I’m in Colorado on a girl’s trip and this morning I was certain I was dying of AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness.
When we got in late last night and I was feeling fine but early this morning … well, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat and my head, my aching head was going to explode. That’s when I realized I had AMS. It was unbearable. And all the girls were still asleep while I wandered the cabin alone in search of Advil.
I finally found some and took two but nothing happened. Still a crushing headache. Thirty minutes later, I still languished in pain – and loneliness. And then I did what any American does when they think they’re dying … I googled my symptoms. And to much to my surprise, I was far worse off than I thought. Teetering on the edge of ‘severe AMS.’
I read the description in horror:
- Shortness of breath at rest – No air here. Sucking air here. Super shallow breathing.
- Inability to walk – I cannot lift my body off the bed. I am stuck.
- Decreasing mental status – Obviously.
- Fluid buildup in the lungs – Not sure what it feels like but dear God help me …
I was fairly certain at 5:38 a.m. this morning that I was going to meet my demise. The girls would finally wake and find me … lying in bed, blue from lack of oxygen. What a sad girl’s trip this has turned out to be …
But then I did something. Something I often do when I’m lonely, scared and near death. I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband. He knows all about AMS and mountains and me. Went something like this:
Me: Will …
Him: Good morning! How’s the cabin?
Me: Will … I have a crushing headache. I think I might have severe altitude sickness. I don’t know what to do.
Him: Susie, you always have altitude sickness the first day in Estes. Don’t you remember? Last time we were there you had a horrible headache the first day and then you were fine.
Me: I did?
Him: Yes, this is your pattern. Take some Advil and drink lots of water.
Me: I did … and nothing’s happening … I think this time I might be dying.
Him: No. You always think you’re dying the first day in Estes. You get a sick headache, you take 2 Advil, drink lots of water and then you’re fine.
Me: … are you sure?
Him: Yes. I’m sure.
Me: Oh — thank God!
Three part synopsis of the story:
- I am not going to die.
- The girl’s trip will still be a success.
- I am married to a very patient man.