Made it to Lukla earlier today and headed straight to the hospital where an X-ray confirmed I have fractured my L7 rib from coughing these last few weeks.
The doctor has prescribed painkillers, plenty of rest, food, liquids and lots of the thick, oxygenated air available down here. He said that technically there’s nothing to prevent me going back up the mountain from a mechanical perspective – it will all be down to if I can manage the pain if I attempt to climb with the broken rib.
Per Greg and the revised IMG schedule, I plan to rest here for the next 3 days along with several other folks with varying ailments, and hope to return to EBC Sunday and join with other climbers starting their third rotation to C3 next week.
It’s time to settle into my new home and enjoy the rest – even if forced.
This fight is not over yet!!
Update Thursday AM:
Last night, after a hearty dinner that I actually had an appetite for, I slept like a baby with very little coughing and my ribs not too bad for once. Far from cured but far better than I have felt in days.
I woke up this morning, showered, had my first solid toilet trip in days (TMI most likely, but you are getting the full-on expedition report!!), had breakfast and am generally dedicating today to sitting on my behind and resting. I cannot say for sure but I would certainly like to think that three more days of this should go a long way towards helping me back up the mountain.
All going to plan, we will return to EBC Sunday and should start the third rotation to C3 on Monday. As the doctor stated – it is all down to containing the pain of the rib – and only one way to find out if this is possible – is to try for C3. That rotation will very clearly inform me if there is still a chance for the summit.
I want to also take this opportunity to say a huge “thank you” to everyone for the massive outpouring of concern and support – all your notes and messages, both here and throughout social media – were just the encouragement I needed – and don’t ever underestimate the value to me! The time came – I needed support, and you answered! If I don’t make it up this mountain, it won’t be for lack of well wishers! So thank you again.
Keep your fingers crossed for continued progress. And I’ll let you know how I get on. My next update should be upon my return to EBC at end of the week.
All the best, Justin