|Posted on Jun 05, 2009 11:39:01 PM | Heather Smith | 0 Comments ||
Ok. That was cool. We just finished the hypoxia demonstration and that was just crazy. During pressure change from ground level to 25,000 feet my ears popped and popped and popped some more. It was a lot like being in a commercial plane but instead of one or two pops they just kept doing it.
When we got to 25,000 feet, my group was the first to take off our oxygen masks. They gave us a clipboard of questions to answer, a few simple math problems, and place to write observations about what I was feeling. At one minute, I wrote that I felt floaty, that my vision was weird and that my ears were burning. At two minutes I only wrote one symptom: tingly. I wrote nothing at three minutes but I think it was because I was starting to feel the mental affects and couldn’t understand what I needed to be doing. I remember trying to do the simple math problems – like 46+78 and 90-17 – and choosing not to do the subtraction problem because it was hard. Similarly, when I was asked to list the presidents in reverse order, starting with the current one, I could only go back two presidencies and then was unsure, and not because I didn’t know I just couldn’t process it.
At four minutes I wrote the word “crampy” and I was feeling my back and my sides feeling uncomfortable.
The funniest part was when I tried to write my last name backwards. I don’t even remember reading this in real time, but after we were below 10,000 feet and could breathe normally again they let us each go around and tell the symptoms we experienced. One of the other participants said that was her favorite question because it was challenging and she wasn’t able to do it with as much ease as she thought. Since I didn’t remember that question I looked back at my sheet to see if I had skipped it or hadn’t gotten that far on the sheet. No, sure enough, I had written an answer on that blank but I wrote the word “normal.” I don’t remember doing that but my best guess is that when I got to that question I must have been thinking “I feel normal” so I wrote down that word.
The experience was not as bad as I expected. All of the training prepared me for the worst, and I was most nervous about wimping out and needing my oxygen mask too soon, before I had the chance to experience anything. But I definitely felt the effects and afterward was quite surprised at exactly how strange the whole experience was. Quite awesome, indeed!
Tags : hypobaric chamber, physiological training