Friday, October 10, 2008

407: dehydration + heating pad + caffeine + heat = heat exhaustion/heat stroke

hey y'all.

this is a health alert but do not read while you're eating or if you have a weak stomach triggered by certain words or imagery.

last weekend, i suffered a heat-related mishap. even now i'm not sure if it was the last stages of heat exhaustion or the initial stages of heat stroke.

i do know that i thought i was going to die and i wanted to die at home, not in the E.R. while running up a bill of tens of thousands.

here's what happened:

my back had been bothering me most of last week. friday evening, i decided to try the heating pad. it felt so good that i kept it on my back for hours, turning it on and off several times during that period.

my back felt a lot better saturday morning but i decided to use the heating pad again, in hopes of having a pain-free day.

late saturday morning, mr. bliss and i went out to run an errand. we decided to eat while we were out.

as we sat on a sunny patio awaiting our food, i sipped a glass of iced tea. (caffeine)

after 20 minutes of waiting, i began to feel nauseated. thinking i was feeling hypoglycemic, i felt it would pass when i got my food. (and if i'd been able to think clearly, i would have known that the tea should have helped with low blood sugar.)

well, the food didn't come and the nausea didn't subside. i told mr. bliss how i was feeling and that we needed to leave. (confusion? intuition? either way i had just been thinking that i needed to eat to overcome the nausea.)

by the time we got halfway to the car, i was doubled over. my body felt as if it were being bombarded. i was nauseated, had a headache, and i was salivating profusely as if vomiting was eminent.

by the time i was seated in the car, waves of nausea were engulfing me, my heart had begun racing, i felt like i was hyperventilating, and my bra felt like it was cutting off my circulation.

then i began to cry uncontrollably.

mr. bliss kept asking me what was wrong but i couldn't tell him.

i didn't know. i just knew i felt wrong and i wanted to go home.

i felt like my nervous system was totally out of wack.

mr. bliss asked if i wanted to go to the hospital (we were across the street from it and had to pass right by it to get home.)

no, i wanted to get home in a hurry.

when we arrived i was still crying. as he helped me up the steps, mr. bliss said, "i think you're having a heat stroke!"

of course i thought he was crazy. how could i have be having a heat stroke? i hadn't been overexerting myself in the heat, just sitting in the sun sipping my sweet tea.

the other factors (heating pad, dehydration, sun, caffeine) were not in my thoughts.

i made it to the bathroom sink, turned on the tap, then began rinsing my mouth and face. (i was still crying.)

mr. bliss put a cold compress on my neck and baby bliss made an ice pack for my head.

they put me to bed and nursed me for hours.

for several hours i drank small bits of water. eventually i ate a bowl of miso soup. and when i felt better, i did some research.

i must have gone to dozens of websites and they were about evenly divided on the symptoms of heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke.

which is why i'm not sure what really happened to me.

what i do know is that i didn't have any warning signs like profuse sweating that stopped or cramping.

so now i am on hyper alert. i've been drinking as much water as i can remember to, avoiding the heating pad (thankfully i don't need it), and making sure i don't feel too warm. because i read that once a person has that type of experience, it's likely to happen again.

don't know if that's true or not but i don't want to be a test case.

thank you God for mr. bliss. if it had been baby bliss and i out alone, i probably would not be here to tell this tale.

so this is a reminder y'all: please drink your water to help prevent something like this from happening to you.



Susan said...

Oh no!!! I am so glad to hear that you are okay. Shew! I used to have experiences like that, but mine were panic attacks. I never want to feel that again!!!

Hope all else is going okay!

Aly Cat 121 said...

Girl glad you're okay. See sometimes the hubby's know what their talking about.

bliss said...

Hey ladies.

Thanks so much for your concern. I'm a lot better.

But even though I've been drinkng more water, I've noticed that I've been feeling overheated a lot.

I have a doc appointment soon and I'll let y'all know what she says.

Mr. Bliss says it's early menopause. Um, okay. Because he correctly diagnosed my heat thingie (with God's help he said) he thinks he can hang out a shingle. LOL

I'll wait to see what the doc says. :0)