- A Kuriki Frostbite Update
In the summer of this year we posted an interview with mountaineer Kuriki Nobukazu. Last month on this blog we wrote an update on his ongoing attempt to summit Mt. Everest solo, via the challenging West Ridge route. He turned back well before the summit, beat back by brutal winds and cold that may end up robbing him of many of his fingers.
In a post on his Facebook page, Kuriki updates his fans on his current condition. Not good, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, given the weather he was trying to summit in. Our translation is below.
Namaste. At long last I am able to move about more freely.
In fact, I came out of the hospital several days ago. Although I’ve been discharged, my fingers are still in a bad state. The intravenous drip that I was receiving to help expand the blood vessels has come to an end and the doctors have judged that no more treatment can be given. They have decided to wait another 6 to 8 weeks before amputating.
When I was in the hospital, there were three kinds of pain and discomfort: the pain in my fingers, the pain caused by the drip, and the severe discomfort of a near-permanent 38-degree fever. All three of these went on 24 hours a day. When it got particularly tough, I wasn’t even able to utter a single word all day.
Now the intravenous therapy has ended and my fever has come down. All that remains is the pain in my fingers. They’re in truly bad shape, and I’m told that with the exception of the thumb on my right hand, all of them will have to be amputated at the second knuckle from the tip.
Since I can’t use my hands for anything in my day-to-day life, I rely entirely on the help of others.
The frostbite in my right foot has greatly improved, and after a lengthy period of 10-minute daily rehabilitation walks, I can finally go a lot further now. When I walk outside, the view is bright and fresh and everything feels beautiful.
However, when night comes I am beset by anxiety and disquiet. I could hardly sleep when I was in the hospital but now that I am home, I often dream. I wake with a start and look at both my hands and I lie there dazed as it takes a while for the reality to sink in again.
If I only have one knuckle left on all my fingers, I won’t be able to able to climb mountains as I did before. I was supposed to aim for even greater mountaineering goals, but it appears that larger mountains and deeper valleys have appeared right in front of me.
Is this the end for Kuriki Nobukazu?
No. No, it isn’t.
I think that these challenges are something that I should be thankful for. I want to take them on, gratefully, and grow as a result.
There is the slogan I used in my campaign: “No limit.” No boundaries. No giving up. I am here now at Narita Airport in order to search for new treatment.
I have decided to travel abroad to receive this treatment. Today I leave for India. I’m told that some of the most advanced frostbite treatment can be found there. I will go to get the best care that I can. I am deeply indebted to the people who have been in touch, who have offered counsel and support. I offer heartfelt thanks.
If my fingers are to be amputated anyway, then receiving more treatment cannot make the situation worse, and I want to do everything I can. Severe frostbite normally results in amputation but I want to fight for every last millimeter of my fingers and do everything I can to once more aim for the top of the world.
I have been reading the comments and posts on Facebook, Twitter, and the blog. Thank you so much for all of the encouraging words.
Next is India. Maybe it will be curry every day. I’ll keep reporting.
Our best wishes to Kuriki and our hopes for as full a recovery as is possible.
Translator and editor, Nippon.com. Came to Japan in 1985. After graduating from the American School in Japan, earned his degree in Japanese from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996 joined Japan Echo Inc., where he produced translations for Japan Echo and the Japan Review of International Affairs, as well as for governmental and private-sector clients. Translator of Dr. Noguchi’s Journey, a biography of the medical researcher Noguchi Hideyo. Director of the Nippon Communications Foundation.