Sunday, November 11, 2007

Brrrrr-eaking the cold weather gear out (with new ER twist)

We're getting some colder temperatures out here these days. I've been getting down to freezing at night, though not long enough to freeze my water bottles. Luckily the rain we got recently has filled up the springs and streams, so there is actually water in my bottles ready to freeze. I've very excited about the wool long underwear that is sitting about a mile away from here at the Rendezvous Motel, where I'm staying tonight. The hourly rate is very reasonable here in Pearisburg VA.

The leaves are starting to be past their prime, and are mostly brown now rather than the great color show that was going on as recently as last week. If I had to make a complaint (of which, I really do have very few), it would be that the deep leave cover on the ground makes following the trail hard. When the trail is visible, if covered, the leaves make travel hard due to not being able to see the pointy rocks, holes, or tripping roots. Even when [not finished due to time limit in the library]

Now with Medical TV Flavor:

So... a bunch has happened in the last week. It all basically boils down to: after I wrote that text above, I went to get more food (5 plates of all you can eat chinese!), and later that night suffered incredible stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. I thought this could have been a stomach virus or food poisoning, so I waited it out for 4 days. Two of those I was being baby-sat by a very helpful hiker buddy. After 4 days I was finally convinced that medical help was needed, and was sent to the ER where fluids were alternately (well... sometimes simultaneously) pumped into and out of me.

They found that a gall stone had probably passed through my pancreas, an infection was raging in my still stone filled gall bladder, and that my gall bladder wussed out and ruptured. So, they gutted me, taking out the gall bladder, and hosed all the bile and infected material out of my torso. Well... do you still call it being gutted if they use 3 tiny holes instead of a large ragged gash?

The good news is that

  • I didn't die (oh yeah! they said I could have in those first 24 hours of agony),
  • though the stone wasn't the biggest, nor was the gall bladder wall the thickest, the doctor did proclaim that my rupture was the messiest he's seen in over 1000 gall bladder surgeries
  • I'll need just a couple more weeks of recovery time.
  • the swelling around the incision area has migrated south on my torso, doing what all those spam e-mails claim, but without herbs (though only temporarily, painfully, and unusably)

I'm resting up at our Kentucky sanatorium (AKA, the folk's home). I will decide a bit later on if I'm going to continue to finish the trail this year, or if I'm going to move on to my next adventure. Either way, if you see folks on the trail who know me, pass on the news: "he's not dead yet. you may still have to see him again."

Ah... and just to protect the all-you-can-eat chinese place (because it was good eats)... it wasn't their food that did me in. The fats/oils just triggered what was already going to happen. I could have just as easily been stricken after drinking a bottle of EVOO or eating a stick of butter as in my normal food-dreams.

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