Biggest Little Mt

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Grey J

Active member
VFTT Supporter
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
Messages
680
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Location
Chattanooga TN
I made it back to NH for my annual visit last week and climbed a little mountain, but I have to back up to tell the whole story. I thought I was taking it easy last year when I did just 3 hikes and climbed 4 peaks, the highest of which was Smarts Mt, a very enjoyable round trip on Lambert Ridge. I could've done more but the weather would not cooperate. Shortly after returning home, in early Sept I fell playing tennis when my legs just gave out. When it happened a second time, I went to the ER and was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. In diagnosing the GBS with a lumbar puncture, they inadvertently infected me with bacteria. As I went downhill with the GBS, my legs ceased to work, and I went from walking funky to a walker to a wheelchair in just weeks. At the same time the infection went undiagnosed, and I was suffering horrible back pain and fever. I was hospitalized and found to be septic with a bacterial blood infection and an epidural abscess requiring back surgery. To beat back the infection, I had to have IV antibiotics 3x daily from a pump that I had to carry around and even sleep with.

I spent 3 weeks at a rehab center learning to walk again as the infection cleared and the GBS waned. I was making great progress until late November when the GBS symptoms returned with a vengeance, and I slid all the way back down to the wheelchair. The diagnosis was changed from GBS/AIDP (Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy) to CIDP, the chronic form. I began receiving IVIg (immune globulin) infusions for 2 days every 3 weeks and slowly began the climb again. I went to outpatient PT for months and gradually regained my strength enough that I could again play tennis although not at my former level. All summer, I was aiming for a return to NH.

Last week, timing the visit in between my ongoing IVIg sessions, I flew to Boston and thanks to two friends who did all the driving for me so I did not have to rent a car and expend extra energy driving, I fulfilled another goal and returned to the mountains of NH. I chose one of the easiest hikes on the 52 wav list, and for the first time I used hiking poles, which were extremely helpful with balance on the downhill. Still experiencing neuropathy in my toes, my boots felt really weird on my feet and yet also reassuring. I was "back in the saddle!" So I climbed 2663 foot high Blueberry Mt and got that neat backside view of Moosilauke. It was the biggest little mountain I ever climbed but I made it.

I'm not writing this because I want sympathy or pity or praise or recognition. I am surrounded by cancer patients in the infusion center who are a lot sicker than I am and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have made it this far back. Farewell for now but I plan to be back. I'm not done yet. Happy trails to all of you and remember the words of Jimmy V. "Don't give up, don't ever give up."

Grey J

PS And it was really hard holding that horizontal pose! (Why are my photos always sideways?)

Blueberry Mt NH.jpg
 
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No pity and just a little praise here. We all have issues, whether physical or mental, accidental or self-inflicted. What distinguishes us is how we cope, how we persevere, how we appreciate the other guy's misfortune. It's called character.
 
Great job, Grey J. As our VFTT family gets older, I suspect we will hear similar stories from our ranks. Your perseverance and your enthusiasm at climbing the little big mountain is inspiring!
 
I am very glad you survived that and are on the mend. You have always struck me as a extremely nice man and I wish you much better health going forward. Blueberry Mt. is a fine peak and it's a beautiful hike. Keep hiking Grey J, your not covered in dirt just yet. ;)
 
The White Mts of NH have always been a special place for me, an almost spiritual retreat where I can relax and breathe and get in tune with the natural world. During my long weekend, I did two other easier hikes, canoed and swam in cool clear waters and observed a perching bald eagle, a hunting osprey, a family of loons, and had a close-up encounter with an inquisitive red squirrel. It was a wonderful experience. With no regard for prominence, I've climbed over 140 named peaks >2000 feet in NH alone during some 45 years of hiking there. I always said I was saving the bottom half of the 52-wav list for "when I get old." At 70, and in my present condition, I suspect that time is now, although I'm no longer trying to finish any lists. In fact, the ideal situation is to always have one more hike and one more mountain to climb. One more tomorrow.

Thanks all. Peace.
 
Awesome job, Grey J! I agree with Sierra, Blueberry Mountain is a wonderful hike.
 
Awesome job, Grey J! I agree with Sierra, Blueberry Mountain is a wonderful hike.

