It’s The Final Countdown….

….well nearly anyway. 17 days to go is way too scary. After the post I put up on Tuesday re various people’s sad experiences on the mountain I was contacted by someone from, who I knew had been doing Kili last month. I wanted to know how they got on. The answer was as follows, repeated verbatim:

” Worst week of my life lol….

I ended up with tummy bug, altitude sickness and got turned back at Stella Point even though I could see the peak, soon after I blacked out from lack of energy and carried off the mountain. Am now home and very ill with some tummy upset maybe a bug? who knows but i lost a stone in weight almost while I was gone.

I’d never do it again! Enjoyed the surroundings though! …”

So that was a sobering wake up call if ever there was one! It makes me realise all the more that this mountain has to be treated with respect. And that things like tummy bugs are quite common things to get, as well as the rest of the risks re AMS etc. I read of someone else recently who had been ill still a month after getting back. All of this doesn’t put me off still (nothing at all will, I don’t care what it might be), but it certainly tells me to be as cautious and diligent as I can.

So yesterday I went for my final set of vaccinations, which was for Yellow Fever. I suppose I should know what Yellow Fever is, or how you catch it, but currently I have to confess my ignorance. I just know that I had to get the jab, and that it cost me £50 for the privilege, so that was that really! OK – just googled it, so here we go – sounds nasty:

So having had my Yellow Fever jab, I went in for my malaria prescription. The Doctor (you need your GP for this bit) said there were three types of tablets available. One you needed to take for four weeks beforehand, and so that ruled that one out. The other apparently is fairly inexpensive, but she told me almost always causes sickness and diarrhoea if you aren’t used to it, so I declined that one. The remaining one is called Malarone, which she said is the best one anyway.

You take Malarone apparently as one tablet a day for two days before you go, and then all the way to 7 days after you return. She said that they were ‘costly’, and so I asked her ‘how costly’, and she said that because they were only on private prescription (here’s where the NHS doesn’t help you then) then they would be about £200. You could have knocked me down with a feather. £200 for nineteen tablets!! Jesus wept! I was also advised to buy hydrocortisone (for help against bites) and tea tree oil (similar), and so as I tend to suffer from mosquito bites normally (let alone the dangerous ones) then I’ll take all the precautions I can thanks, even if they do involve remorgaging my house for. What am I talking about, I don’t own a house:).

Anyway, when I got into the pharmacy there was a pleasant surprise when I found out that the GP had miscalculated. The tablets were only £59 after all. But by the time I had paid for that, my jab, the ointments and some paracetamol, blister pads and the like  left there about £135 poorer. Come and get me you mossies! (not really, please?).

So after my expensive day out and my usual long day at work, I went and hit the gym, or it hit me. There was a body pump class going on in Studio 1, so I sort of slunk around in case anyone recognised me and asked to come and join them. I am actually feeling the benefit of now going every day to the gym, I have been upping my weight levels bit by bit – I am now doing 36 reps of 90kg (200lbs) on the leg press for example, which hurts a bit, although I think it is supposed to. I’m going for 220lbs tonight. Still hate the treadmill, but it serves a purpose after all.

It is however almost too late to do much now to influence what happens when I go away, or is it? Time will maybe tell…….

It’s February!

Well when I started this blog, whenever it was, I could not have believed that February could have come around so quickly. It is now just nineteen days until I go.

It is strange, and maybe a reflection on state of mind, to note that over the last couple of days a couple of things have come to the fore. Firstly a couple of people have told me, almost unsolicited (although not much is entirely unsolicited these days as it is at the forefront of many conversations that I have, and so I must be a Kilimanjaro bore) about ‘bad’ experiences on Kili.

The first was last evening. A lady who I have just enlisted to clean my house for me (six bedroom house for one person is getting a bit too much for me) told me about a friend of hers. The friend is an experienced marathon runner, who did Kili last year, and found it the hardest thing she had ever done. That sort of made me think “shit, I can’t make it three quarters of the way through a Body Pump class, what the heck am I going to feel like?” The second was a lot more humbling. I learned of a person whose brother, at 43 years of age, made it to 15,000 feet up the mountain, and then basically succumbed to severe altitude sickness and died. If that isn’t a horrible and humbling and scary thought then I don’t know what is.

When I first thought about doing Kilimanjaro I read all of the stuff about it, good and bad. The good got me fired up beyond compare. The bad didn’t bother me at all. It is not that I felt invincible, I suppose it was a stage of my life that I was at that meant that it didn’t bother me. I feel different now. I have fear. I have respect. I am hoping that is a good thing.

Six months ago when I decided to do this, I was of the opinion that I would conquer it, regardless. I decided that if I was told that I had AMS, that I would deny it, that I would go on and defy the odds. I feel differently now. I have a reason to come down from the mountain. If I get AMS I will listen, and will come down. I know now that you don’t necessarily get a choice in these matters, but my head is sort of there. I may of course be a stubborn bastard when I get up there, but we will see.

It is currently Tuesday night, late, and I am thinking that I wish that time would slow down. I am captivated, mesmerised, more than ever. I have done my gym session tonight, and yesterday (nothing at the weekend, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow) and I’ll stop the ramble now.  I will do exercise now every day without fail. It felt good tonight. So 18 days to go tomorrow…………I have my Yellow Fever and malarials tomorrow – hope they don’t hurt:)………