I'm claustrophobic. Is there a hyperbaric chamber in Taipei I may be able to handle?


#1

I’m on a (probably vain) quest for an open and airy hyperbaric chamber. My doctors are recommending several sessions in a hyperbaric chamber for an ear problem I’m facing. I went for a session in MacKay (Danshui) hospital’s hyperbaric chamber and … nope. Couldn’t stomach it. The pictures make it look like you’re Snow White lounging in her mildly confining glass coffin. The pictures don’t show you that in fact they’re putting three people in that glass coffin, hunched over in three seats like in a jet fighter, with big hoods covering the head. Annoyingly, this is not something my own particular strains of anxiety can handle.

Anyway, now that what I’ve always considered mild claustrophobia has become more of a health concern for me - has anyone been to hyperbaric chambers here that aren’t so restricting? Ideally, ones that I can read a magazine in? I’ve got lots of coping mechanisms that have always previously stopped this from being a significant problem. Podcasts, crosswords, books … but I believe I’m not allowed to bring any of those coping mechanisms into hyperbaric chambers. They don’t want us to burst into flames, oddly enough.

Any suggestions or experiences? Thanks!


#2

IDK if it helps, but there’s ones that made out of clear material so maybe it’s not as bad being able to see outside?


#3

Thanks. Yeah this one was clear but was still too tough for me: packed in too tightly, with a big submarine style door locking you in. They did provide a tv outside for distraction, but between crinkly plastic hoods and then the glass, I’m not sure I’d have been able to see it. Plus it was typical Taiwan daytime news, so minimal distraction value.


#4

I believe thats the best you will get unfortunately. They pretty much all have those submarine like doors for the obvious reasons like how submarines also needs to keep the air pressure. I’m not sure what else to say, it’s not exactly a machine thats in high demand for making it bigger, I would assume bigger equals more expensive for the job it’s suppose to do. Perhaps you can have a good friend that understands and can be there to talk to you?


#5

Don’t know anywhere with a bigger one, you could try contacting some of the Scuba instructors on here or on Facebook, they may have some information.

Failing that perhaps ask if they can prescribe Xanax or something similar to counter the anxiety for the period of the treatment.


#6

i would say this might be your best option also, they give these out like candy in Taiwan so i’m sure they would allow it.


#7

I did ask abut drugs, and they really didn’t want to do that. They’re already pumping me with steroids, and there are too many unknowns between steroids + relaxation drugs + high-oxygen environment. And I totally respect them for saying that! I also didn’t mention to them that the last time I took an anti-nausea drug I wound up vomiting, so my body seems to react oddly to those kinds of things.

Xanax or the like does however remain an option if the doctor decides that the optional MRI I couldn’t do becomes more necessary. Shit, if someone had told me the last step before insertion into the MRI tube would be a Hannibal Lecter-style mask over the face, at least I would have been a little more prepared! “Ready?” "Um, to go in to the chamber? Ok, sure, let’s try … " “KA-CHUNK KA-CHUNK CLAMP” “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

Oh well. The hyperbaric treatment looks helpful, but not a sure thing: one of those approaches that gives 20% better results 30% of the time, or something like that. I wish I were able to do it, but I guess it’s not going to happen.

Thanks for the suggestions!


#8

If you want big hyperbaric, you have to go to Kaohsiung. They have a 20-seater at the Armed Forces General Hospital, next to the Naval Academy.

I visited there in 2006. Fortunately I didn’t have to go inside, but I got to look through the portholes.

http://806.mnd.gov.tw/english/index.php?page=med_fea


#9

Wow! They put 20 people in there? Doesn’t it mess up the o2 levels with that many people?


#10

Taiwanese people don’t generally care about air-flow, and air-circulation: example:

However, I’m sure the medical wizzes at Triforces Hospital have a ventilation system to suit the chamber.

Divers suffering the bends from all over the Asia-Pacific region get sent there for treatment. It’s one of the world’s best.

I guess you won’t hear about that at WHA/WHO.


#11

What kind of ear problem are you suffering? Is it sudden hearing loss? We also see patient with some kind of ear diseases in TCM department.

The biggest HBO chamber in north Taiwan,according to this news cover in 2006, is located in Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in Taipei. 12 patients can be seated inside. I don’t know if there’s any bigger chamber being set up for the past decade.