Medical examinations & Everest dream

My Everest dream is still alive and when I recover financially from my recent attempt, then save up some money then I hope to go out and attempt Everest again but with a different oxygen strategy.

I mentioned in my previous blog post about attending Raigmore hospital in Inverness to see an Ophthalmologist who concluded that I had suffered from High Altitude Retinopathy (HAR) when I was at 26,000′ on Everest. I am now waiting to have a field of vision test performed as well to determine whether I have done any lasting damage to my eye sight.

I received a letter today from Raigmore hospital stating that they had been in contact with an Ophthalmologist based in Cardiff (Dr Dan Morris) who has considerable experience in high altitude related eye problems and they had relayed my symptoms and their ocular findings to him. He was very helpful to them and said that stories such as mine are not uncommon in high altitude mountaineers.

The letter said “He feels there a number of underlying possibilities to explain your symptoms. The first possibility is of hypoxia or reduced oxygen levels affecting the part of the brain that processes vision. The second is high altitude retinopathy related to hypoxia with haemorrhage or swelling involving the central part of the retina, although he feels this is probably less likely as your symptoms recovered so quickly. The third possibility is of corneal swelling or swelling of the window of the eye. Dr Morris has suggested a number of other investigations…” and went onto say “He also recommends an MRI scan to examine the visual pathways in the brain…” then concluded “The results of these investigations would guide advice about further high altitude ascents.”

To me, it sounds like they are being really helpful at trying to get to the bottom of what caused my vision issues on Everest and I am really appreciative of this. These investigations should hopefully also show that there is nothing non-altitude related that could have caused the loss of vision in the low oxygen environment. I am pleased that they are taking this matter seriously and helping inform my decision making process on the way to hopefully achieving my Everest Dream.

Another person who has an “Everest Dream” is Ellis Stewart from Hartlepool in Teesside. He is trying to raise funds to pay for an attempt on Everest next season (i.e. Spring 2014). He is doing a range of activities to try to raise money to pay for his trip including selling Everest Dream T-shirts and other clothing. Please consider purchasing one of his products or participate in his trade up activity or make a donation to support his dream.  He also wants to raise money for charity during his attempt to climb Everest. The charity that he is fund raising for is the NSPCC so please consider making a donation to support his chosen charity. Thanks.

I will keep you all updated on the medical assessments that hopefully give me the answer that I want to hear, or at least informs me of the additional risks to be encountered & mitigated, as part of achieving my Everest goal.


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