Glenn shared with the members about his recent trip to the Everest region of Nepal.
After diligently training for close to six months, researching all of the best guide firms, having all the right injections and taking along a comprehensive first aid kit he was ready to face the worst that the unknown was likely to throw at him.
It all started as well if not better than expectations.
The guide company were wonderful arriving on time and most helpful. Soon the little grubby planes loaded to maximum transported the enthusiastic intrepid trekkers smoothly from Kathmandu to the short sloping Hillary- Tensing runway at Lukla the entrance to the walking track that leads to Mt Everest. Over the next two days the little Sherpa porter guide and Glenn walked steadily up the track to Namche Bazaar altitude 3440. This is a bustling town where everyone rests and acclimatises to the high altitude. Mamche is unlike any other Asian market with no hawkers, nor beggars. The shops sell everything from high technology climbing equipment to lucky charms, latte coffee and German pastries. The Sherpa stall holders are universally quiet, polite, and friendly with the time to chat with the multi national throngs of trekkers speaking a babble of languages. An endless stream of pack mules, yaks, buffaloes, and Sherpa porters carrying everything from toilet paper to building materials stagger into the town day and night. The bells around the necks of the tired animals provide a constant jingle to the surreal atmosphere. Reading and swatting up on the pearls of wisdom in the Lonely Planet Guide book is part of the ethos. The locals recommend drinking excessive quantities of water and garlic soup to counter the affects of the thin air. Others follow the holy grail of the LPG which has four close typed pages of advice on the dreaded altitude sickness. The recommended medication is Diamox or the well known drug Viagra. Taking a half tablet of Diamox as a precaution before ascending the next day to Tengboche 3860m seemed a preferable option compared with drowning in ones own blood. So the dreaded pill was popped and suddenly every tree along the track became more important than viewing the majesty of Mt Everest towering over all in its snow clad mantel. Alas the hoped for wearing off of the side affects of the drug did not occur and the sad reality sunk in like a kick below the belt. The trip was over and heading back to someone that might help was the only option. The few tears of sadness that came to the eyes did nothing to ease the pain where it was needed. Staggering back down the mountain passing all the enthusiastic parties heading up and all those big stone steps is something that will be etched into ones memory for a long time. Ms Rita Dorma Sherpa who runs a private nursing practice at Namche was sitting in her little shop when we arrived many painful hours later.
As she shook the accumulated dust off the catheter equipment housed in an open cardboard box on a shelf she muttered that it was sterile. Commenting that I was the first person ever in Namche to get a catheter, did nothing to ease the apprehension. Half way through the difficult procedure the pain was prolonged when she scurried out from behind the curtain that separated us from the yak filled street, to consult with the doctor in Kathmandu. So the remainder of the long planned for trip slowly dragged on for days first waiting to get back to Kathmandu to see a urologist specialist then back to New Zealand and the wonders of modern medical service that welcome you with open arms in return for an open cheque book.