Day 16: 4/24/14, Zero Day in Big Bear

Many thanks to the great folks at the Big Bear Urgent Care, who were all so stunned about my PCT thru hike attempt but incredibly encouraging at the same time. Official diagnosis – gastroenteritis. From my set of symptoms and the onset, he’s thinking I got a nasty tummy bug from all the grime on the trail (my hands have been ridiculously dirty so I’m going to increase washing my hands > once per day), or something I ate in Idyllwild that wasn’t as bad as food poisoning. Exact cause unknown. He prescribed an antibiotic to kick Mr Buggy out – good riddance!

All of my leftover food that was opened I’m pitching, and will clean everything really well while I’m taking a few recovery zeroes. The fatigue most likely caused by little appetite and the low calories I’ve been able to choke down the last few days while still hiking 20 miles per day. I’ve also lost 12 lbs since starting 2 weeks ago – go figure.

My oxygen content was really good, so the doc doesn’t think it was altitude sickness or my asthma acting up (both of which I was most nervous about) and said it didn’t look like I was dehydrated. I’m relieved to finally know what’s wrong, whew! While I’m bummed I’m not out hiking today, as it’s such a gorgeous day, I have to admit I felt weak walking the half mile to Walgreens and was glad I didn’t have my pack on.

After thinking back on the last 2 days, what resonates most is 1) the wonderful trail community, I received so many encouraging messages from email, text, here on the blog, and on FB it brought tears to my eyes; and 2) if I wasn’t glad to carry it before, my Delorme InReach paid for itself yesterday. How grateful I am that I was able to communicate to the outside world when I needed help, despite my embarrassment that 2 choppers and 2 land vehicles came to check on me. As I find it really humorous in retrospect, here’s a brief snippet of the conversation Dad and I had via the InReach when the first chopper began to circle:

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