Bent in Capri (G.Marola)(English)

CAPRI IS A BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, WELL known around the world.
However, if you plan to dive in the blue waters of Capri, don't eat a dish called Gamberoni in Guazzetto(Prawn with sauce). The weather was great as was the sea.
I greeted Giorgio, the boss of Capriccio Diving by slapping him on the shoulder, as usual. Giorgio is a very nice person who prefers the sun of Capri to the fog of his native city, Milan.
As we loaded our gear on Giorgios gozzo, a small wooden boat with an old diesel engine, I suddenly experienced a stomach cramp.
We left in the direction of Blue Grotto, the gozzo, purring like a content kitten.

The Blue Grotto, the pearl of Capri, is not far from the harbour Marina Grande. We arrived there after about 45 minutes, the sun still high in the blue sky of June.
I got dressed, took my Nikonos V and jumped in the water, Giorgio right behind me. We went down. My stomach cramp signalled me again. I was clicking away on my Nikonos.
At 46 m, we started a slow ascent along the wall. About an hour later, including 15 minutes of decompression, we were again on the boat.
I felt very well, whereas Giorgio who has a few kilos too many was a little tired. Hey Giovanni, Giorgio called out, did you notice that strong current? What strong current Giorgio? You like good cooking too much. I'm tough, even if I'm almost twice your age, eh,eh! I was still laughing when I suddenly experienced a violent pain on the pelvis.
It was like having a big stone pushed on it. I started to undress with great difficulty. The pain was strong and that cramp on the stomach became obsessive.
I tried to assume the fetal position to calm the pain. It provided some relief. Suddenly, a terrible suspicion crossed my mind: I was bent! After awhile I began to lose the sensation on my legs and soon, I was completely paralysed in both legs. Giorgio realised that something was wrong.
Hey Superman, what are you doing there? Nothing, I moaned. I don't feel so well. You're joking, of course? Well my legs don't work properly... I don't feel them anymore. Maybe I'm bent? Giorgio, I'm your first bent client! Giorgio was not amused.
He started to pinch my legs very hard in order to end my stupid joke. Nothing doing. They were absolutely insensitive.
Giorgio immediately started for the harbour. We remained silent, absorbed in our thoughts. I was lying down on the bottom of the boat with an inflated BC under my head.
The pain had subsided a bit. The island of Capri towered over me with its high cliffs falling straight down to the sea. The sky was so absurdly blue and clear.
I thought that this would be a great day to go. After about half an hour, Giorgio asked for the tenth time: How do you feel, Giovanni? Very well, thanks. Where are we? Only ten minutes and you will be at the hospital. Another big contraction at the lower part of my stomach was followed by a diffused itching on the legs.
Hey, my legs are coming back! See, I am recovered! I began to stand up with some effort, massaging my legs. Giorgio was on the point of crying, surprised and relieved. Once at the shop, Giorgio called the hospital and rushed me there on his scooter.
The Doc, a young neurologist, was waiting for me. What happened to you? he asked. I gave him a detailed report. So you had an embolism! Mmm. He didn't seem convinced. He asked about my age, past illnesses, etc. As I was talking, a distinct vrooom was heard.
What was that? he asked. A rumbling stomach? The Doc walked toward me and asked what I had eaten the previous night. When I told him about the Gamberoni in Guazzetto, he suddenly knew that there was no need for me to go to a recompression chamber.
The problem is that you are full of intestinal gas. You dove at depth with this Guazzetto producing a lot of gas at high pressure.
Then you reached the surface with your guts inflated like a soccer ball. These gases in turn pushed on your iliac artery, preventing the blood to go to the legs.
I paid the Doc and left. Giorgio was waiting, anxious. "What did he say? You must be recompressed before it's too late, Giovanni! I didn't have the heart to face his temper.
The Doc did not.. hmm.. he was not sure... you know... these damn Doctors speak latin... they do not understand... We'll take the scooter and go to the pharmacy.
To the pharmacy? But, why? You need to be recompressed. What the hell do you wish to buy now at the pharmacy? A supreme remedy for all kinds of gas embolisms, Giorgio, an Alka Seltzer!
That night I celebrated my last day in Capri by eating a delicious dish of Gamberoni in Guazzetto, washed down with a tasteful white wine.
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