….We had the most awesome day out yesterday, driving up to Idyllwild, 5345 ft above the desert floor, in the San Jacinto Mountain range….
But I found the altitude unbelievably hard! I suppose I should say I wasn’t surprised. I could feel my heart thumping and my lungs struggling from even below about 3000 feet and that was just from sitting in the car whilst Julian drove the hairy switch back mountain roads. Such was my usual enthusiasm for visiting the beuatiful, quaint town, that I leapt out of the car at 5345 feet when we parked and ‘bam’ every altitude effect suddenly affected me. I knew I’d be needing extra oxygen but ‘bam’ the air seemed so thin I didn’t even know how to get it down my tubes! It wasn’t that my asthma was kicking off, I simply couldn’t seem to get any breath to do anything. It felt like to haul it into me was a major effort, like there was a great weight sitting full on the centre of my chest, and I soon developed a stitch and pains in my lungs. I knew I was beginning to be affected by Air-Trapping too, another all to common and extremely uncomfortable symptom. In fact, the only symptom that didn’t whack me full on, luckily though, was that of a banging head. My head remained as clean and clear as the mountain air even if my brain was cloudy. But I did feel a little dizzy, a little light headed, a bit wobbly, very slow, and extremely short of breath. Could have been the overpowering scent of the pine trees which was a bit like being in a vacuum of Olbas Oil-which actually we both loved and commented on all day long……if only we could bottle that scent and take it home to stinky London with us!
I had a couple of extra nebs, which really didn’t help, I needed more oxygen than the 3L my POC runs on maximum at. It’s not that my lungs were tight, they simply couldn’t handle the low O2 air % even with my supplemental supply. This will be an interesting conversation with my hospital team when we return from vacation.
Apart from my spurny lungs, the day was awesome. We found the town too touristy for us so we headed straight for the Ranger Station who told us to go visit the Nature reserve as it would be manageable for me-this is after all, prime hiking country-so no way!-and there I could plant my behind on every bench, and J could shoot practically every pine tree.
And to prove I was still standing….
And finally, a shot of the view from the summit which I was dragged up, huffing and puffing, and really feeling like I was going to expire!
It really was the most fantastic day!
….I strongly advise anybody with lungs like mine to take it easy and maybe to consult medical advice before taking a day trip even, up to anywhere of altitude. It is a strange thing the way it affects some of us-J of course seemed totally unaffected-lucky guy!….