The Kiwi hiker who lay trapped in the sun in a US desert for three days with a shattered pelvis is awaiting surgery to piece her broken bones back together.
Former Aucklander Claire Nelson, 35, today posted a photo of herself waving to the camera while awaiting pelvic reconstruction surgery in her hospital bed in California.
"Hello from Palm Springs hospital," Nelson wrote on Twitter.
"On IV drip, catheter, waiting for pelvic reconstruction surgery. But alive AF."
Nelson has been in hospital since a rescue helicopter crew found her lying badly injured in Joshua Tree National Park frantically signalling for help on Friday afternoon (local time).
She had been out hiking when she fell off a boulder and broke her pelvis on the Tuesday afternoon.
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Nelson has shared about her ordeal on social media, telling followers and friends how she was unable to sit up or even move at all to escape the punishing Colorado sun.
"I just lay there, using a stick to help cover me for the long hot parts of the day when the sun was burning, and at night tried to keep warm and not get panicked about rattlesnakes," she said.
"My water ran out Wednesday night and I survived by drinking my own urine."
Nelson had been house sitting for friends in Joshua Tree while they visited Morocco, but the friends became worried when they couldn't get in touch with her and couldn't see her posting on social media.
They contacted search and rescue on Friday morning, and six hours later Nelson was on her way to hospital.
She heard the rescue chopper fly overhead several times with someone on a megaphone calling her name, and was able to signal to them using a stick with her T-shirt and hat tied to it.
"The guys on the chopper said they never would have found me if I hadn't made a flag to wave. Nobody could hear me scream. I would have died by the weekend. I cannot believe I am alive.
"Now I'm in hospital; my pelvis is in pieces and it's the most agonising pain I've ever felt, but they're going to operate on Monday and piece me back together with pins. I'm so grateful to be alive."
Nelson told the Herald today her overwhelming emotion is gratitude "for simply being here, and for the love and kindness I've received - from friends and family as well as hospital staff, rescue crew, even people I've never met who have taken the time to get in touch and wish me well".
"Physically I'm in a lot of pain - I still can't so much as slide a bedpan underneath me -
but the outpouring of kindness is something way bigger."
Nelson did take out travel medical insurance when visiting the US, but said it didn't look as though her insurance would cover everything.
"[I] wasn't expecting an incident requiring two helicopters and so many pain medications," she said.
She is still in the middle of sorting out the insurance.
She will be moving back to Canada once the initial recovery period is over. Nelson won't be returning to New Zealand to recover, though said it is nice to know it is there, and that there are no rattlesnakes.
Nelson is a freelance writer who grew up between Auckland and Wellington.
She lived in the UK for 12 years and worked as a sub-editor on Jamie Oliver's magazine. She had been travelling through Canada when she took a break to house sit for her friends at their home in Joshua Tree, California.