Thursday, April 1, 2010

Over the river and through the jungle


Of all of the places that I have visited in Mexico, I believe that Puerto Vallarta is now my favorite. As much as I like the climate in the Gulf of Mexico, this Pacific coast town is quite pleasant. It is a modern city that has not forgotten its past. On the journey up the canyon of the Rio Cual we passed many small humble huts that blended, but did not impose, on the surrounding jungle environment. At one bend in the river a dozen tents of camping families dotted the beach with laughing children nearby played in the shallow water. Interestingly, laughter is the same regardless of language, while crying is not.
Soon the truck carrying us intrepid adventurers arrived at a location high above the river below and, after a brief safety instruction; we donned our harnesses and became one with gravity. To use the zip-line, the guide attaches your pulley to the cable and then connects one carabineer to the pulley and a second safety around the cable. Then you glide over the jungle. We must have been at least 150 meters above the river below. On the other side a guide would ‘catch’ you, unhook your lines and then we would hike to the next zip-line. This was hard for me as I would get out of breath hiking up the steep mountainsides, Caitlin would always stay back with me as I slowly trudged forward. But soon my energy would return and I would be flying back over the valley. If you looked down you would see the river below. To the left was the Pacific Ocean miles down the canyon. On the longest and fastest zip-line, Barbie went upside down and backwards. Finally, after riding 13 zip-lines, we arrived at the river basin and a team of mules carried us back to the base camp where we relaxed under a thatched roof patio sipping Squirt and eating Nachos and Guacamole. Caitlin, always concerned over my well being exclaimed, “Dad. You’re not supposed to drink grapefruit juice!” to which I responded “We just glided over the jungle 13 times, I’ll take the added risk.”
Speaking of risk; I am slowly healing from the injuries I sustained on Monday. I only feel pain when I walk, sit up, move, touch anything or lay down. So far I don’t have a fever or cellulitis. The daily application of Neosporin and antibiotics seem to be working. Given that I am immune-suppressed, I get concerned with just one cut, let alone one hundred. I can walk, but slowly and with a limp as I have two deep lacerations on the sole of my right foot. (Not deep enough for stitches.) We still have two more days on the boat and, other than dancing or getting a foot massage, I can participate in most other activities, namely eating. I will recover from this, but the experience has shaken me up emotionally. I almost died, not secondary to some disease out of my control, but rather due to my own overconfidence, ignorance and poor judgment. I should know better. Yes, I have learned a lesson. We managed the zip-lines safely because we were prepared and followed our guides. I know now that I must always have a safety line, a buffer as it were, whenever I venture again into the unknown.


Kristin said...

nice video! I wanted to be in that video with you as I watched it. What I really want to know is, "What were you really going to say, Barbie?" That was "FREAKIN AWESOME" I'm sure that was it! HA! Miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. A,
I am a newly diagnosed AL AMY patient. I have found your blog to be of the utmost help to me. Your faith, determination, and honesty; enhanced by your medical expertise; are getting me through a tough time and educating me for my own "journey of hope."

I'm very grateful for my own selfish reasons that you survived your recent disaster in Mexico. I have become quite dependent on reading your survival success and candid thoughts.

Please take care of yourself, as I'm sure there are many others like me "out here" who need your help. You always say you want to serve others, and I just want you to know that you do so more than you will ever know.

With sincere thanks...