Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Smoke Signals Work...

Solid couple of days... to say the least.
Yesterday received a call that there was a mid 50s Nepali woman with a possible broken back in some nondescript village 10 miles down valley from Lukla. We heard she had fallen out of a tree a week ago, busted her back and had been non ambulatory since the incident.
Finding her was gonna be the hard part.
We got some vague coordinates and set off from Lukla after directing the family members to start a fire and bring us in via smoke signal.
No shit. Smoke signals. 
After a few circles and passes we spotted the smoke plume and set the bird down on a terraced potato field amongst a speckling of small homes.
A hundred meters up the lumpy hillside we found the grandmother of the community laying in pain, nested up in her spartan home.
My exam showed she most likely had a lower vertebral fracture but fortunately appeared to be neurologically intact... no signs of paralysis. 
The community men bonded well as we directed them how to transfer her onto the backboard, down the hill and in to the bird.
A quick stopover in Lukla, a call down to receiving hospital in KTM and she was off in the bird with her husband down to the ortho/neuro hospital in KTM. 
This is another one of the many rescues we have already been a part of that fills my heart with pride. This gal had absolutely no other option. No car. No yak. No horse. No foot. She was stuck. Helo was her only option. 
As we were loading her into the bird I watched as members of her family kissed her, clutched her hand and cried over her. A dozen family members came up to me in succession, draping beautiful golden khata scarves around my neck as a token of thanks. I was laden with them as the helo door closed us in.
It occurred to me in that moment that we were providing that community more time with their matriarch. She will be back. And the community will be whole again. 
Had another amazing rescue today of super critical Sherpa from Camp 1... will save that story for tomorrow.