I realize that it’s been several months now since I last posted. Being a full-time college student has frankly been a bit of a bear at times 😀 I’ve also still taught the occasional scuba course and of course I still want to do some fun diving 🙂 So, picking up where I left off….
During the 5 week break from school I made 23 dives. A mixture of shore and boat dives. I’ve made close to a 160 dives (my largest single year total to date) in Guam since moving here last year. That total would have been much higher if I’d not gone back to school last August. I will get to writing about the diving in Guam here eventually 🙂
I went back to school on January 23rd. On February 16th I made my last dive with Colin Ross. We did one of my favorite dives here, the Kitsugawa Maru, a WW II Japanese wreck in Apra Harbor. Colin was one of my first students in Guam. He and his wife Virginia did their Open Water with me last year. Colin went on to do Advanced Open Water, Enriched Air, and Wreck Diver. He, along with Joe Seremba and Jayson Trucksees, was one of my regular dive buddies here for fun dives last year when I wasn’t busy with school or teaching. Colin’s in Navy Dive School in Florida now.
I went to the Philippines and dived Puerto Galera during spring break the last week of March. My friend Joe Seremba from here on Guam came along. Joe has done his Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Enriched Air with me. We met my friend Ron Brannan from California who was on his annual dive trip to the Philippines. Ron and I have been diving together in the Philippines for a few years now. We met in 2016. Last year he was my first “official” student after becoming an instructor. Ron completed his Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air with me last February. He’d done over 200 dives by the time he got around to doing Advanced Open Water. He figured it was about time 😉 It had been over a year since I’d last dived in the Philippines and I discovered how much I missed it! We stayed at AAA again and dived with Frontier Scuba.
I’ve not done a lot of teaching this year (too busy with school) but I have worked in a few classes. So far this year I’ve done only six certifications… Cynthia Mulliner earned her Advanced Open Water cert and Kasia Merline and Joe Seremba both earned Enriched Air certs. They were all certified in April. In May, Amanda and Daniel Perez who were visiting Guam from Virginia (actually Amanda was here for work and Daniel came out to spend some time with her) completed their Open Water certs. Anne Freeby completed the requirements for Scuba Diver.
On May 11th before heading over to meet Amanda, Daniel, and Anne at MDA I participated in the 3rd Annual Merizo Pier Project. This is an annual event that conducts an underwater cleanup of the reef around the Merizo Pier here on Guam. Jayson Trucksess, who did his Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air courses with me last year was my buddy. We were there early and were part of the first group of divers to hit the water. It was my first time diving at Merizo and it was a nice dive. Plenty of coral and fish. We recovered the usual assortment of fishing line, cans, bottles, and other assorted trash that we see all too often these days.
After a busy weekend, I had my last week of classes at UOG. Final exams were the 20th to the 22nd. My second semester back in school ended up being a bit harder. I struggled early with Biology I. Turns out there is a fair amount of chemistry that is part of the study of biology. Not having had high school chemistry (which would have been over 40 years ago anyway) hurt. In the end I ended up with a C. On the bright side I made an A in World Regional Geography (I’ve added a Geography minor to my degree plan) and an A+ in Marine Biology so it wasn’t all bad 🙂
After finishing the semester I made my second trip this year to the Philippines with my friend Joe Seremba. We arrived in Olongapo on May 24th and spent a week diving Subic Bay. My last time diving Subic I gave Arizona a shot but I’m back diving with Johan’s again. Johan has built a brand-new resort just down the beach from his previous resort on Baloy Long Beach. I do like Johan’s a lot. I like the atmosphere and the people there 🙂 My past several trips to Subic I’ve stayed at Coffee Shop Rooftop Hotel in Barangay Barretto which is across the street from Arizona Dive Resort. They were full this time (first time that has ever happened) and we ended up staying at Arizona for 2 nights. This was my first time staying at Arizona and frankly I thought the rooms were overpriced. I’ve stayed in nicer places in the area for much less money. Having said that, I still like their restaurant and have nothing bad to say about their dive operation.
We arrived back on Guam on June 2nd. On the evening of June 3rd I went to the Navy Hospital here on Guam when I started feeling chest and back pain with numbness radiating down my left arm. It was no where near as bad as what I felt in Singapore two and a half years ago but it felt enough like it that I decided better safe than sorry.
They treated it as a heart attack and administered drugs accordingly. Symptoms (pain in chest and back, pain and numbness radiating down left arm, shortness of breath) were relieved fairly quickly. The symptoms are very similar for heart attack and angina. We thought initially when I recovered so quickly, that it wasn’t a heart attack. That turned out not to be the case.
They did a blood test for cardiac-specific troponin levels which is used to detect injury to the heart muscle. Initially it was negative but they kept me for 3 hours so they could run the test again as it can take that long to show up in a blood test after initial symptoms appear. When the second test came back positive I was kept in the hospital.
My echocardiogram showed a reduction in my ejection fraction. Ejection fraction refers to how well my heart is pumping blood. Other than that my heart continues to more or less function normally. I have a normal EKG and am not suffering from any kind of irregular heartbeat. I’ve never had high blood pressure.
I was kept in the hospital until Thursday morning when they let me go home. I had a follow-up last week on Tuesday with my Primary Care Manager. I met with my new cardiologist here on Guam this week on Monday. I’m scheduled for an angiogram next week and we’ll be able to see exactly what is going on. The damage was relatively minor based on the lab results. Depending on what the angiogram shows I may be cleared to dive as soon as next week… Just have to wait and see at this point.
In the meantime I’m staying at home and taking it easy. I decided I would work on my blog a bit since it’s been so long 🙂 I have a post on choosing a BCD (which I mentioned in my last blog post back in January) mostly written (it’s been mostly written for 6 months 😀 ). I may work on some more posts in my “Choosing Equipment” series and I do need to write about some of the diving on Guam 🙂
Until next time…