‘Thursday 4th April ~1930
We have reached Lobuche 4910m. We are all really suffering from Altitude problems. I have barely eaten today even though I’ve been starving. My head hurts, I’ve been nauseated and I’ve definitely got loss of appetite. Thank God the Loperamide has worked. I took my Migraleve today – I know I shouldn’t have because it’s Codeine based but the Ibuprofen just wasn’t touching it.
Just had a chat with GP lady about whether or not to take the Acetazolamide or not and her advice was just to take it.
A few things to say before heading to bed. Today, I basically followed Pemba’s footsteps foot by foot. But more than that, it was his energy. His stable, constant energy which kept me going. Thank you Pemba.
I am already looking forward to playing Foozball in Namche and buying a salwar and dressing up in Kathmandu.
Time for bed. Last day, hard day. Best get myself physically and mentally prepared.
PS-Don’t forget the Haribo.’
I know, it doesn’t really give you an impression of what the place was like, how the Himalayas looked, what the temperature was like, how the group were getting on or what state my feet were in. Looking back, now almost 2 months later, the memories that come back to me are as follows:
My chest was really doing my head in.
I have already tentatively mentioned the dry cough I had developed (the one that lead to the very unceremonious spitting, sometimes even of blood (don’t worry, nothing too drastic and likely just trauma related)). I’ve recently learned that this cough is called ‘the Khumbu cough’. Damn Khumbu cough.
With cold temperatures and a very dusty and dry environment, and being the smallest member of the group, I’m pretty sure all the dust that was flying up from our tramping feet went directly into my lungs and decided to fester and irritate the hell out of me (and no doubt the rest of the group also). It kept me up hacking all night (my poor room mate!). It was reported that my cough could be heard 3 doors down. There were many offers of antibiotics (‘It’s not bacterial, it won’t help’ I replied stubbornly) and still I trooped on as if I had full lung capacity. I did not. I can fully admit this 2 months later, my lungs were hating me, a lot.
I did think once or twice, is this the dreaded HAPE? I doubted it. After all, it started from much lower down and when I was spitting I could actually see the muck and gunk that was lining my lungs, yuck. However, I doubt it helped me in any way. I tried valiantly with steam inhalation, tiger balm, cough syrup, everything, still no luck. For those of you reading this before heading to Everest, another option is Night Nurse (a GP friend suggested this incidentally on Facebook and I happened upon his comment, as you do). Next time, I’ll definitely be stocking up on the Night Nurse, and maybe a Salbutamol inhaler or two, just incase that whole wheezing malarkey decides to happen again!
The rest, my impression of what the place was like, how the Himalayas looked, what the temperature was like, how the group were getting on or what state my feet were in? I’ll tell you. The place I barely remember, of what I do it was grim. The Himalayas were barren, rock rock and more rock. It was wonderful to actually BE there, but as you’ll read later, I missed (and did not realise it yet) the green world of trees and plants and flowers. The temperature was cold, my sleeping bag cosy. The group, still fantastic and never wavering. And my feet, my feet were perfect. My foot powder remained unopened, my blister packs unused. Just (in my mind) purple socks, or to those more technical than me, Bridgedale trekking socks and a pair of reasonably well worn boots (I did mention that I wore them non-stop in the weeks preceding my trek, including my 2 week holiday in the States right? They may not have looked very fashionable with my stylish dresses walking down Times Square in New York, but needs must and a little fashion faux pas here meant intact feet there). I am so proud to say, I have not had a single blister throughout my entire trip.
Every cloud eh?