to get on the airplane--we don't want this happening again. Anyway, I think you're great. Pretty dang awesome, actually, so hang in there and enjoy the final stretch. Love, ~Brittany