By Craig Hastings
I just can’t accept the fact that I can’t do the things I used to do as a younger man. So what happened to me this time you wonder? Heat exhaustion. I don’t mean me just getting hot and needing to sit down for a while either. Last Saturday I experienced the real meaning of the condition. While inside and enjoying not having to be outside for any reason, both Shannon and Lukas decided they wanted to wash their vehicles and with three of us washing two vehicles it shouldn’t be a problem; heat, humidity, current invasion of sweat bees, etc. So at approximately 1:30 p.m. we pulled the cars into the driveway side by side, set the pressure washer up, soap in a bucket, towels, chamois, we’re all set.
I’ve washed more cars and trucks in my lifetime than I could ever count but, I’ve never washed two at the very same time and…in the extreme heat and humidity. I’ve washed one right after another but not two at the very same time. Because of the intense sun, I was in a hurry to hand wash and rinse before the sun could spot the cars. So I was running back and forth with the wash mit and directing Lukas to rinse the areas as quickly as possible and instructing him to keep both cars wet at all times. As for Shannon, I lost track of her. I think she had moved on to caring for some of her outdoor plants or something. I was nearly finished washing the cars when it first hit me. A little light headedness, sweating a lot, and an instant fatigue feeling. No big deal, felt all of this before when I mowed the yard in the intense heat, so move on right? Shannon chases me around the yard with Gatorade when I mow. I guess I should have listened.
Bad idea today. The cars were wiped down dry and it was time to pull them into the garage to finish them off. The garage is air conditioned so I figured once I moved them into the garage all would be well again. Now, Lukas and Shannon were both out of sight. I had been complaining about the film on the inside of Shannon’s vehicle for two weeks. So while her car was still outside I decided to get that done because the bright sunlight makes this job much easier because you can see exactly where you need to go back and do it again. Interior windshields can be tough to get streak free. I opened the passenger side door of her vehicle, sat down in about 110 degree heat, sprayed the entire glass, then felt the need to sit back in the seat and take a breath. I knew I was in trouble. I was feeling like I had never felt before. I’ve been dehydrated badly enough to go to the E.R. to receive a couple of bags of I.V. fluids three times in my life but this was different.
So what’s the deal with me and staying hydrated? I don’t drink. I don’t like to drink anything, ever. I didn’t need to when I was much younger. I used to play in weekend softball tournaments in some pretty intense heat back in the day and even then I didn’t drink much during the games. So what happened a few times, I would get home after two days of softball, get showered, relaxed, and boom, what little fluids I had left in me were exiting every orifice on my body. Much too fast to stop so off to the hospital I would go. In the time it took to empty two or three bags of I.V. go-juice through the top of my hand was the time it took for me to feel myself again. The only lingering effect was a little fatigue for a day or two.
I learned to react to the symptoms well before the complete dehydration started so I’ve been able to avoid trips to the E.R. for dehydration for years. But Saturday was different. This day I had fatigue set in quickly, I was not only dizzy but I was experiencing vertigo at the same time. It was the vertigo that I took seriously. That hadn’t happened since I took a bad fall in 2004. I was only able to clean one side, one time, of Shannon’s vehicle before moving quickly into the house and dropping down on the couch in the air conditioned basement so to stop my world from spinning. I had stopped sweating which was odd and I couldn’t drink because when I tried the vertigo would make me nauseous. I have a blood pressure cuff at home. My blood pressure was on the rise. What!? Shannon was pressuring me to call an ambulance. Nope not yet.
I didn’t feel dehydrated, I was cramping, and I wasn’t expelling any fluid from anywhere. I decided to wait it out. Surely things would improve as I cooled down and relaxed. Well they didn’t and my blood pressure was still on the rise. So an hour into this ordeal I called for an ambulance to have the crew check me out. I did want some kind of assurance that my heart was doing it’s job. High blood pressure, low pulse (under 60), Shannon complaining, and the ambulance crew suggesting I go get checked out, all convinced me to go for a ride. They started the I.V. in my hand while in my driveway. About halfway to Champaign I was coming around and feeling better. I was able to get a room in the E.R. when I arrived without a wait time and was attended to immediately. This has never been the norm for an E.R. visit whenever it was me or someone else I was with.
I received routine everything. I had lab work results to wait on and while I waited, the I.V. continued to flow. I decided since I wasn’t doing anything else I would request a COVID-19 test. That hurt every bit as bad as I’ve heard! My blood pressure had gotten to 215/111 by the time I arrived at the E.R. which is bad! As the I.V. flowed in my blood pressure went down. I received a good scolding from my attending physician about the danger of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and not staying hydrated. I was about three hours into this E.R. experience now and wanted to leave. All was back to normal so they kicked me to the curb to make room for the next heat related illness.
To top this fine day off, I was witness to some Facebook craziness that had taken place during my car wash/hospital event. It appeared someone or some people claimed I had commented on a case police investigated the night before. My alleged comments had irritated someone and they were hammering me on Facebook, which I don’t even have! Some guy without knowing any of the facts suggested I apologize for the comments that I didn’t make. Again I don’t have Facebook and I sure didn’t know any of these people well enough they would have my phone number to text me! While outside washing the cars, the ride in the ambulance, while in the E.R. and the ride home, I didn’t have my cell phone! I couldn’t text or Facebook anyone! As it turned out I guess, when pressed by others to produce these alleged text messages tied to my phone number and Facebook comments which I don’t have, no one could produce them. And of course they couldn’t. I won’t apologize because 40 years ago I decided to become a police officer and because of that some people used this fact to cause others to stress over this investigation.
Maybe all of those make believe Russian agents that never helped President Trump do anything will infiltrate the Facebook cyber network and shut it down! If I were Xi Jinping or Putin I’d find a way to shut Facebook down! As crazy nuts as Facebook has become in America, shutting it down would cause such widespread chaos and panic throughout our population that America would cease to function! Think about it! You wouldn’t be able to tell your friends what you ate for breakfast, what color pants you decided to wear to the store, how many new gray hairs you found on your head, when you last brushed your teeth, or what you plan to buy your kids for their birthday, or something the police really didn’t say but you think it would be great if they had, etc. All of this vital national security information couldn’t flow from keyboards to monitors anymore! Oh my! How would America survive!? An added note…I tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. However, I’m sure it will post on Facebook on some wall that I tested positive and died in the hospital. Oh well, what do ya do! Laugh about it…I do!
(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)