Sunday, April 10, 2016

Road to Denali, part 13: Detour


Well, things were rough last weekend, as I mentioned, but it turned out that I didn't lose my glacier glasses. Derek found them in our tent after we erected it at home. Also, it turned out that I didn't have sunscreen in my eye...I had a retinal detachment. This is a bummer but it is what it is and I'm moved forward with what I thought was the best plan of action. The chances are very good (85-90%) that my eye can be fixed. My vision in that eye, the right eye, will be changed by a couple of diopters and I'll then either need to wear a contact or have Lasik surgery (again).

I discovered this on a Tuesday and had the surgery Wednesday morning at 6:45 a.m. at Porter Hospital in Denver. They don't waste any time when they discover this, as it can only get worse. I was under a general anesthesia, but it only for a little over an hour. The procedure is called a scleral buckle. The put a band completely around my eye which changes the shape of it (hence the new vision) and allows the retina (which lines the very back of the eyeball and is responsible for converting light into nerve impulses that your brain can process) to reattach to the back of the eye. They also use some freezing material and a gas bubble to help it adhere and to push the retina back against it. My mom had this same procedure done when she was 52, so I have her genes to blame, as there was nothing I did that caused it. Here's a video of what the surgery looks like.

I haven't been able to much of anything since, though I'll go back to work tomorrow. The first 24 hours I had to be nearly immobile, upright, and tilted to my left by 15 degrees so that the bubble presses up against the retinal tear. I can't even change elevation by more than 2000 feet for a couple of weeks or more  - until the gas bubble disappears. I'll be able to start doing some exercise after two weeks and should have no restrictions after four weeks. Which means this should not affect Denali at all, though I do plan to pull out the "I missed four weeks of training" excuse whenever I need one of you three strongmen to carry extra weight for me (or give me that extra piece of chocolate - I'll be sure to bring a note from my doctor for this).

On Saturday Derek got out with Sheri, Kraig, and Gabi and hiked up Bear and South Boulder Peaks for the first time in his life. That was way overdue. He carried his expedition pack and loaded it up with 35 pounds of rocks and water, which he carried to the summit of Bear. He then dropped the rocks and Sheri and he continued over to tag South Boulder, while Kraig and Gabi descended. So, Derek got in some good training. Sunday he went rock climbing in Clear Creek Canyon with his cousin Arthur.


I didn't just do nothing, though. If I couldn't work out physically, I'd do some mental studying. I am now intimately familiar with the contours on each green at the Augusta National Golf Course. I'm sure how that will help me get up Denali, but it can't hurt.

1 comment:

Gayla Wright said...

Great photo of Gabi and Derek. Think you forgot the "not" in your last sentence. You will come out of this smelling like a rise or maybe some Danali flower. Now Derek has a chance to catch up to you in the strength department. Behave and do as the doctor says.