Drink More Water.
Pleasant. Like a dragging
audiotape, my mind slowly starts to function and slide up to speed.
I’m not uncomfortable; in fact this semi-dream state is rather
interesting. But where am I?
Why can’t I see anything? I
hear voices, many voices. Maybe I
should wake up?
I'm on my back, riding a high-speed elevator, I feel g’s as I am accelerated
upward. Looking up, a pinpoint of
light expanding fast; rapidly it fills my field of vision.
a face! A rather attractive lady;
but who is she? What is she saying?
And why is she pouring cold water on my chest?
Video operational, now the audio kicks in.
breathing better,” the face exclaims. “Look,
his eyes are opening. I think
he’ll be alright!” she continues.
is this woman? Why is she pouring
that cold water on me? And what is
she talking about?” my fully operational mind screams into my consciousness.
Consciousness replies, “It’s you, dummy, you been out of it!”
realize that I’m lying in the Suburban, the seat is rolled back, people all
around. My wife, Jane, and this
other lady are pouring water on me and wiping my face.
In the background I can hear a siren getting closer.
Slowly, the light gets dim, the audio fades but the mind stays partially
functional. “What’s happened?”
I ask. Consciousness does not
the next half hour, I am in and out of consciousness.
Reality is a blur of images and sensations: a bumpy ride on a gurney,
IV’s being started, heart monitor beeping, being nauseated and then violently
ill, “we may have a cardiac” shouts an EMT, staying back and forth during a
high speed ambulance ride, being concerned/scared, and the what ifs.
the hospital Emergency Room, the IV rapidly pours fluid into my veins and my
mind regains full functionality. Jane
and I are in
filled in the gaps: “You were
hooking up the trailer when the color drained from your face, you turned from
the trailer, took a step or two and dropped like a rock.”
Oh yes, I remember, the grass turned purple!
continued, “People came running from every direction.
They put you in the Suburban, turned the A/C on full and we started
pouring water on you.” Ok, that
explains the attractive woman pouring cold water on my chest.
this time, Jane’s wifely concern turned to anger.
She harshly admonished me for allowing myself to get so dehydrated by
saying, “YOU are the one always telling people to drink plenty of water and
look at you!”
one ever listens to the announcer!” I
replied. Wrong answer – those blue
eyes drilled right into me, but I had learned valuable lessons.
had personally experienced insidious dehydration and the onset of Heat
because I had been drinking what I thought was plenty of water.
I had not been thirsty. I was
still perspiring. I felt a few,
minor symptoms, but I ignored them thinking it was just fatigue from the long,
Illness? Not me!
I live in the south. I work
outside all the time, I’m used to the heat.”
I had thought to my macho self. “Dummy!
It came close to killing you.” spoke a little voice inside my head.
have seen many other people overcome by the heat.
But in my “superiority” I knew it could never happen to me.
a graduate of military survival school in
was trying to think of a come back when, sensing victory, the little voice
started again, “What if? What if
you had been driving the Suburban? What
if you had been on take-off roll? What
if, what if?”
right – All right! Lesson learned.
I’ll pay more attention to my fluid intake.
I’ll make sure I drink enough to maintain urine output.
I’ll drink more then I think I have to – OK!” my conscious mind
Said the little voice. But it had to
take one more jab, “How many ‘unexplained’ airshow accidents have been
caused by insidious dehydration? Maybe
you should tell your friends!”
friends, now I have.
has always wondered what would happen if “something happened” away from
home. Well, “something happened”
and we found out what happens in Douglas
happens in Douglas is that some very wonderful people step forward and provide everything
possible to assist those in trouble. I
was cared for by a compassionate, professional medical team.
Our equipment was cared for by new friends, people we still do not know,
who took the time to care for and protect someone else’s
“things.” We were folded
into the embrace of community of people who did not really know us, yet cared
for us as friends and neighbors, cared for us as if we were one of their own.
all those tests and two bags of IV fluid, the ER staff said we could go home.
In our case, home was a motel room and we had no transportation.
We found out taxi cabs were hard to get in Douglas, so the attending
Emergency Room physician, Dr. Music, said he would give us a ride back to the
motel when he got off duty. Try that
in your big city!
we waited in the ER Waiting Room, Airshow Committee member, Bob Porter, walked in to check on
us. He offered us a ride back to the
motel and Jane was again amazed when he offered to fly us home, to Anderson, if
we did not feel up to the drive Monday.
type of place Douglas Georgia is was brought into sharp and clear focus by this
little episode; it is a community in which I would be proud to call home.
For, not only does Douglas Georgia know how to produce a great airshow;
Douglas Georgia knows how to be a great place with great people.
Douglas Georgia! Thanks, EAA Warbirds
for a great airshow! And thanks for
proving small town American values are alive and well, living in
To help prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke, do the following:
yourself to hot weather.
light, loose-fitting clothing.
your head when outdoors.
water often, drink more then you think you need, don't wait until thirsty.
extra water if you sweat heavily. If urine output decreases, increase your water
lost electrolytes and salts using a “sports” drink.
become overheated, improve your ventilation. Open a window or use a fan or air
conditioner. This promotes sweat evaporation, which cools the skin.
heavy work or exercise, splash water on your body and take periodic breaks in
the coolest place you can find.
If at any
time you feel the least bit woozy, quit your activity and call it a day.
Although that may mean losing a few hours of work or recreation, it's better
than losing your life.
risk and susceptibility to heat related illness increases with:
effects of aging.
or other drug abuse.
illness, such as diabetes or blood-vessel disease.
illness involving fluid loss from vomiting or diarrhea.
in a hot environment.
body fluids from sweating and failure to drink enough replacement fluid.