Last year we were fortunate to have two doctors in our team, but this year, apart from Zack and Chris who only had first aid knowledge and a dentist, our team was lacking in expert medical advice. Therefore Zack, Chris and I decided that it would be best to head over to another team who had a doctor in their group and get checked out by someone with more experience. On arriving at the other team’s camp they were very helpful and showed us into their mess tent. Unlike our mess tent, theirs was a massive dome tent which was very spacious and excellent for dinning and relaxing in.
The doctor in their team was German and very friendly. He had a lot of experience in high altitude medicine and was a climber himself. After explaining my symptoms he did an examination. One of the worries which we had was that the pain I was experiencing could be the onset of appendicitis, which would be quiet serious at such altitude. The doctor relaxed our fears slightly by saying that the pain was too central for the cause to be appendicitis, and that only in a small number of cases does the pain start in the centre then move outwards and downwards. H e was worried though by the fact that I had only vomited a couple of times and how serve the cramps in my stomach were.
After finishing his examination, he said that I would be okay to stay at base camp and wait and see if things got better as long as the pain didn’t get any worse. IF it did, I would have to be evacuated down to hospital as quickly as possible. He said that the drop in altitude from ABC to base camp should also help and that hopefully the pain would clear up. This news was very reassuring; the last thing I wanted was to be evacuated down to hospital in Kathmandu, as in most cases that would mean the end of my expedition. It wasn’t a thought I wanted to contemplate as, having been here the previous year and getting agonisingly close to the summit, having to turn around for a second time due to something outside my control would be very hard to take.
When we returned to our camp I went straight to my tent to try and get some sleep. Seven Summits another team on the mountain were having a party to get to know other teams, but I was in so much pain by now that I didn’t even care.