As one of the chamber technicians at Hyperbarics of Sun Valley, I recently had the pleasure of treating a former Army Green Beret for a couple of weeks. When I first introduced myself to him, he was quiet and reserved. I could see that he had no idea of what to expect from the 40 treatment sessions that lay ahead. This made me all the more excited to help him through the
On his first day in town, we processed his paperwork and moved him into the private suite on the second floor of our facility. As soon as he had settled in, we got him into the hyperbaric chamber for his first “dive.” He had some anxiety at first, as being in the chamber was a totally new and unique experience, but he relaxed quickly once he learned he could play games on his
phone and text his friends.
Before and after each session during that first week, we asked him a series of questions to get a baseline read on his level of his physical pain and how he felt about himself. It was clear that his PTSD and lower back discomfort brought on from a blast during deployment were a hindrance in his daily life. With a plan for treatment, we started him off diving down to 50 feet in the morning to reduce inflammation in his back, followed by a dive down to 16 feet in the afternoon to maintain the elevated oxygen saturation in his body until the next day. Based on his questionnaire responses, we could see him start to experience improvements within the first two weeks.
In relation to his lower back pain, our 1 through 10 rating scale (10 being the worst) indicated that his irritation dropped from a 4 to a 1 within the first week. Similarly, his reported level of brain fog, which started at a 6, had dropped to a 2 by his fifth dive. We were thrilled to see these results, as was the patient. He was smiling more now and handling social situations with
greater ease than before he started treatment.
As the treatments continued, his brain fog number also dropped to a 1, and by his 24th dive, he was off his medication completely. Along with this amazing transformation, I regularly took him out to our breathtaking rivers so he could enjoy the views and experience fly fishing in the Wood River Valley. I could tell by his laughter and smiles that he enjoyed every minute of his time here. By the end, once goodbyes and high-fives were exchanged, he summed up his new sense of well-being with, “It was a game-changer.”