Keep the Blood Pumping
When I was 9 years old I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease. This disease targets the capillaries of my fingers and toes so when I am cold or stressed they constrict completely, leaving me with painful white digits.
Besides a few drug options with harsh side affects, the only way to avoid this pain is to keep my hands and toes warm. My doctor advised against being in cold places for extended periods of time.
Those who know me know I don’t follow doctors orders very well, so I proceeded to become a competitive figure skater spending at least 4 days a week at the rink, moved to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado after college, and just a week ago crossed Thorong La pass in Nepal at 17,769ft.
It took two weeks to hike up to the pass. With each night that we slept higher, my worries grew. For those with poor circulation you know the old “wear warm gloves” isn’t much help.
I got into a groove of cherishing high altitude sun (with my friendly bottle of 80 SPF sunscreen) which warmed my body very quickly, having each guest house fill my Nalgene with boiling water before bed, and knowing that about 7pm was the latest I could be out of my zero degree sleeping bag. With this schedule 8pm became my bed time, and tea time became my first action of the morning.
I learned to listen to the signals my body was telling me, knowing once it said it was cold I needed to do something about it ASAP. Having Larry as my trusted partner to know when it was time to wrap me in a sleeping bag and when it was time to hold my hands until the blood came back, became a saving grace on pass day and the week leading up to it.
Partners in action, we were able to enjoy the mountain scenery and hike higher than we ever have before. 👣