Everest 3.0: Third Toothbrush and Other Such Odometer Moments

I brushed my teeth with my third toothbrush of the trip this morning. For awhile, I couldn’t remember why I needed a second but it just came to me, my bags were initially delayed when I got to Kathmandu.

I was brushing with my third toothbrush in he Norvic International Hospital this morning. I was tempted to type hotel because my room is as quiet as comfy as a hotel room. A hotel room that comes with benefits like respiratory therapy, vital sign monitoring, and medications to help me get better.

They are discharging me today. I got some sleep last night, first time in weeks as the treatment cut the coughing jags in half. I’ll be on meds for a few days and I got cleared to return to 5000 metres. This is terrific news as I have friends trekking to meet me at Mt Everest base camp and maybe, just maybe I can trek there with them.

So that seems like a win when I could perceive all losses. I can’t think ahead to 7000 or 8000 or almost 9000 metres. It’s way to early to think of that. First, I’m grateful that my teammates and I are safe (that they made it through the Khumbu Icefall and me over it). I’m also grateful that this is my first hospitalization in 15 years and that I have little interaction with health care ( ie I’m pretty darn healthy). I’m grateful that this experience is novel not familiar.

Second, though this may ultimately mark the third attempt rather than summit of Everest, one never knows. Already, I see signs of improvement. I’m moving more. I’m more alert. I had my first shower in two weeks (Did I mention that it was divine and offered both hotel and Everest Base Camp ( i.e. Bucket options)? I’m wanting to get out. I’m grateful for a one night stay/ experience rather than a two week or two year one ( and I know so many friends who’ve endured/survived/ overcome much much tougher health crisis than I ever will.

Finally, the sudden removal from the situation has given the gift of reflection that is difficult to manage from within it. The circular patterns of thinking have been broken, giving both levity and perspective. Odometer moments abound. Like the moment above where I set a new sleeping altitude record for myself. 7200 metres. How many other humans slept at that that altitude that night? 30? 50? Likely 100 max in the whole world and that’s pretty cool.

Or this step? When was the last time you took a step like this one? Tethered or not?

Or like this one?

I’ve always said, of my first two attempts, and likely my third (but it’s too early to be a realist), that if I wasn’t willing to risk disappointment, then I would be leaving too many life enriching experiences on the table. Too many odometer moments unclicked or unnoticed.

Instead, having “expeditionious interuptus” has given me even more fight and will to persevere if I hadn’t. Funny how when they are going to take something away you love, that you hold on with all of your might.

Speaking of loved ones, Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to all who consider themselves mothers. Thanks for all the love and nurturing you spread throughout the world.

I’m being discharged at noon. Ill be doing everything I can think of to get strong and healthy and I’ll keep sharing this mountainous path and all of its odometer moments with you.

Please keep me, the people of northern Alberta, and all those who suffer in your mind today. We can all use your care and compassion. Thanks.

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18 Responses to Everest 3.0: Third Toothbrush and Other Such Odometer Moments

  1. Walter Harding says:

    You are a spectacular mountain climber,a wonderful educator and an extraordinary human being. Thank you so much for bringing us along with you on your amazing journey.
    We want so bad for you to be safe and are very grateful for all the pictures and insight.

  2. Great news you’re getting sprung from your hotel! Keep your spirits up, and remember every path we take in life, even if we walk the same path many times is always a little different then the time before, as we are also different each time. Cheering you on for Everest 3.0 and all the beauty and adventure it holds no matter the altitude!

  3. Petrina Ula says:

    I am a friend of Kim’s. I am from Newfoundland, but I live on Guam. I have a deep connection to the people of Nepal, particularly orphans. My Pastor, my friends in Nepal, and I are praying for your recovery, and your quest to climb Everest.

  4. Karen says:

    Great news TA. Feel better and thoughts are with you and our Fort Mac friends.

  5. Marie says:

    Hi TA. I’m a retired teacher and I’ve been following your blog after seeing an interview with you on CBC. I read your posts and wonder at your determination and drive. No…climbing a mountain is not something I would ever consider but I guess we all have our own “Everest”. Your post this morning is insightful and thoughtfully written. I’m sure that it will make a great basis for a lesson plan for the teachers who are following you. The students will all benefit from your words. All the best to you now and always.

    • TA Loeffler says:

      Thanks…no matter what out Everest is, we are often sidetracked/blocked/prevented from advancing by health and other crisis and I think it’s valuable to learn how other navigate this complex terrain.

  6. Your summit is in every step of your climb. You prove that personal mantra for me with every word you write about your journey and your perspective on it, TA.

  7. Carley Pesente says:

    It’s not the end. It’s just the beginning of another adventure for you my friend.

  8. Dick Horan says:

    Wonderful news of your improved health.

    Could you explain how evacuation from the mountain is handled? Is it through a private agency or Government? I assume you carry climbing/evac insurance to cover such emergencies? What does a helicopter evac cost from Everest to Katmandu?

    May you continue to get better and stronger.

    • TA Loeffler says:

      My expedition has a Nepali partner that it organizes the trip with-that includes rescue. We radioed our team leader who worked with our local partner as well as two private helicopter companies to organize the flight. I was met at the airport by one of the local partners who had chosen which local private hospital to use and yes, I had insurance coverage to cover both the helicopter flight and hospital stay. I don’t know what the costs were yet as the hospital made the payment arrangements directly. It took much of the day to be discharged as a result but I didn’t need to pay for it all and be reimbursed which was fantastic news (and simplified the paperwork very much for me). I’m grateful that it was all handled so professionally, efficiently, and with good care.

  9. Les Barbour says:

    Great to hear your being released! Especially good news your cleared to return to 5000m. Get out of Kathmandu asap as that’s not a healthy place to be. Trekking back up to BC with your friends seems just like the meds you need right now. Thinking of you…Les

  10. Donna Hewitt says:

    Wtg, TA! Cheering you on!

  11. Julie says:

    The Experiential Ed program at your alma mater, MSU, Mankato, is cheering you on, T.A! You’re fulfilling what so many of us can only dream about. Each labored step for you = one giant leap of inspiration for experiential learners everywhere.

  12. lmeehan0628 says:

    I follow your journey not to see what you achieve but to take heart with your indomitable spirit and to be inspired. Climbing Signal Hill with tires in tow is as exciting as any climb of any mountain. Healthy and happy is more important to all who follow your journey.

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