Posted by: davepidgeon | June 5, 2009

Turning Thirty


I've had no less than 10 prescriptions during the last 2 months.

I've had no less than 10 prescriptions during the last 2 months.

I saw myself emerging above timberline, hands over head to scramble across a granite outcrop, the humid August air replaced instantly by the chill breeze of mountainside tundra. 


In another instant, I rambled through a saguaro forest, Arizona sun beating down on my neck, brown peaks running a ragged horizon line.

And then the burning pain and nausea in my stomach jerked me out of revery and back to my apartment. The coughing came next, but no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how much my body felt it needed to, I just could not regurgitate my simple dinner of toast and applesauce – that was all I could handle, or seemed to – and so the intense nausea and burning would continue for hours, as it had for 10 days already.

After three doctors visits, tests for white blood cells, tests for giardia lambia, tests for h.pylori infection, test for c.diff infection, tests tests tests … still no one could tell me definitively what was wrong with me. I couldn’t eat without feeling sick and having severe diarrhea, couldn’t leave the apartment, couldn’t concentrate to read, couldn’t think or act like myself. I couldn’t train for all those upcoming summer backpacking trips, visions of which get you through long winter months. I had lost 12 pounds.

I spent the last two weeks like that until my gastroenterologist called to tell me another test had come back negative, but also that my white blood cell count was back to normal. “Basically, David, you probably had a viral gastroenteritis and now you’re on the mend,” he said to me over the phone. “Now, you just have to heal, and that’s going to take some time.”

And thus far, he seems to be right. I’m not eating normally, yet, but after spending the last six days on a clear liquid diet, out of which I grew a fondness for new flavors of Jello (apricot and blackberry, divine), I have tried some solid food like noodle soup and orange sherbet without problems. The comeback feels as if it’s beginning. Just have to see how the next couple of days goes.

To recap, since turning 30 years old I have:

  • Dealt with walking pneumonia during my surprise birthday party.
  • Experienced severe stomach pain, which doctors speculated was gall stones.
  • First week of April, wrestled with tooth pain that appeared to need a crown.
  • Same week, found out my newspaper was merging with another and that I would likely lose my job.
  • Married the love of my life a few days later.
  • Left for Costa Rica for our honeymoon, at the end of which I grew ill.
  • Came home to find out I was getting laid off from my newspaper.
  • Learned my stomach pain was a newly-acquired intolerance for lactose, not gall stones.
  • Underwent emergency surgery for an appendicitis.
  • Two weeks later, acquired an apparent viral infection of my digestive system.

And yet I maintain my high optimism and hopes to take that Osprey Aether 70 out on the trail soon. I was told turning 30 meant your physique would gradually deteriorate, but I had no idea it would be like this.

Thank you to everybody who sent messages of support. My wife and I appreciate it, and I promise as I get better the postings at Compass Points will increase. I’m three weeks from beginning full activities following the appendectomy, and when I pass that milestone you can bet Compass Points TV will begin again in earnest.

I hope you all have had a chance to get out on the trail, the river or the ocean in recent weeks. Summer’s here, and that’s damn exciting. See you out there soon.



  1. But other than that, Mr. Lincoln, how was the play?

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