Sunday, August 12, 2007

a bit of a scare - heat get's you fast!

i was out and about a bit later than usual this morning with several physical demanding tasks on que. first up: distributing fresh compost to each and every raised bed. second to distribute pine mulch to each raised bed. you see, i was worried about our current temperatures sapping the life out of my wee ones and it's also time to give the soil a bit of nourishment in prep for the fall garden. round here, the heat and high temps cause the soil nutrients to break down more rapidly than they would in northern climates. and it is probable that with all the spring/early summer rains a bit more of nutrients might have leached out and been lost.

so i got to it. digging my way through one side of my double compost bin. i was pretty sure i'd need the whole stock to cover the beds with a good 2"-3" layer of nutrient building, moisture retaining, gardener's gold. sure enough, the bin was emptied clean. part way through the task i got to feeling a bit weak and bleary. this is unusual for me being the garden geek that i am, dirty, physical tasks get me excited and pumped up. i stepped in the garaged for a chug of my almighty iced coffee. nothing... still feeling odd. i noticed i was sweating pretty steady but then again it was nearly 95˚f out already so of course i'd be sweating. back to work. well by the time i hit the second to last raised bed i knew i was in some sort of physical oddness. i felt pretty darn bad - weak, spongy in the brain, slightly faint and now experiencing spots before my eyes, no kidding! oops... it hit me. heatstroke and maybe i'm figuring this out a bit too late.

i stumbled into the house, the a.c. came as a shock even though it's set at a energy saving 84˚. i headed straight for the gatorade endurance drink in fridge door but i could not find it. i knew it was there but for some reason i could not lay my eyes on it. i started looking through other parts of the fridge but told myself, "it is in the door, now focus and find it!". there it was, usually reserved for morning runs and recovery, i was grateful to have some on hand. why i did not see it first off, i don't know, it was right there. i mixed it 50/50 with water and began to slowly drink it down. i did not want nor could afford for it to come back up. the a.c. continued to be too much of a temperature change so i stepped back outside and into the garage where i clumsily set up a chair for myself in the shade. i just sat and sipped for what must have been a good 40 minutes. i wanted to close my eyes but did not allow myself the pleasure. i knew i had to gain focus and get myself together.

it was at this time that i realized just how much i had sweat. i was soaked to the bone and there was still sweat streaming down my legs, arms and face. i think it was time to put the tasks off until the relatively cooler evening hours. but the babies??? i thought. stupid girl!

yup, i went back out there determined to get some pine straw layed over the compost. i got about half the beds covered when the rational side of brain said. get out of the sun. you're going to get hurt. finally, i listened. now feeling poor once again. i sat for quite a while longer. i don't know how long really and then decided to venture in for a shower. i was after all a filthy sweaty mess. the shower felt good but i kept the cell phone near by just in case i needed to make an emergency call.

now an hour or later, i'm feeling better. well enough to know that i won't be heading back out for physically demanding tasks until the evening or maybe not until early tomorrow a.m.

be careful out there, the heat get's you faster than you think! heat stroke messes with your mind in ways that might keep you from knowing the critical nature of your condition. if you're feeling weak or bleary, better to be safe than sorry. get help, don't be the hero.

signs of heat stroke*: it's nasty!
  • feeling weak
  • feeling confused or lightheaded
  • headache
  • lack of one's ability to focus
  • loss of balance
  • upset stomach
  • profuse sweating which may lead to stopping sweating
  • *see your doctor to learn more about heat stroke.

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