Doug Bruns

Himalayan Ass Kicking

In Adventure, Travel on May 15, 2012 at 4:04 am

May 11, 2012

In the night a wave of nausea sweeps over me. I wake suppressing a gag. I gasp for air. I can’t breath. I rush out to find a bathroom. Returning to my room at the mountain hostel I lie quietly, monitoring my condition. In six hours we set out again to climb another fifteen hundred feet. I lie awake in dread.

I can hardly put a foot in front of another. I put my head down and move. The sun is blistering. I have to jump off the trail to go to the bathroom. I am miserable. The mountain valley we move through is lost on me. Glaciers surround us. It does not matter. I can hardly move but most keep moving.

We arrive in Manang, elevation 11,614. I don’t know how I made it. Our guide, Ram, gets me a private room at the guest house and puts me to bed. He get more more water. Drinking water, liters at a time, is the best medicine for altitude sickness. I know this and try to drink, but can hardly lift my my head. I have been to altitude before and have never managed well. I am exhausted. Rolling into bed, I pull my sleeping bag up and my back goes into a pre-spastic clutch. My body if fighting back. Now is not the time.
________________________________

Twelve hours later I wake and my headache is gone. I feel strength returning, though I only ate a simple bowl of warm oat meal yesterday. My back is still tender but a quick check and all signs are positive. I am recovered. In twelve hours my body produced enough new red blood cells to get ahead of the challenge–for now. My spirits rise.

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