"It's great conditions, it will be the fastest year ever!" Gary Couanis, 2018.
The final in our series about the Rottnest Channel Swim looks at the arduous crossing that I endured despite the conditions being favourable for swimmers and paddlers alike. This has given me insight into a commonly treated problem and I can now empathise with patients who suffer from vertigo... but more on that to come.
We set out from Fremantle to meet our swimmers bright and early on Saturday morning and conditions looked set for a fast time, when I finally got onto the board and set for a changeover all was good. But after a couple of stints paddling the power of the ocean set in.... 3 capsized boats, a 4m great white sighting and horrible sea sickness ensued and my heroic paddle crossing was looking shakey!
But then to quote Mariah Carey, a hero came along.... and he had the strength to carry on!! This helped me cast my fears aside and I knew I would survive. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to my hero, Simon!!
Nobody on our boat could forget about one of our paddlers who lay motionless with the exception of when he was vomiting over the side of the boat as his vestibular apparatus gave up on him!! But Simon pushed through, guiding the swimmers to a personal best crossing to the island! And I can't thank him enough.
Following the celebrations of the swimmers and the rest of the team we returned to the mainland and went about our lives. But the nagging sensation of queasiness, dizziness and nausea lingered for the remainder of the evening and I began to feel a certain empathy for some of our very specific client base.
Vertigo, or BPPV, is a condition whereby the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear stops giving the appropriate message to the brain about where upright is and dizziness and nausea ensues. I have treated patients successfully with cases of this a number of times and yet I have never experienced the symptoms myself.
I was lucky enough to wake up the next morning feeling fine, but people with true vertigo can benefit greatly from some very simple treatment and effective rehabilitation exercises. So if you or a loved one are struggling with these kinds of symptoms don't hesitate to give us a buzz or book online, at the very least I can offer some empathy!
Congratulations again to all the swimmers and paddlers who participated in the swim, and a big thumbs up to Team SABA and Swim for Proudie who raised significant funds for a couple of very worthwhile causes.