Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day count suspended

It seems silly to continue counting out the days when I don't know when I'll get back out there on the trail. For sure it will be seven more days, at least until the round of antibiotics I am on is complete. Given this I'd say my current job is to try and figure out why my immune system hasn't been effective in warding off infections and what I can do about it. 

BTW, the medications are doing a perfect job of clearing up my face and I'd say it's about 80% cured. I hate to take them but antibiotics really will do the job when necessary. Fortunately. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 53 - Waiting

What can I say? I'm in the Cruz taking my meds and waiting for the infection to subside. Don't know why this is happening or what I can do to boost my immune system but I want to get this kicked. To say I'm frustrated would be an understatement....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 52 - Home Again

Well, I'm back in Santa Cruz at at the Urgent Care center on Soquel, awaiting help. I like this place! The people have been very nice so far and they take my insurance. Doc in the Box on Ocean wouldn't see me with my insurance. Good, I've never liked them anyway! I just thought they were the only name in the game on Memorial Day. 
Later - All righty then. The Doc thinks I have a bacterial infection of some unknown variety. She took a swab and will try to grow more bacteria but there's no guarantee it'll replicate. Apparently they are fussy sometimes. So that means I have to take a broad spectrum antibiotic to cover all the bases unless and until they find I'm taking the wrong drug. So there you have it! I have to take drugs and rest till this clears up. Sure hope it happens soon. 

Oh alright. In the interest of science I'll post a pic of my mug. Keep in mind all the red is raw skin, the top layer having blistered and sluffed off. I think I'll have a couple of medicinal beers this afternoon. This should help with the pain. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day 51 - The East Side, Heading West

Trail Angel Stacey has come through once again. I was sitting on the porch at KM eating lunch when Stacey pulled up in her Subaru and sauntered into the fray. Hikers and hikers stuff everywhere, a film crew from German public television filming the hiking Germans and me, sitting glumly at a table. To say I was downhearted would be an understatement. Anyway I piled all my stuff in the Outback, paid my tab and wished my hiking pals happy hiking and we headed out of the mountains driving east. 

Guess what? So far there doesn't seem to be any urgent care facilities on the east side of the Sierras. Not in Lone Pine or Bishop at any rate. Holy cow. What to do? Of course it is a Sunday, on Memorial weekend. I suppose I could go to an emergency room but that's big $$$. And probably a horrendous wait. So, I guess we're going to drive as far as possible tonight, heading back to The Cruz. If I have to feel this bad it may as well be at home where I'm with my peeps and I can get to my Doc on Tuesday. I hope this thing can get cleared up SOON!

PS - Probably won't do a spot tonight. 
PPS - At a Best Western in Oakdale. I should have purchased stock...

Day 50 - Kennedy Meadows

Wow. What a day. Nineteen miles to KM and I got here at 3:30 pm having started at 5:30 am. Don't know why I couldn't sleep last night but I kept worrying about this and that. The big that being bears. Why I would choose last night to worry is a puzzle, but there you have it. I guess this was part of my motivation since I wasn't sleeping anyway, I might as well hike. Plus at 4 am it looked like it could rain and it isn't pretty to pack up when the water is coming down from above. 
Open pit mine
Kern River
A fixer upper

Most of the hard hiking today was first thing, climbing for a couple of hours. But then it was downhill or rolling hills all the way here. A nice way to start the day since I'm not awake enough to notice the difficulty. Having said that I was plenty glad to arrive and I promptly ordered a cheese burger for lunch/dinner. Lots of hikers here and it was fun hanging out on the deck, even if I was mostly catatonic. 

There is a women who is an MD from Germany who is hiking the trail with her partner and when she saw me this afternoon she said she thinks I have herpes on my nose/lip, not a poodle dog bush reaction. This would make sense as the meds have only stopped the itching but the blisters remain. And they are painful. Why I would have contracted herpes like this is beyond my understanding but if so, it'll require a doc visit and different meds. Plus I am definitely to stay out of the sun for a while. I guess this is the problem with self diagnosing. More will be revealed in time. 
Didn't work...

