When I awoke this morning, I got a glimmer of optimism and thought I felt a bit better. I even tried to plot out whether I could fly in tomorrow or the next day to meet my trekking friends. Within 30 minutes though, things regressed and I realized it might be time to toss in the towel or at least the boots and socks.
You see, though my energy is slowly returning, there is something almost equally important to a mountaineer missing. That is my balance and clearheadedness. Since flying down, there has been something wrong with my equilibrium. I am frequently dizzy. I frequently stumble and almost trip. My mind is thick and impaired. I don’t like it one bit. I thought, at first, rest/sleep might change it but it seems to be hanging stubbornly about.
I can’t climb or trek safely when navigating a city block is a challenge and taking a bad fall is a reality. I thought I could keep waiting for it to shift (which it hasn’t much in five days) as well as look into changing my flight home and to my surprise, there were seats tomorrow so I’m headed for home and my own medical team to sort out what’s on the go.
I have a similar boot picture from 2007 and 2010. Linda Cox has painted me a beautiful rendition of it. I took this pic on the way up. I don’t even have my boots. They are still at base camp but the sentiment is still there. It’s been a good journey. I climbed high. Not as high as I wanted. But high. I slept higher than I ever have before. I saw beautiful views and I worked hard. I got taken out of the game by some combo of altitude/illness issues and that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s one of the few times in over 20 expeditions that altitude overwhelmed me. Its humbling, its disappointing, and it is what it is.
Thanks for your support and I’ll be back in St. John’s sometime on Friday.