Jun 13, 2009

Too Hot to Handle

As a Florida girl I'm almost ashamed to admit that I suffered an anxious bout of heat prostration today. I was working outside, hard physical work of polishing compounds and wax on the motor home, currently parked at a storage facility. I was wearing a hat, had loose comfy clothes on, but the high temps and exertion were adding up.

Fast.

It happened in an instant: loss of breath, nausea, light-headed anxiety and I knew I was in trouble. I quickly went inside the motor home and started shucking clothes while I turned the full power of the roof unit into the "air shower" mode. Still too shaky, out of breath. I calmed myself and realized I had no potable water with me at the storage facility where the RV is parked and I needed water double-quick. I re-dressed, shut down the lovely, cool AC, killed the generator and grabbed my keys, heading for the car.

Mercifully, I had left the windows open in the car, so it wasn't a raging oven, but still. My hands were shaking so much it was difficult to hit the keyhole, but I got it cranked. I still had to stop at the gate and make my mind focus on the lengthy code. Once outside, I knew I was only 5 minutes from home if the lights were in a good synch. But a Hardee's was right next door, so I drove up with the thought of a large drink. I was the only car in the lane. They hollered out twice from the speaker that they were just too busy at the moment, please wait.

So I gunned it for home instead. Got in the door, went straight to the freezer for the gelpack and slapped it on the nape, with my hands resting on the back of the gelpack to help cool the blood quickly. 20 ozs of room temp bottled water and 30 minutes of being still and my breathing finally slowed and the nausea subsided.

You know you're hot when after all that, you get into a cold shower, the cold water hits your head, and by the time it's running down your back it's warm from the sheer heat still cooking your brain-pan.

Out of the shower and loosely covered, I lay down for another 30 minutes, dozed lightly and awoke a bit chilled. I've been pretty useless the rest of the day.

Ya'll be careful out there.

15 comments:

samaBlog said...

CRIKEY!

Betsy said...

Can't imagine how scary that must have been. It has been wicked hot this week but looks like it's going to cool down a bit. I hope you're taking it easy and feeling better.

Sparrow said...

Sounds very scary! I'm glad you were ok, but it sounds like some quick (albeit heat-muddled!) thinking saved the day.

julie said...

Yikes, Joan! I'm glad you kept the presence of mind to cool yourself down!

PeggyU said...

Wow! That sounds unnerving! I have never experienced anything like that. Was it horribly humid as well?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, I'm not sure "presence of mind" was quite so compelling as the "presence of body signals" that were screaming out at me!

Gee, when I was 30 I could stay out in the heat all day. . .

WR said...

Be careful. Once one has a bout of heat prostration it tends to one more sensitive to it. Water with you always - it will be very yuppie looking but what the heck...better safe than sorry! RV cleaning in early A.m. only until the temp and humdity changes,eh.

MLG said...

Joan, we were out in the garden six hours yesterday. At about hour 4 I got a sudden ringing and pounding in my ears, the world started getting spinny, and everything got a little grey around the edges. Recognizing the signs, I called out to LG that it was time to go inside. Now when I work outside, I wear a little skullcap thingy with a built in sweat band to keep my eyes as clear as possible. It is also white to reflect away much of the sunshine. I hung that on the back of a kitchen chair while I got watered down. Half an hour later, when we had both cooled off and hydrated, LG says "Dude!, Look at that!" and points to the kitchen chair...where my skullcap is still dripping sweat onto the tile floor. I only managed to squeeze about one oz of water from it, then rinsed it off in the sink. (BTW, it only holds about 1 1/2 oz of water absorbed into the material)

Joanie, it wasn't just you. It was fan-bloody-tastically hot out there yesterday.

Jean said...

dayum girl! That's how I ended up with kidney stones many years ago.
Let myself get dehydrated and six weeks later I was in the ER wondering when I was gonna die.

I just bought two fans and a cooler for the flea market booth. Of course my timing is always perfect...starting this in time for summer!

Hope you are all better d:-)

pamibe said...

It happens *so* fast! Thankfully you know the symptoms and could act quickly...

Edward said...

WR has good advice for all. Have a supply of water, and drink often---even if not thirsty---when working in the heat. Also, avoid the hours between 10AM and 3PM if working in the sun. Always dress as Joan did, floppy broad-brimmed hat and loose clothing that covers all your body (arms too). Use SPF 45 or higher, for skin cancer is no laughing matter either.

QP said...

Good job of taking good care of yourself!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Yeah, it was my first experience with it. Not even all the years of track and field in a Florida high school ever took me to that edge. Ah, youth!

Sam said...

Too much heat is not cool. You be careful. Some buddies and I were once hiking the Grand Canyon in AUG. Way hot. We were young and in shape...and still had to have one of us hauled up on a donkey. Helicopters were busy rescuing fat out of shape people. We carried him for as long as we could, and if we hadn't happened on a Park Ranger with a donkey...I think he would've died.

Watch yourself.

LauraB said...

You know I'm waggling a finger at you for leaving the house without even a decent cup of water...

Be sure to toss some salt packets in the glovebox, too. Nasty to drink down but the saltwater helps you feel better pretty quickly.

Still, I know precisely what you mean about the cold shower turning warm...been there, done that...