|Best night of sleep yet. I thought it would be cold, but my
sleeping bag did its job well and I got nearly eight full hours of good
|I woke up this morning and made a decision on the question
been bothering me until now: should I take my Diamox?
|Diamox (acetazolamide) is a glaucoma drug with an "off-label"
prevention of HAMS (High-Altitude Mountain Sickness). HAMS can
result in nausea, loss of appetite (one reason the guides caution
hikers to eat even if not hungry), headaches from mild to severe, and
in very bad cases can lead to HACE (High-Altitude Cerebral Edema)
and/or HAPE (High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema), both of which are
life-threatening emergencies that will result in rescue guides zooming
you down the trail on a sled.
|I decided very early in the planning stages for this trek
that I wanted
to carry Diamox with me, in case I wanted it. I didn't know
whether I'd use it. My regular doc wouldn't write it for me (he's
fired, by the way, but not only because of that), so an old friend who
happens to be an eye doc (Hi, Mitch!) wrote me 30 pills worth, way more
than I will need on the mountain.
|Side effects of Diamox include: peeing like a racehorse
not the medical term), tingling in fingers and toes ... and, oddly, it
makes carbonated beverages taste like battery acid. Yeah, really
-- I tried a course of three pills back in Dar just to check that my
body was OK with it, and I thought I'd gotten a bad Coca-Cola until I
found out it was just a drug side effect. Weird, but true.
|I had felt no effects of altitude so far -- no headache, no
my appetite is fine. I've been eating like a horse, in
fact. Still, I reasoned that it wasn't likely to hurt me, and
could very well help, so I popped one upon rising and another with
lunch. I will pop one more before my early bedtime tonight, and
one when I get up at midnight for the trek. After that, I'll use
|Today's hike was short and easy, or at least as short and
easy as a day
trek on Kilimanjaro gets. We gained over 2,000' between Karanga
Camp and Barafu ("ice") Camp, our current site. It
took about 4½ hours of rocky but fairly easily walkable trail,
mostly (of course) up, but with some descents as well. For most
of the walk, we were inside of clouds.