Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day Two- Afternoon

For lunch Ronaldo made Herman and I "toasties" (grilled cheese sandwiches with shredded vegetables). They were actually quite delicious. Little did I know that they were going to be the death of me...

In any case, after we finished our lunch, it was time to put back on our ponchos and head out. Here's a final view from our lunch spot:

It was not but 10 minutes when my stomach began to feel real queasy. I was familiar with this feeling, but I hadn't experienced it in ten years: the feeling that you're going to throw-up. I found it strange that I was feeling this way, as I hadn't eaten anything crazy or been around sick individuals. I asked Herman, "Um, what should I do if I need to throw-up?" His response was basically to go on the side of the path. As I continued to climb, I started to send quick prayers to God: "please don't let me get sick, please don't let me get sick."

We continued to climb, my stomach pain worsened, and the porters passed us. We traveled up, up and up into the clouds:

Then it struck. Vomit #1. I was pissed. I hate vomiting, and as mentioned, it had been 10 years since I last vomited. I don't think Herman quite knew what to do. During this first time, he just looked at me. I looked at him with a sweat-stained, drool covered face. I think I said something like, "That was fun."

My joking mood quickly deteriorated as I started to have the shits. At this point I knew my illness: food poisoning. The word that kept appearing in my head was "cheese." I put two and two together and quickly realized that the delicious "toasties" had made me sick. That had been the first time on the journey that I had eaten cheese, and the effects were quickly known. Oddly enough, when I last threw-up ten years ago, it was also due to food poisoning--I had eaten mac n' cheese in Nepal. Lesson learned: do not eat cheese in foreign countries!

The rest of the day's climb was pure hell; I vomited at least six more times and had to crouch behind a bush countless times. I shat in my pants twice (once in my own pants, once in a pair of Herman's long johns that he loaned me). Luckily, Herman became increasingly sympathetic as my illness carried on; when I would stop to vomit, he would come over and rub my back. Rubbing my back provided some comfort, as it reminded me of the times when my mother would rub my back as a child. I do remember saying after one vomiting session, "I wish my mom was here!"

I slowly carried on and finally made it to our campsite where I collapsed in my tent. Herman was very adamant about me drinking liquids, especially the water + orange powder mixture he concocted (apparently the orange powder was some sort of electrolyte replenishing powder). Regrettably, Herman's mixture just made me throw-up.

Ezekiel (our waiter/porter) brought me toast. Herman was right behind him, telling me that I had to eat something. I kept on telling Herman, "I can't eat anything. I'm not hungry. I'll just throw-up again." Herman wasn't hearing it. It wasn't until I promised Herman that I would eat some of my toast that he left my tent.

I started to rip a piece of toast into small bits. Channeling my childhood, I started to make piles; my pile and Herman's pile. I would eat my pile if Herman ate his pile. My pile was smaller than Herman's. I eventually gave up trying to eat the small toast bites; they were dry, cold and bland. Herman was not happy with me when he returned, but I think he took pity on me and let me slide.

As sunset approached, I got up to use my tented throne; I was able to take a few photos during this time. Here's our campsite:

The ranger huts:

Back in my tent, staring at the ceiling, I wondered when I would get better:

I still didn't feel like eating anything when dinner rolled around, although Ronaldo made me rice. Herman strongly encouraged me to eat it. I ate some.

That night Herman gave me a Cipro pill (Cipro is used to fight bacteria in the body); I closed my eyes and prayed to God that it would help. I tucked myself into my sleeping bag, grabbed one of the Nalgene bottles Ronaldo had filled for me with hot water and shut my eyes, hoping to sleep.

It was quite rainy and windy that night. Listen to the video below for proof:

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