How about letting us know when your next foray to NH will be? Some of us might be able to meet and hike with you.

I'd be up for it, providing you don't choose anything to strenuous and leave adequate time for apres' hike activities!!

We all get knocked down. We're at our best when we get back up. You are at your best my friend.
 
Good Luck in your continued recovery and keep pushing yourself. My wife had demyelination of her myelin sheath on parts of her brain back in 2003. They never figured out if it was part of an infectious disease or some other cause. (Best description her Neurologist came up with was a single episode of MS.) After being on a ventilator for a couple of weeks, she awoke, blind in one eye at that time and given a bad diagnosis by one doctor who was a real a$$ regarding her long term prognosis. She spent some time in a rehab facility learning to walk again, cook and clean and other basic activities. (She had been a three-sport athlete in high school and got a D-3 VB Scholarship.)

After a few months and as her vision in her right eye slowly returned, (started okay in front and gradually came back little by little peripherally), I took her driving and she found highway speeds to be challenging. I notice her jogging gait is slightly off and she doesn't have great balance, however, no one would know she was ever near death almost 20 years ago. (She's back speeding as is typical in CT. :D)

Oddly, last year, on vacation, she went to a batting cage. She was unable to hit a softball. She wasn't even close. She was disappointed of course and the only thing I could think of was that this was a skill that no one in rehab considered. It wasn't a skill you used in walking, cooking, climbing a staircase, shopping, teaching, etc. (while short, she did get up Sentential Dome in Yosemite in 2016) however, hand eye coordination with a ball coming from the side and through your field of vision wasn't anything she, myself or the therapist thought about.

My point would be to consider any type of activity you did before for your rehab. Your body will compensate for many injuries; however, you may need to retrain it for every activity you did before.
 
How about letting us know when your next foray to NH will be? Some of us might be able to meet and hike with you.

I'd be up for it, providing you don't choose anything to strenuous and leave adequate time for apres' hike activities!!

We all get knocked down. We're at our best when we get back up. You are at your best my friend.

Thanks ChrisB. I love your avatar and location. I am trying to avoid the spot on that sign.
 
Good Luck in your continued recovery and keep pushing yourself. My wife had demyelination of her myelin sheath on parts of her brain back in 2003. They never figured out if it was part of an infectious disease or some other cause. (Best description her Neurologist came up with was a single episode of MS.) After being on a ventilator for a couple of weeks, she awoke, blind in one eye at that time and given a bad diagnosis by one doctor who was a real a$$ regarding her long term prognosis. She spent some time in a rehab facility learning to walk again, cook and clean and other basic activities. (She had been a three-sport athlete in high school and got a D-3 VB Scholarship.)

After a few months and as her vision in her right eye slowly returned, (started okay in front and gradually came back little by little peripherally), I took her driving and she found highway speeds to be challenging. I notice her jogging gait is slightly off and she doesn't have great balance, however, no one would know she was ever near death almost 20 years ago. (She's back speeding as is typical in CT. :D)

Oddly, last year, on vacation, she went to a batting cage. She was unable to hit a softball. She wasn't even close. She was disappointed of course and the only thing I could think of was that this was a skill that no one in rehab considered. It wasn't a skill you used in walking, cooking, climbing a staircase, shopping, teaching, etc. (while short, she did get up Sentential Dome in Yosemite in 2016) however, hand eye coordination with a ball coming from the side and through your field of vision wasn't anything she, myself or the therapist thought about.

My point would be to consider any type of activity you did before for your rehab. Your body will compensate for many injuries; however, you may need to retrain it for every activity you did before.

Thanks Mike P. CIDP is considered an auto-immune disorder. Your immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissue. Your wife's condition is like nothing I've ever heard of before. Truly idiosyncratic. I'm pleased to hear that she's doing well and adapted. With regard to PT, that's a good point. I got my therapist to incorporate tennis into my rehab by hitting balls off the side of the building. It helped on many levels, from agility and side to side motion to balance, and also with left/right and upper/lower body integration.
 
It is amazing that hiking is such major motivation for so may who suffer situations like yours. It is a good thing to have a goal to strive towards and push for, and hiking if pursued in measured goals is a target to strive for. Hope that there are many for hikes in your future!
 
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