Thursday, July 9, 2009
Simon vs. HAFE
so i made it to peru! im sitting in downtown huaraz today after arriving yesterday via bus from lima. with the moutnains of the Cordillera Blanca mountains looming above us, it is a spectacualr location. the town is at 3100m so the effects of altitude have presented themselves. with a mild headache this morning i know i am acclimatising. unfortunately i have been struck down with a bout of HAFE, ie. High Altitude Flatulence Edema. while u wont find this condition in any of the medical textbooks, who are u gonna beleive? some nandy-pandy desk jockey or me, in the thick of it, with my finger on the pulse. the symptoms of HAFE arent too hard to imagine, severe flatulence. i pity poor Rob. often the hardest hit person is the partner of the victim. such a nice guy, its a shame that his soul will be forever scarred by the experience of sharing close quarters with the unfortunate HAFE victim. let me explain how HAFE forms.
in the rareified atmospheres of altitude there is less oxygen available for the lungs to consume. due to this the body needs to suck more air to get the required fuel for the body. for most people this just results in High-Altitude Lassitude, which dissapears quickly. for some unlucky souls however, they are unable to expel the same level as they inhale orally. this leads to a build-up of air that must escape somehow. this results in the air heading south and out the other end, so to speak.
thankfully this condition is not terminal, and rarely fatal. often the worst damge is on the surounding environment, with high cases of ´Burning Nostrils´occuring. usually HAFE passes once acclimatised, taking roughly 153 hours to pass. so the good news is this wont plague me forever, although the memories will torment Rob for the term of his natural life.
so no need to worry, i am coping with ths unexpected hurdle as best i can. for now its off to buy supplies and get ready for our first few missions. some peaks easy enough for us to get high without much trouble. afterall, getting high is what climbings all about.
so adios for now amigo´s!!
(NOTE: there is absolutely no truth to this post, apart from the fact my bowels are having a fun time with the local cuisine...)