I've been without Internet/phone service for four days and last I heard my friend Stacey was thinking of coming out this way with another friend Donna to visit another friend Sharma. Lots of friends there in that sentence. Anyhow I emailed Stacey this afternoon on the rickety internet service here and she is coming tomorrow, but I don't know what else she has planned. Hopefully what the original plan was as that sounds fun and I have to hide from the sun for a while. 
Guess what?

Ok. I'm in my tent and waiting till it's dark so I can go to sleep. I do live an exciting life. 

Later... Apparently the neighbors next door to KM think it is fun to ride their quads, shout yahoo (appropriate) and shoot guns right as hikers are trying to sleep. An interesting kind of hostility. 

Day 49 - Mile 683 - Fox Hill Spring

Another short day...14 miles by my count. I'm trying to take it easy and not push it since it's Memorial Day weekend and I don't want to join the hordes of people until I have to. I have food for two more days and only 19 miles to go to get to Kennedy Meadows. I could push to get there but the general store closes at 5 pm and I'm not sure about the camping around there. I have heard they no longer have showers for hikers so that's no enticement...

I think I'm feeling better now that the drugs have kicked in. The itching has decreased but both my nose and upper lip have blistered and I am concerned about keeping them from getting sunburned. I got too much sun today so I'm gonna have to do something much more drastic tomorrow. I'll have to fashion a nose guard with something... McGyverish. I'll take photos.

I now have a different tent. It has a much smaller footprint than the first one. I was having a heck of a time finding places to set up the tent before but with this one it's been much better. This will be my third night using it and the first two nights it rained... It could very well rain tonight. The only downside I see so far is because I have to close it up when it rains I get tons of condensation. I mean tons. I had to set the tent up mid day both days to dry it out. This means my gear gets damp as well which could be a bummer if I wasn't able to dry things out during the day. But that's nothing to worry about now. 

I'm finally able to get my water from springs, creeks and soon...rivers. I keep thinking of photographing the sources but I seem to only take images of the signs. I guess I just like signs. Here's a couple. 

I'm not sure why they say these things. Maybe the legal beagles got to them and they feel they have to cover their arses. Anyway I drank it, after treating it of course. I'm not dead yet. I don't think...

Day 48 - Have I Mentioned My Nose?

Of course not since it is boring to hear people go on and on about medical issues and especially boring to talk about ones own troubles. But I'm gonna anyway since I'm at my wits end as to how to manage this one. 

Ten days ago when we left Hiker Town I started feeling something going on inside my nostril. I just figured it was dry air and a cracking membrane but when I woke up the next morning the whole inside of that nostril was blistered and itched like crazy. What? An insect bite maybe? Anyway I just treated it topically for the next few days with antibiotic cream, the only thing in the first aide kit that seemed possibly useful. 

Not being content to stay put, the blisters spread around and pretty soon they were on my upper lip and nose. Attractive. I just kept thinking that things usually resolve on their own so I tried to ignore it. Finally when I went to Lake Isabella I got some other over the counter ointments and oral anti-histamine tabs hoping this would do the trick. Nope. Nothing doing. 

When preparing for this trip I decided to include in my first aide kit a six day course of prednazone just in case I got swarmed by yellow jackets or found myself wallowing in a patch of poison oak. Since neither of these events have occurred (so far) the only thing that seems to make sense is that I somehow got poodle dog bush hairs inside my nose. It's said the poodle dog bush is way worse than poison oak for those who are susceptible to it so I can only guess this is what happened and why it hasn't cleared up on its own like PO does, at least for me. 

So what to do? I've been hesitating to take the big gun drugs but I can't think of anything else to do. Plus my Doc told me to be careful because this stuff can compromise your immune system. I called Angela this morning from the trail and talked with her and the Readers Digest version of the conversation is that I told her I wouldn't start the meds while I was hiking this section. But later today when I stopped for lunch I could see the blisters on my nose were spreading again. When chronic discomfort and frustration slide into abject misery I say, enough! I'm gonna start the course of drugs and just try to take it easy for the next couple of days. Hard to do when backpacking...

I would include a picture but I'm too vain,  and the ick factor is high with this one.  I can show you a picture of tonight's dinner. Grits, bacon, cheese and veggies.
Oh and guess what? Some kind person put this on the trail...
Could it be I am a quarter of the way to Canada? Yahoo!