I´m doing some touristy stuff in Peru, anybody interested in the full report can watch my personal website for however long it will take me to put it together. I'm not planning to climb any notable summits so this trip probably is of little interest to the Summitpost audience. But I thought I´d share my Diamox experience for what that´s worth.
Skip this thread if explicit discussion of urination bothers you.
Oct 4, 9 PM: took first pill, about 12 hours later than instructions indicated. (Totally forgot about it in rush to catch the boat for Ballestras Islands. I recommend that trip if you're a nature lover.)
4 AM: Woke with painful sensation of full bladder. (I *never* wake up at this hour.) Actual volume and pressure of urine was moderate to less than normal. Urine was pale. (I'm usually a bright-yellow kind of guy, going to dark orange when exercising for extended periods. Friends tell me I should drink more water.)
Went back to sleep until alarm woke me two hours later. Vivid dream involving gunfight and martial arts. (I usually don´t remember my dreams at all.)
Drank about half a liter of water, urinated again.
9 AM: Took second pill in the Lima airport. Drank another half liter, urinated. Urine pale and cloudy, like pineapple juice or coconut milk.
On plane, had snack, and a tiny airplane cupful of Inca Kola (horrible tasting, but I figured caffeine might substitute for mate de coca). Urinated again in Cusco airport.
Dropped our stuff at the hostel. Noticed the altitude while walking up the stairs, felt fine otherwise. Went for a stroll. Drank 0.3 liters of mango juice along the way. After maybe half an hour in the sun, noticed a headache. Sat in the shade for a few minutes, decided to return to hostel for a nap. On return to hostel was frequently short of breath (took a "shortcut" involving stairs).
A couple years ago I hiked up South Sister (about 10,000 ft) from essentially sea level [without diamox]. I remember going slowly and very much regretting when I tried to run uphill, but I think I feel worse now. Even lying down to take a nap was not very comfortable. Could be the extra thousand feet, could be the suddenness of the change, could be that I'm not in good physical shape, could be the diamox isn't doing much for me.
I have two traveling companions. Neither took diamox. All of us live at sea level and have followed the same itinerary on this trip. One seems to be in about the same condition as me (possibly better - he has an appetite and is less thirsty), the other is definitely worse (but that is hard to separate from an unrelated illness that started a day or two ago). We bumped into a couple who'd flown to Cusco yesterday or the day before (having stayed at the same hostel in Lima as us. They seemed fine and said they had a bit of altitude sickness that only lasted a day.
I'm urinating two or three times an hour now. Always with the sensation of a very full bladder, but it seems my bladder capacity is reduced. I have very little appetite, but am frequently thirsty. Will take another pill tonight in hope of interesting dreams, but I think I'm done after that. I feel like I have the bladder of a ninety-year old, and I doubt it´s having any effect on my acclimatization. (Should have started earlier for a fair experiment, of course.)