Okay, I learned something about myself yesterday. I am not what I used to be. 20 years ago I could spend the day (at the peak of summer in FL) at Coquina Beach, drinking beer, and lord knows what else, while eating barely anything, frying my skin to a crisp and not miss a beat. Ahh, the good old days. Now, not so much.
I see lots of posts and tweets about my authors biking, walking, hiking (eek, who does that?) and I want you all to be very careful. We are having records highs on the heat index and we all think we know what we are doing, but sometimes, things aren’t what they seem.
I’m not looking for sympathy here (as my mother so eloquently informs me frequently–you can find that in the dictionary between shit and syphilis) but I do want to share a few tips with you folks out there so you can avoid what I went through. Here’s how it happened. FYI, people with Diabetes who take diaretics in massive quantities, may be more prone to dehydration. Who would have thought? DOH!
I had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up my heart meds (so I don’t die–rumor is I would be missed). I had to park out in the nether regions of the lot because they have been upgrading our Wally World to a Supercenter (for like a year now) and they have managed to make the store bigger and the parking lot smaller. I know, right? So I walk about 100 miles, give or take, to get to the front door. By the time I get there I am in a full sweat (and I mean linebacker on an open field in the fourth quarter in AZ kinda sweat). I am panting like a pooch and seriously considering laying down on the cool tiles of the store. They are new after all.
So I go around, do my little errands. I stand in line to get my meds (of course I am behind a VERY elderly man who is on one of those motorized cart things and VERY hard of hard of hearing so that when the cashier talks he keeps having to stand up to get closer to hear, then sits back down, which takes like 3 minutes for each motion.) So after 20 minutes standing there I gitter done and move on.
When I get back to the front of the store I am feeling kinda puny and know I need to sit and rehydrate. So I go to McDonald’s and get a Diet Coke, okay, two–free refills–and I sit for a bit. I make two more trips to the little girls room before I head back out into the…sigh…heat.
By the time I get to the car, in outer Mongolia, I am litterally panting and lightheaded. I open the car door, stand for a few minutes to let some of the heat vapors out, and then I just have to sit. I crank up the engine to get the air going, and when I look at the dash the thermostat reads 121. Holy shitsky! So thinking it is too hot inside, I stand to let it and me cool off. Next thing you know….eeeuwww.
I would like to thank the several people who rushed to my aid and offered to call the really expensive ambulance. Some people do still care about their fellow humans.
Okay, lesson number one on bringing yourself back to life with rehydration: USE WATER not Diet Coke. Okay, the soda, or Pop for those of you in the other part of the world, is damn good and the fizzy stuff goes down so cool, but it really can be counterproductive. Pay attention to the symptoms when you are in the heat and the way you feel changes. That sweating thing…it goes away just before the vomitting. Yeah, lesson learned. Heat exhaustion is serious business.
So after my little excursion into the heat, I know a few more things.
- The heat sucks!
- Heat exhaustion makes it very hard to work/concentrate.
- Leave your car windows cracked to let a little bit of air get in.
- Lots of potty trips are contributing to dehydration, especially if you are not putting the right kinds of liquids back in in the proper amounts.
- Don’t be a hero. If it’s too hot, stay in the damn house.
Stay cool people or someone will have to bring you back to life. I kinda wonder though, what kinds of things do you do to stay cool in times like these?
Oh, and this made me wonder. Are there any really cool books out there that have settings that are really hot? Like locations or situations. How do authors handle heat stress in their books, or do they just ignore it?