Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – Day Four
Disaster struck today!!! Last evening two of our team members became ill with a gastro intestinal infection. This can end a climbers expedition and the dream of standing on the summit. Our team has taken every precaution to avoid this but sometimes the infections get into the camp. We use huge amounts of hand sanitizer and wash before entering the mess tent for any activity but on occasion it happens.
Both myself and Peter have become ill. Peter was able to recover about 75% by the morning but I was unable to get out of bed after spending a miserable night in the cold and damp weather vomiting with severe diarrhea. There is no worse place to be sick than in a tent at 12,000 feet, trust me.
Before the trip began, we decided to plan an extra day into the itinerary for any contingency that might occur. Now we were so fortunate that we did. The decision had to be made whether to use our day here hoping for my recovery or to send me out by medical evacuation. I didn’t want to hold up the team but there wasn’t a chance I was going to be able to get out of bed, never mind climb a mountain today. We decided to use our extra day and hope I was able to recover enough to continue the climb.
In the beginning of the trip, Jimmy our ever positive climber, suggested that a little adversity on a trip was a way to really make an adventure. Now, I was cursing my friend Jimmy! Not only did we have the adversity of illness but it was absolutely a downpour of rain.
We made the decision to stay in camp, wait for the rain to clear and hopefully for me to recover and continue. I now am beginning to understand the climber mind of determination and dedication to the summit. I had trained long and hard for this and nothing was going to keep me from my goal. I was not going to let this “bug” keep me from the summit yet I knew it would effect my strength and that I would have to recover fast to stay with the group.
The entire day I was unable to eat and only drink a small amount of fluid. This is also critical as dehydration is a major factor in altitude sickness. It was imperative that I was able to keep down fluids. All day I sipped slowly on electrolyte drinks and water finally able to keep down an antibiotic. However, I was very concerned for the next day. We would climb to 15,000 feet and I needed to have gas in the tank to do it.
Pete continued to have issues as well but fared better than I did today. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow that I am headed up the mountain with the team and not down to a waiting rescue vehicle.
I don’t think I will post any photos from today………..trust me on this