Philmont - Introduction - Part 2
Last week, I gave you a high-level overview of the Philmont Scout Ranch, and in future posts, I will go into our trek and our experiences there, but today’s post is more about my medical issues leading up to the trip, during and after the trip as well.
While preparing for the trip, I decided that I would clue the other two adults that I was going to be working with, about my medical issues. I wrote them both a letter and gave it to them and then we sat down and talked about it. At that time I had been dealing with all this for about seven years and the doctors were leaning heavily towards it being Multiple Sclerosis. I had all the textbook symptoms back then.
Parts of my letter to them included:
Vision problems – For me, I tend to have blurred vision in my left eye when I start to overdo it. I will lose vision in that eye for short periods of time (5-10 minutes). Usually resting restores things back to normal for me. This is a good indicator that I’m pushing and I will have further issues if I don’t take a break.
Abnormal sensations (Partial numbness, tingling, buzzing, and vibration sensations) – For me, my left side is usually numb. I also often have shooting pains like stabbing or burning in random locations. They come and go without warning. Ignoring them usually works.
Impaired thinking (Short-term and long-term memory problems, forgetfulness, slow word recall) – For me, it is usually slow thinking with word recall, forgetfulness, and short-term memory loss.
Spasticity (Jerking and twitching muscles, tics, often noticeable) – This is usually constant in one location or the other in my body. More annoying than anything else.
Fatigue – This is my downfall for Philmont. However, we have been working on ways for me to “bounce” back quicker. Currently, Vitamin B seems to speed recovery.
Heat sensitivity (Increase in severity of symptoms with heat) – This has been a problem in the past, but we again are working on overcoming or working around it.
Dizziness – This is a more recent event for me, but it has not been a player at this point.
Difficulty walking – Knock on wood; this has not been a player for the past year or so.
Mood swings – This is a kicker, so if I go to my tent to be alone, might be a good idea to leave me be for a while.
Anxiety – Off and on
Paralysis – Total or near-total loss of muscle strength – This has not happened in a year or so, but when it does, it is a total system shutdown for 5-10 minutes, then everything is usually back to normal.
Depression – New symptoms for me in the past few months. Not thoughts of killing myself or others, just usually feel lonely and have hypersensitive feelings.
Respiratory problems – Not really breathing problems, more of the sensation of breathing problems. When relaxed I may feel like there is a weight on my chest and I can’t get enough air. Talking to me normally works and gets me through it.
The good thing is that my son knows how to handle most of the above, so it should not be an issue with the rest of the crew unless I cannot complete a task. Hiking should not be a problem, I just might not be happy Pete, but I will complete the trek. Judgment is not impaired, just getting the words out maybe.
Usually, on a daily basis, it is painful and muscle issues.
It took a ton of guts for me to not only admit I was not perfect but to document it and then talk about it with my peers. But it was well-received and the entire trip was a huge success.
In the next post about Philmont, I will go into our day-by-day adventures. Stay tuned.
More next week