Thursday, 25 August 2011

Kilimanjaro Dairies: The conclusion

Sorry about the late follow up. I have been almost everywhere over the last month. Business and family responsibilities have kept me busy. So I am gonna try and be quick and dash.

21/07/2011
"Gemma, Gemma, Gemma" I heard my guide call me. They had strapped an oxygen canister to my chest and feed me oxygen. I was gasping for air. I was trying to breathe but I felt nothing. I was in pain, that was all I knew.... I couldn't remember anything. 2 liters of oxygen later and the canister empty. I heard my guide screaming in Swahili to someone on the phone. My guide turned to me and said "Gemma, we have to take you down". Of course I wouldn't let him. 4 men carried me and started sprinting across valleys, rocks and hills to a lower altitude so that my body would stabilize...while I was screaming and crying hysterically. All I could think of was all the investment I had made. Financially, that is! We finally got to Millennium camp n the dead of the night. A much lower altitude and the chief Ranger took one look at me. He peered into my eyes and said "you have PO, Altitude sickness you have to go down.". I just needed to sleep.... I had been hiking, crying and crawling for 10 hours and not being able to breathe. I just needed to sleep. "the mountain will always be here" he continued "you can't risk your life on here, do you want to die?". In less than 3 minutes the team of men came and yanked me off the floor and were heading further down to Mweka camp....they took turns to piggy back me. It was the most excruciating thing I have ever had to experience. I was a bit worried about being piggy backed by men who hadn't showered for days. Euugghhh anyway, the only thing I remember at that time was that I was in a lot of physical pain and there were countless numbers of stars in the sky. It was beautiful. We finally got to Mweka camp after 3 hours. I called my mum and cried and she consoled me....I slept almost immediately.

22/07/2011
I woke up a lot better and waited as dawn came then decided to descend. They were not going to let me go anywhere but down. I was gutted. They asked if I would prefer a stretcher or be piggy backed? I opted to walk. It was the slowest and most painful walk ever. When I got down to the gate. I had to exit and sign my name and it was only then I realized that only 40% actually made the summit. Thats odd. Where did I get it that it was a 96% success rate?

Anyway, I gave it a good shot at 15,500 feet. I never thought I'd made it past the second day. Will I try it again? Maybe not, Maybe I will...... But I can tick that off my bucket list. Now all I can think of is Incredible India!

M'je

5 comments:

Ginger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginger said...

Wow!! You are a trooper Lady! at least you tried. You gave it your best shot thats what matters.

Hope you are fully recovered now..
From now on, can we stick to lowlands and plains pls? India sounds safe enough....not the Himalayas though :)

Myne Whitman said...

15,000 is good, though of course the summit would've been great too. Hope you're feeling better now?

itsjustmedaringtodream said...

Wow girl! I am impressed that you attempted it, but it was like a suspense movie reading your diary! It sounds so super seriously dangerous! Altitude sickness, lack of oxygen is no joke. Take care of you and feel better. Thanks for coming back in one piece!

Mamuje said...

Thanks guys for all the support. It was a worthwhile experience.

Myne- I cried for days that I didn't make the summit but I am so over it now. I have heard horror stories about altitude sickness and I am proud I made it that far. Most people will never attempt it. I didn't make it cos I was sick, not because I wasn't physically capable.... Now I can laugh about it and share my experience.