We were able to sleep in late, didn't hit the road until 9am. In less than twenty five yards it started up hill again; this is the new normal; this lasted a complete hour of climbing rock strewn steps to the top where the first resting place took place near a Stupa. I always say within an hour, all that we've eaten for breakfast has been burned off. Some of the doctors jokingly say they have not been regular because there is nothing to get rid of; it's been all burned up climbing these "bloody Hills" as our Scottish doctors say.
My good friend Chris says to me the first thing this morning while I was putting my pack on, "Glen, you look like shit!." I thought I looked pretty good because I felt great . Chris is a doctor from New York, so I blew him off and chalked it up to that stereotypical New York style😊 about an hour later he comes up to me and says, "Glen you don't look like shit, I'm just looking through shitty glasses." It's this kind of bonding that has made this a special bond between the twelve of us; the other three doctors we left at base camp, they are going to be there for a minimum of three months; we'll miss them, they were fun to be with. The thee doctors that we left at base camp will run the ER (emergency tent) at Mt. Everest Base Camp. Their job is to tend to all the injured and sick climbers at Base Camp, or summiting Everest, they have volunteered their time for this assignment.
Nothing unusual happened today which is unusual. People are still sick, one person's Khumbu cough has gotten worse, one person has a heel problem their nursing because of the up and down sliding of their feet in the boots their wearing, another person is still having headaches, and another continues to experience flue like symptoms. This is a trek I would not advise unless you're fully prepared for some of the harsher extremes. Every single person now on our team has had some challenge with climbing this high.
When you're away, things can happen that you can't control. My roommate made a call that didn't turn out too well, he's been the life of the group, quick with the jokes, athletically fit, smart, talented, the kind of doctor you would want. It appears like girl trouble from the conjecture people were making. It was obvious, he was so quiet that the group could tell something had happened after the phone call the night before; he walked alone this day; introspective and pensive in thought. I let him know that i respected his space, but that i was still thinking about him; I could see on his face that he was grateful that I didn't pry Into what was bothering him. Turns out its not what we thought, it's a private matter that I'll respect.
I too had received some sad news while on this trip, I found out my brother-in-law is now in a Hospice facility with a cancer that is eating his young life away, and that he's barely recognizable. I've known this for at least five days now, and have kept him in my prayers daily as I hike. I'm dedicating this trek to Major Jeffery Davis, a young man with a beautiful wife and two great kids. I've not shared this with the group, but it's on my mind daily.
For the first time, I had a Sherpa behind me pushing me up the steep incline of the steps on a hill. It has taken everything out of each of us, we are really tired and have two more days to go to come down the mountain.
The lecture this evening was on ocular (eye) injuries in the wild. There were discussions about using a safety pin, or using whatever to stabilize these types of injuries; some of it grossed the three of us non-docs out. One person said they were going to bed with nightmares about eyes now. I sat next to Jim who kept teasing me about what you could do with a safety pin to someone's eye to save their eye, I'll get him back:)
The pictures below are of the cook for our dinner tonight, I asked would she pose for me in her kitchen, she seem so happy to do so. The other picture is of me standing above a rapid of raging water below, and the next picture is a group of women washing clothes outside as we passed by, this community washing ritual is hundreds of years old. in the hill country there are no washing machines or dryers, it's hands, rocks, and a rushing stream of water. Needless to say, you often saw a trail of rainbow colored fabric strewed out down stream; items that got away and swam down stream like wild salmon. None of the women seemed to mind one way or another that a couple of items disappeared. The community wash is full if conversation and animated gesturing, it truly is a hub where the women were solving and entertaining the issues of the day. I imagined as I watched what was going on that they were talking about us trekkers that passed by...
We have only been able to have our own clothes washed twice on this trip unless you did it yourself with whatever available sources you had available; that means we all are starting to smell like Yaks, and not recognize the smell because we've been around each other so much. I had my clothes washed once on this trip, I submitted 10 items, they were ready just before departure, as I was putting the new clothes in my pack, I said to my roommate, "looks like I got more than I put in, I now have extra shirts,two panties, and one thong."
My roommate suggested I go into the breakfast area and announce while holding in my hand the thong , "is anyone missing this thong?" We laughed. I did mention it at breakfast in a more dignified way than he suggested, no one claimed the thong, but I did have one person's favorite running shirts and panties, and some other items; she was quite embarrassed coming to claim the panties when she caught up with me on the trail. The teasing began at breakfast about whose thong it was, even some of the guys got teased that it belonged to them, it made for a great way to start the day with lots of laughter. Most likely the item belonged to someone else, another trekker who had had their clothes washed, I left the thong at the next place we stopped, in the room and just let the "thong gods" take it from there.