EBC Series: Staying healthy on the Mountain

Hello lovely friends,

Time is passing quickly. Summer has been filled with social events, dinners, and travel. During our downtime, we hike, research, and plan for October.  Just a few people have been privy to the research and planning phase of our Everest Adventure (which started last fall) - and this weekend marks the seven week countdown!

50 days until my Dad arrives, 54 days until we leave.  We have a lot to do. 

A few weeks ago we met with our travel MD

to make sure we are current on immunizations and to get a prescription for Diamox.  If you haven't visited a Travel MD, first you sit for a consultation. Our doctor wanted to know why we chose to travel via Istanbul (which is unstable at the moment), and asked about our Kilimanjaro experience to gather additional information. 

Lessons learned

Our time on Kilimanjaro taught us a lot. Bill will tell you about weak stomachs. Others in our group had 'bathroom issues.' One hiker sweat through his clothes daily. This same guy 'passed gas' ALL day.  Thankfully I didn't suffer from any of these symptoms, but I probably had the worst altitude reaction of our group.

Altitude sickness is common.  I remember one night, while eating dinner in the mess tent (16.5K elevation), a fellow trekker was fine one minute and sick the next. After getting medical care, Michael told us he didn't even feel it coming.  It just hits you!  

View of our camp from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

View of our camp from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

I know what it feels like to have your mind wander, and wonder if you could be left for dead.  A bit melodramatic, sure... but these were my thoughts at the time.... how would they find me behind a 15 foot boulder. 

Shortly after settling into our camp, at 19K, I foolishly walked away to squat behind a Flintstone size boulder and throw up.  I was so tired that I considered taking a nap. 

You can see in the photo above that I was only twenty feet from the tent. Too tired to walk far, I remember sleeping and have no memories of eating dinner.  Our guides were watching me, any comfort from our time in Crater Camp came from knowing they weren't worried.

The doctor visit

Traveling as much as we do, we visit our travel MD once a year.  Carrying immunization cards with our passports... antibiotics, and over the counter medication are travel must haves for us.

For our Nepal trip, I needed just one booster for Hep B.  Bill needed a few vaccines.  We were thrilled to learn that the Yellow Fever immunization is good for a lifetime vs ten years. I had a bad reaction in 2013 and will never take this vaccine again - a lifetime vaccine gifts us time to travel to Yellow Fever regions of the world.  A strange sentence to write... I have no idea where Yellow Fever is prevelant. 

We walked away with sore arms and a few prescriptions, Diamox and Z Pack.  When we climbed Kili, we didn't think to travel with cold medication.  A silly mistake we will never make again.  Nyquil day/night will be in our pack, as well as throat lozenges.

Finding a good hydration system

I have been researching options most of the summer, following climbers on Instagram to see if they mention a favorite product, to find the best refuel supplement.  It needs to travel well, fit in a daypack... AND work. ;) 

A quick exchange with Sarah Heron has me leaning towards LiquidIV.  She mentioned how much it helped her after hiking/climbing above 14K.  Social media at its best!  I was thrilled to hear from her, a woman who's charity I support, and a woman I admire. Have you used this product, or recommend something different?  

Now our focus shifts to the packing list - we have a few items left to buy.  

Summer is almost over.  I love seeing so many of our friends are traveling this summer, from weekend hiking to one family enjoying a three month holiday exploring Europe.  I hope your summer is going well.