I have found a wonderful cure for all but the most serious illnesses. Alas one group member has succumbed to food poisoning. She is a girl of high spirit and great determination. She did not want to get into the back up vehical and persisted with cycling until she eventualy came to the conclusion that I, as an observer, had come to an hour before; she was not going to cross the five thousand metre pass that was just ahead of us. A head wind was building, she struggled on. I had to let her realise for herself that she could not make it. I did not want her to later feel that she had given in for any reason other than sickness and absolute lack of physical strength as a result. I pulled in front of her to protect her from the wind and she stopped.
Fast forward to that same evening and we are in a rather grubby hospital in the town of Gyantse. Our back up vehical took us the 50km from camp to the town. The poor girl was suffering badly. The food poisoning had led to dehydration, fluids taken orally would simply not stay in place and now here we were in a less that pristine ward with less that pristine staff administering intravenous rehydration, drugs and energy. The IV rehydration worked wonders, colour came to her checks and she began to perk up.
The following day was an easy 50km ride from camp to Gyantse. Several group members came to me with minor maladies asking if they too could visit a doctor. “At 2 pm”, I told them “I will lead a group to hospital where any one desirous of a physician will have there wishes taken care of”.
I noticed a quietening amongst the group as we entered the finest medical facility the town had to offer. First we visited our patient. Standing in the ward watching our patient receive more intravenious treatment the ailments of the spectators miraculously began to improve. One poor soul whose morning movements had become all but non existant suddenly felt the movement of all movements begin and crying “hallelujah praise be to god for I am cured” dashed back to the hotel. A chest complaint eased and a swollen foot shrunk to it’s normal size. There is nothing like the sight of a grubby nurse and filthy hospital facilities to cure the ailing.