Heat Stroke

The temperatures are high right now in central Florida. But what was unbeknownst to me was the humidity levels. When you combine the high temps of 89F with 90% humidity, you get a heat index here of around 107F degrees. That is NOT a good combination to do things outdoors. Even though I thought I was drinking enough water, I was sweating but the sweat was quickly being evaporated into the atmosphere. My sweat wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, which is, keep me cool.

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outdoor C&W band

Last night, Nick and I went out to a concert. During the day we did our normal routine of doing some errands and getting in at least 45 minutes of swimming. We knew it was hot but in retrospect we were acting very foolishly. We needed to be taking better care of ourselves in the high humidity. Live and learn, I suppose. Anyway, during the concert, Nick looked at me and told me I did not look well at all. He thought I was going to pass out of my seat and stumble to the ground any minute. I told him I felt fine and I thought I did. Yes, it was hot and humid but I was drinking a diet ginger ale (first mistake) after drinking a light beer (second mistake). I thought my liquid intake was good enough.

 

We left the concert early because technically, yes, I didn’t feel right. Fast forward to 2AM when I woke up drenched in sweat. Despite our excellent air conditioning and our adequate cooling set temperature of 77F, I was hot, flushed, thirsty and covered in sweat. I got up to go to the kitchen to get myself a glass of ice water when all hell broke loose. I was dizzy, felt nauseous, had the urge to vomit and go to the bathroom all at the same time. My eyes were spinning, fluctuating back and forth. I couldn’t get my eyes to focus. The room was spinning around. I had to hold onto the walls in order to straighten out my step. I kept tripping and stumbling. I was in a panic. My head was killing me. Thoughts were going through my head so fast I thought my brain was going to explode.

My first impulse was to wake Nick up and have him drive me to either the ER or Urgent Care which was right down the road. But I held off on that. I poured myself a glass of ice water and started taking small sips. I did make it to the bathroom where I proceeded to urinate and move my bowels. I kept trying to calm myself down and NOT panic. My heart was beating loudly. I really didn’t know what was happening to me. I could NOT get my eyes to stop fluctuating. I couldn’t get the room to stop spinning. After drinking at least a whole glass of water, I vomited the whole kit and caboodle up. I made it back to my bed and held onto the mattress for dear life. Everything was spinning. I started repeating my yoga mantra, which I thought would be a surefire way to calm my mind down. It did. I knew what year it was and who was president, so I know I was still lucid. I kept repeating my mantra till I fell back asleep.

When I woke up at 9:30 AM, Nick was up and about. I told him what had happened and asked him to go get me some Gatorade at Wal Mart. I was still feeling strange and Nick told me I must have gotten heat exhaustion and was dehydrated. Within a few minutes he was back with the gatorade and immediately, upon my first sip, I felt the difference. I still was wobbly. I still couldn’t catch my balance but at least the eyeball spinning had lessened a bit. I still couldn’t get my eyes to focus. I was hungry. I needed to eat something but was wary of any heavy-type of food. I made myself a very light dish of creme of wheat. And with that, went back to bed and slept the rest of the morning away.

By late afternoon, and after many, many sips of Gatorade, I was feeling better. I googled dehydration on Nick’s iPad and figured out some things to do. My symptoms were subsiding and there was no cause for alarm or a visit to the ER. One of the medical reccommendations was to have broth, so I fixed myself a bowl of chicken broth. By this time (around 4PM) I was feeling so much better and almost like myself again. This was a good lesson learned, however. I had never been so scared in my life! What a harrowing experience. Nick and I were NOT as prepared for this as we should have been.

The reason why the humidity is so high right now in Florida is because another hurricane is on its way. Hurricane Nate is heading up the Gulf Of Mexico (which is the side of Flrorida we are on) and should be hitting New Orleans tonight. In the interim, humidity levels are sky high and neither Nick and I were prepared for them. Nick is fine but that’s because he didn’t have any beer nor does he drink diet sodas. Neither do I BUT my sister had joined us at the concert and she was packing diet ginger ales (which are delicious BUT not good for you!)

Nick and I arrived at the conclusion that we came to Florida too early in the season. We should have stayed in New York till after Columbus Day (October 9th) when hurricane season is well over, temps in NY drop substantially and ditto for Florida. Getting here mid-September was too early. We should have camped out more and traveled to more places. We should have stayed in the Smoky Mountains a bit longer also. All of this is hindsight and will help us in our planning for next year.  In the interim, our RV goes in for some warranty work next week and Nick and I are seriously thinking about heading out of Florida for a while and traveling up to the coast of Georgia. Temps there are in the 70’s and we might find that a bit more condusive to our liking. For now.

Live and learn. Even if it is the hard way.

I’m feeling much better now and realistically, that’s all that really matters.

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