So… Although we had a lot of downtime during the adventure in the Khumbu, there wasn’t much time or patience to write everything that happened. So here’s an update.
While in Lobuche, one of our Nepali friends (B) had a cut become infected, and a day later, while in Gorak Shep she got an infection in the Lymphatic system of the arm where she had her cut.
The day our group made the trek up Kala Patthar, B had to go down to a lower elevation (Pheriche) so arrest the development of the infection.
Our group returned to Pheriche that evening to find one of our comrades, Diane Z, had fallen ill with AMS, the effects of altitude. That evening was damage control. Oxygen for Diane, IV antibiotics for B from the Himalayan Rescue Associations hospital, which thankfully is located in Pheriche.
We woke to find B’s hand/arm swollen like a hockey glove, and blood poisoning beginning to spread through her system (visible with streaks running up her arm). Dianes AMS symptoms has worsened, so Coach White had to hop into action.
A phone call, or 6, to the insurance company to get clearance for a helicopter evacuation for Diane, which would also include a spare seat for B so she could get proper medical attention in Kathmandu.
Seconds seem like minutes, and minutes seem like hours when you’re waiting to get someone evacuated. Finally, after an hour of phone calls and an hour of waiting our turn for a helicopter, there it was. A beautiful black bird with red trim showed up to whisk away Diane and B. As quickly as it came, it was gone. They were on the way to safety. Diane needed drastically lower elevation and B needed a hospital, badly.
Everyone on the trek was under the assumption B had been bitten by something. She said she felt a sharp pain in her hand while laying in bed that evening in Lobuche. It wasn’t until the evening after she was evacuated that we found out it was a previous ‘scratch’ which had become infected.
So now, it’s about noon April 15th, I think. We leave Pheriche for Deboche. The walk takes a large portion of the day but we wind up at a wonderful tea house known as Rivendell. We have a later dinner, and head to bed (surprise surprise eh?)
The morning of the 16th we found another of our fellow Trekkers had fallen ill. This time one of our Kiwis, Chris. For lack of a better term, she had the Khumbu Rumble. For those of you who have never travelled to a 3rd world country, you won’t quite know what this is all about. For those of you who have, she had a bout of rumbly belly. She was zapped of her energy, and felt like she wanted to lay in bed all day.
Unfortunately, laying in bed all day doesn’t really do anything for you when you’re still at an altitude equivalent to being on top of Mt Baker, or higher. The body doesn’t rejuvenate itself at altitude, however there is a catch-all cure for ailments suffered while you’re up where we were… Descend, descend, descend, and that’s what we were going to do.
Chris was able to muster the strength from the tea house to get up about a 1000ft incline of a hill to Tengboche, but that was about it. From there she needed a horse to take her down into a valley which was another 1000-1500ft, then back up the other side of equal elevation.
Speaking from experience (I suffered the same fate last year) I know the torment she went through both with the health issues, and those of being guided on a horse up and down some very unfriendly trails. All in all, she did very well with the hand that was dealt to her and managed to tough it out for the next 3 days until we were able to get out of the Khumbu.
B has had an operation to clear up tue swelling and she is now recovering well in hospital. Hopefully soon she will be able to head home for some much needed rest.
As for the rest of us, there is still a little Khumbu Cough left in some of us, but the remainder are all in good health with nothing but entertaining stories to tell of their travels through the Himalayas.
So it’s the 19th today, and we’re sitting in a cute little bungalow at the Kathmandu Guest House Resort at the Chitwan National Park. It’s pushing 30+ degrees outside, the fans on full blast, and I’m about to take a nap. Tonight, I believe, we have an evening of culture at a performance center where the local people, known as the Thara, will be singing and dancing for us in native attire.
The adventure continues.