Well, I know I’ve been absent for too long, but what can I say? (Long time since I’ve blogged = Long blog entry… lol)
Last I left you I was meeting with a doctor in Cusco, Peru on the night of 19 November, 2013.
I had prepared myself for what I thought was the worst case, but most likely answer that the Doc would recommend that I did not hike the Inca trail, due to my ankle. We met at the hotel at 9:30 at night. I was right… No Inca Trail…. 😦
Dr Luna was more concerned about the possibility of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot. He ordered blood work. The lab techs were at the hotel by 7:30 am, to draw blood.
I was to continue on the tour, but when the group departed on the Inca Trail, I would come back to Cusco for a few days and then meet them at Machu Pichu (Via Train) when they arrived. Although disappointed, this was still a good option.
It was a beautiful day. Entering the Sacred Valley was something that I cannot describe. So much beauty, taking a step back in time, to a great dynasty that ruled most of South America. A place with so much history, legend, mystery. Just breathtaking Beauty!
Our first stop was to a little village called Ccaccaccollo, that was being developed by Planterra, a subsidiary of G Adventures. (Read more about the project here.) While here I got to help some ladies thread a loom. There were lots of demo’s, including how the wool was processed and turned into product. I really enjoyed that it is the raw wool that they were dying, using natural products. (Got to see some more cochineal beetles get squished). After this wool is dyed, it is then spun into wool, another cool process and highlight.
From here we continued deeper into the sacred valley. First stop was the ruins at Písac. I had a great time hiking and exploring these ruins. Climbing to the top of the citadel provided an awesome view.
Shortly after this stop, I had received the news I was waiting for. The tests suggested the presence of a blood clot; I was to return to Cusco that night, for further tests.
We stopped to pick up some cuy from a road side vendor, (roasted guinea pigs) a delicacy that has been dinned on since pre inca times and is depicted in many Peruvian churches in paintings of the last supper. We stopped for lunch, and for some reason, I had no appetite (it doesn’t happen often).
Next stop was Ollantaytambo. Another Incan city, that is well preserved. I was not allowed to climb through the ruins, as the doc wanted me to limit my climbing until the tests were complete and we knew what we were looking at. So I sat and watched the group, had a few conversations with Cynthia (our tour guide) and wondered around without climbing. We then went on a walking tour of the ‘modern town’ and I said goodbye and got into a taxi.
We arrived back at the Clinica Mac Salud ‘hospital’ in Cusco around 9pm. An ultra sound confirmed that I had an extremely, large blood clot that was completely blocking blood flow in my leg. Apparently, it was all the way from the ankle to above the knee. I was immediately admitted into the intensive care ward.
For my Birthday, Cynthia and Wendy came to visit me and bring me cake. The nurses and doctors joined in singing Happy Brithday.
I can’t thank Dr. Luna enough. Without him, the situation could have turned out much worse. It was always reassuring to see his face, although he didn’t work at the hospital he stopped in often to see how I was doing, and translate my concerns back to the medical team at Clinica Mac Salud.
I was about ready to leave when a CT scan showed that a piece of the clot had moved into the lungs; Pulnonary Embolism. Due to this complication I shouldn’t be attempting the flight home yet. The team decided that I’d do better at lower altitudes so I was medically evacuated in an air ambulance to Lima.
I also need to thank RBC Insurance. I had great coverage thanks to my friend Jai who sold it to me. (ALWAYS listen to your travel agent, especially when they are a caring friend).
My insurance provided a bed side companion, so my sister Susan got to fly down and join me in the hospital in Lima, she spent a week sleeping on an uncomfortable pull out in my room at Clínica Inca.
Eventually I was cleared and the insurance company provided a medical escourt to accompany me on a first class flight back to Canada on December 3rd.
As you can guess I never did end up making it to Machu Pichu and have since had a very hard time looking at pictures of the ruins. I guess one day I’ll have to return and finish the rest of the trip I was planning to take, however, I may have to do it in a few trips, comparred to just one long trip.
I’ve recently found out that all together my insurance claim for this trip was in excess of $50 000. I don’t know what I would have done without my RBC travel insurance.
Upon landing in Winnipeg, I went to Health Science Centre and was cleared through the emergency room.
All this due to ignoring an ankle injury. Hopefully a lesson was learned.
I was glad to be home. I spent much of the winter depending on my family. Thanks to many doctors visits, and a lot of physiotherapy I am almost back to 100%, and am feeling far healthier (and am far lighter) than I’ve been in a long time.
I really enjoyed my family time December through March and beyond. Together we had a lot of fun, just hanging out, and it became my ‘staycation’.
In March I started back to ‘work’ but I’ll use that term loosely.
I sent a group of students to Costa Rica, on a trip that I was organizing, but couldn’t travel with due to my injuries. They seemed to have a great time, and it was one of many travel plans that I had to change. I’m still hoping to enroll students in a 2015, March Break trip to Belize.
Since then I did help out with the school, doing a few things. I helped set-up sound for the drama club’s production of Beauty and the Beast. The students were incredible. I really enjoyed seeing how much the students I had in Music Man had grown since their grade 9 year. I wish them and the rest of the cast and crew good wishes in their future. I also got to help out as the lead instructor for Conservation Camp. Although the program has changed a lot since I’ve done it some 20+ years ago, it is still important to me, and I was glad to be able to share my passion for resource management with this years participants. DHS’s Con Camp has been running now for 58 years, I hope it continues for 58 more. The last major project I did with the school was being the MC for graduation. This has always been an honour for me, and I was grateful to be able to spend a day with our graduates, wishing them well as they walk from our school halls into the halls of their future.
I was fortunate enough to spend a second year in Toronto scoring literacy tests for EQAO. I always enjoy being able to read what students from across the province write. In the evenings I was able to visit with friends and family.
I also got in some work with the military. Specifically the Regional Cadet Instructor School (Central) as well as 906 RCACS in Vermilion Bay/Sioux Lookout. I spent a weekend in Borden in March to take my Commanding Officer’s course. I was back in CFB Borden in May to do some directing staff professional development as well as to instruct on the Senior Instructor Course. I was then off to 8 Wing Trenton to instruct on the Air Environmental Course. Besides some intense map and compass we also had a great aviation day that was very different than what I had done with RCIS Northwest. The highlights of the aviation day included a tour of the CC-177 Globemaster III, that was doing some pre-flight work ramping up to depart to Cold Lake to pick up some troops. Meeting the Bird Man(Lady) who works for Falcon Environmental Services. She had a very cool job, and if I was back in my university/post university days I might have been considering a different career path… We also toured the NAV CAN tower on the airport, as well as a quick tour of the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
With 906, I spent some time with the cadets, helping with training, and ended the year taking command of the squadron on 28 May 2014 during our Annual Ceremonial Review in a Change of Command ceremony. To see photos of 906, and some of our training visit us on Facebook.
Through all of this, I continued to enjoy family time. I extended my ‘staycation’ into two week chunks between work and some travel to southern Ontario as mentioned above. It was great to spend so much time with family and friends, and I ended up having some great adventures, and have lots of new memories.
Now, I find myself away from family once more; back in Red Deer Alberta at Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre. It is hard to believe that 1 year ago I was here, back at this desk, back in this same job starting my ‘year off.’ I wouldn’t change anything about it. It was exciting, it was challenging, it gave me new experiences, and ultimately I am WALKING away a better person; a better teacher as a result of all my experiences.
Although I am technically back to work; full time for the summer and then right back to school, I am going to try and have some adventures… I’ll also try to post them here…. Lol
If you have read this to the end, thanks, and congratulations.