Yesterday I arrived in Kathmandu and was taken straight to the Chitwan hospital. Driving through the gates of the hospital I was happily surprised to see a large clean modern building. I don’t really know what my expectations were, but the hospital certainly exceeded them, and because I was an emergency evacuation I was seen immediately!
Initially a nurse took my temperature, blood pressure and other basic info. Shortly, a western doctor came in to examine me. I explained what had occurred over the past couple of weeks and after reassuring me that the hospital staff had a lot of experience in high altitude illness said he would like to run a number of tests. I was then shown into a private room, to rest.
Very soon a nurse came in saying she needed to take some blood. While she was doing this we started chatting. It transpired that my friend, Matt, who had been evacuated from our Everest expedition last year, just after arriving at base camp, with pulmonary oedema, was treated by her. (Matt managed to return and summit!)After she had finished taking my blood she took me to another room where another doctor performed an ultrasound of my stomach. I was told that the ultra sound would show up any problems with my kidneys, appendix or pancreas, which was what the first doctor had said could be the cause of my pain.
After the ultrasound was finished the nurse took me back to my room where she carried out an ECG (electrocardiogram). Just as she was finishing the first doctor returned. Apparently the ultrasound had shown nothing that would indicate a problem which would cause me such serve pain but that my liver was slightly enlarged and consequently they wanted to do more tests. In the meantime they would put me on an IV drip as I was severely dehydrated.
Later that evening the doctor came back and said that they thought the cause of my pain was due to serve gastritis. He explained that it can be excruciating and combined with altitude and dehydration it could cause the severity of pain I had described. This was a massive relief as he went on to say that it could be easily treated by adding some medication to my IV line and that as long as I took further medication ,that they would give me, for the next couple for weeks I should be able to return to Everest after a couple of day’s rest. Hurray!