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Published: July 15th 2013
This is a really short blog about how the altitude has affected us beside's getting acclimated to using less oxygen (still working on that a bit).
So let's start with the overall. We are two weeks into our stay in Quito and have walked up and down uncountable hills and steep grades and around Quito and other outlying places almost every day. On only one occasion did we take a taxi in and out of the city and that is because of Mike's so called "cold".
So the good news is that we have both lost a couple more pounds (may be due to altitude and it's effect on eating) from strenuous walking. Our muscles are in very good condition and should stay that way.
The not so good news is that damned cold that, until today, has besieged Mike. Started with a head cold and lots of nose blowing and then moved to a chest cold with lots of strenuous coughing. We noted that when we were at home resting, everything calmed down. When we hit he pavement for the day, any up hill walking really caused a breathing problem for him. Finally we took a look on Google and Mayo Clinic thinking that altitude may be the cause, not a "cold". Sure enough, HAPE is a lung condition affecting a number of people at high altitudes. There are mild cases like Mike's and serious ones that affect mountain climbers etc. The cure seems to be rest (been there and done that), a couple of blood vessel expansion medicines and, going down hill to a lower altitude. We too the rest one and today it seems to have worked, in fact overnight. Will take it easy for a few more days just in case but....
Back to more good news and an even stranger one. We have communicated about the phenomenon with an old friend (in years of friendship and on the earth) , Jim Taft, and he confirms what is happening, again to Mike. Mike has had arthritis in most of his joints for a very long time. It has resulted in lot's of knee surgeries and a back surgery. Being unable to take anti inflammatorys has forced him to simply persevere.
We thought that moving to hot and dry Arizona would help but, in fact, it has made it much worse. We put it down to the condition just getting worse with age. Well, apparently not. Mike has not had a solitary moment of pain or even mild discomfort since we arrived in Quito. Not even first thing in the morning stiffness in his hands and feet. At first we just thought it was due to the exercise keeping his body loose. Not so! To keep this simple, he has had no arthritic pain or stiffness for the last 2 weeks, Nada! And this is happening in a place where temperatures are cool and the climate humid.
Jim told us that his father had the same experience a very long time ago when he moved to AZ from NY because of the pain. It did not work and moving back to NY made life more livable than AZ was..
Miracle?? Happenstance?? Coincidence?? Short term?? Not sure but we will take what we can get when and where we can and see if it continues.
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