Friday, July 19, 2013

My bout with Heat Exhaustion

We are having a heatwave right now in my area (okay, who isn't having a heat wave right now in this hemisphere?). It is beyond intense out there. It literally is like you can feel the heat with your hands while you push your way through the atmosphere outside.

In short: this was a bad week for our air conditioner to break. Which of course, it did last Sunday.

As Henry put it: "Our air conditioning has rain in it!"

We have an older home which unfortunately doesn't have central air. We've got an AC unit in the wall of our living room and that's the one that "had rain in it" and the "rain" started leaking down our wall and all over our couch last weekend. And then the unit just stopped working entirely. Right before this massive heat wave was headed our way.

After some drama (and about $500) we were able to get the air conditioner replaced on Tuesday which was an absolute blessing. However Sunday, Monday and most of Tuesday were brutal to get through. We had air on Wednesday but we had a lot of errands to do that day and spent most of the day out of the house.

Thursday came and it was the hottest day of the heat wave - temperatures soared up to 97 degrees which isn't really THAT high however the heat index was off the chart and the humidity was like something I have never experienced before which is saying a lot. We had errands to run again and I thought it would be good for us to be in retail stores anyway because while our wall unit was working okay enough to take the edge off, it was still averaging 82 degrees in our house and seriously, that's intense.

We went to three stores yesterday. And in a typical move, I forgot to bring water for myself. I brought water for Henry, I nursed Cassandra several times while we were out but I forgot about me. I had a big iced coffee with me but that was it. (note: coffee is a baaaad idea in these situations, coffee dehydrates you. I didn't remember this while I was toting it around with me)

By the time we got to Barnes and Noble so Henry could play at the train table, I had started shaking. I thought it was just because of all the nursing and my blood sugar dropping. I bought us some lunch and juice and ushered us towards home. But it didn't get better. I started feeling weaker and weaker, exhausted and dizzy. I worried I was going to faint or black out (which has happened to me once before so I recognized the warning signs). I got us home, put Cassie down for her nap and set up Henry with Daniel Tiger while I took a cool shower. My eyes were having trouble focusing, I was disorientated and confused. I started having trouble reaching the ends of my sentences. This is when I knew something was really wrong and I started talking to Ryan and asking for help. Then the nausea hit. I was so nauseous I took a zofran left over from my pregnancy. We weren't sure what to do so eventually I called my mom and she came up and sat with me and forced me to hydrate while we waited a while to see how things were.

Luckily I slowly improved. I drank a ton of water, I sat, I tried to stay cool. I tried to rest.

I probably should have gone to the doctor but I am stubborn and that is a bad thing. If this happens ever again I will probably go.

I had all the symptoms of heat exhaustion and I'm lucky it didn't progress worse than it did. I think I caught it in time and rested and hydrated enough to head it off. But it easily could have been really bad and that's scary.

I know it's very "mom like" to forget about yourself and neglect your needs (hello hydrating while nursing!) but that's not smart, it's not safe, and it's not a good example for those very kids who you are prioritizing. I got lucky this time but I learned to knock it off a bit with all the rushing and hustling around and to realize that I'm a priority too.

I'm still exhausted today and feel like I got hit by a truck a bit but I'm not worried about my own safety (and therefore the safety of my babies) anymore and that's important.

But the point here is: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES. Whether it's heat, cold, whatever, you have to be safe and take care of yourself. This weather is intense right now and since Global Climate Change is upon us in a big way i have a feeling that the summers are just going to trend in this direction more and more in the future so seriously, do it. Heat exhaustion is a cumulative thing - I spent several days over heated, under hydrated and doing way too much for the circumstances. It all built up and nearly caused me to black out and put myself and my kids in jeopardy. And that's not okay.

Stay cool out there, guys. Both literally and figuratively. lol

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