Sunday, August 14, 2005

Afternoon, Day 5, and REALLY INTERESTING Recap of Day 4

And the story continues

Sorry for the interruption, but life was calling. ;-)

I talked about the found "temptation cigarette" and about throwing it out. I talked about us having a gig yesterday. What I didn't get to was the day from 4pm forward. I arrived at the gig - at a racetrack in Manassas, Virginia - ambient air temperature was 101 F yesterday with 90% humidity. It was oppressive. If you can picture an auto racetrack, there's the center section - where all the cars and tents and pits are - the track itself, the outer section, a gate, a walkway, and then bleachers. Our band set up in the outer section, behind the fence, on a stage that was uncovered. It was hot - like Africa-steel-molding-lava-running hot. I was fine. The other band members were fine. We were staying hydrated. We didn't like it - it was uncomfortable - but we were physically fine.

My husband was not. During the gig, it was obvious he was hot bordering on overheated - but he seemed to function fine, was drinking and pouring water on himself, etc. He plays the drums - when I wasn't singing I would go behind him and put a paper towel filled with ice on the back of his neck, etc. After we finished, he seemed... not right. I usually leave right after a gig ends and everyone is paid, but not yesterday. He just didn't look right and I hung around. He would put a few things away (there is a TON of stuff to pack up) then sit. He'd wave me off when I would ask if he was ok. Finally, I didn't see him and found him on his back in the grass over by his truck. The way he was lying down was unnatural. Like he fell. He kept asking for water, which I brought him, but he poured it on himself rather than drink it. He stopped doing even that. He was conscious but couldn't answer my questions and, all at once, ALL of his color drained from his face, neck, arms and chest. All these things happened in the space of 10 seconds - it was very fast. I ran over to the track manager and told him I needed the EMTs right away. They stopped the race for an EMT on foot to get across the track. He came and evaluated my husband, and recommended to me strongly that I allow him to transport him in the ambulance. They stopped the race again - the ambulance came over. They got him all settled and took him (and me) out to the race track where they gave him oxygen and got his information from me. They had called an ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulance to transport him to the hospital. Those folks (the transport ambulance) hooked him to IVs and heart monitors and a ton of shit - I was scared shitless.

I did, however, have the presence of mind to take my car so that we would have a way back from the hospital when the time came...

Long story made not quite so long - he had heat exhaustion - a pretty severe case. The danger of heat exhaustion is that it can quickly and unexpectedly become heat stroke, which is a serious and threatening condition. He was pretty much in trouble before I even got to the gig - he had been there since 1pm and hadn't had a thing to drink or eat. At any rate, heat exhaustion is characterized by hot body temperature, profuse sweating, nausea, fatigue, and a general lack of mental clarity. When it becomes heat stroke is when your body stops trying to sweat to cool you down. You get hotter and hotter and aren't sweating it off. They couldn't tell, because my husband had been pouring water all over his skin, if he was able to sweat and his blood pressure was very low, so they played it safe and transported him. 2 litres of fluid, a ton of tests, and four hours later they released him.

He actually woke up this morning feeling better than he has in months - they took great care of him and opened his eyes to simple things he can do (hydration, nutrition) to feel better all the time. I'm thankful for that.

Oddly, although this whole thing was stressful, I didn't think too much about smoking - as I followed the ambulance to the hospital, I called my mother and asked her to look up both heat exhaustion and heat stroke on WebMD to give me some information (I don't like having to trust on blind faith). She asked if that had made the no smoking thing harder - I hadn't thought about it until that point. About halfway through the hospital stay I had to go outside to use the phone and there were two guys smoking by the entrance... I kind of longed for one right then and even made the comment that I picked a helluva time to quit. ;-) By the time we were headed home I was so exhausted I didn't give a shit about smoking!!

I did, though, wake up this morning and dream I was smoking but I'm telling you - it's getting easier to be a non-smoker with each hour that passes. I think it's helpful also to resolve not to smoke today. Just not today. Tomorrow, resolve that again and see how you do. It's worked for me so far.


At 5:55 PM, Blogger mlk said...


I'm so glad hubby is o.k. and that you were there to watch over him. Not a fun way to spend your Saturday night.

But, if you could go through that kind of stress and not want to smoke, that's fantastic!!! You rock!

At 6:00 PM, Blogger RenaRF said...

It was weird because I didn't really melt down over it until today. I just kind of freaked out about 30 minutes ago and was crying and upset and PISSED that he scared me like that. AND I wanted to smoke.

But I didn't!

At 6:30 PM, Blogger mlk said...

Smoking wouldn't have solved anything anyway. I'm so glad you didn't give in.

I've been craving a cig this evening. I don't really want one, just want the idea of one. I haven't slept well since I quit smoking. I would love a good night's sleep. Ok enough of my whining.

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