Monday, August 1, 2011

Heat Stroke ...

photo above ... So hot we have to shade the cuttings that we're  growing.
At 8:30 this morning the temperature was almost at 90 and with yesterday's heavy rain the humidity was even higher.
John, my hubby, had decided to transplant a shrub, a crepe myrtle,  that wasn't doing well in the spot where we had planted it.  We thought it might do better in a different location but I was in no big hurry to do the transplanting and really thought it could wait until fall and cooler weather.  But John has never been one to procrastinate and he was also one that never liked to just sit back, do nothing and just chill out.  I've often teased him saying, "If you sat down for 5 minutes with nothing to do, I think your head would explode."
photo above ... Newly transplanted crepe myrtle bush.

With a heat index of at least 100 degrees outside I wasn't at all surprised to see John busy with a shovel digging a hole in which to transplant our sickly shrub.  There really wasn't much I could help him with but I did my best to be of some assistance and once the planting was complete I encouraged him to come into the cooler temperatures within our house. 
"Right after I fill in the hole where the shrub used to be" was more or less his response.  

Time ticked by and as I was putting clean, fresh sheets on the bed, John appears at the bedroom door, he's looking ghostly pale, his eyes are glazed over and perspiration is dripping from him. His clothes were so saturated that I could have wrung the perspiration from them.  "I need to lay down" he mumbled "could you toss a towel on the floor for me?".  Since I had just changed the bedding I took the old sheets and quickly spread them on top of the bedroom carpeting.  I had seen him do this once before ... heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

 Right now the important thing was to bring his body temperature down.  As John laid down I rushed and got a frozen Popsicle for him and went and soaked a few towels in cold tap water.   Quickly I placed the cold wet towels under his armpits and wiped his face and neck with another.  I repeated this procedure several times, praying that I wouldn't have to call 911. 
Slowly he began to lose  that "almost at death's door" pallor and that distant, glazed look vanished.  Soon he could sit and sip a glass of cold water and a few moments later he was able to stand up and get into a cool shower. 
photo above ... Temperature reading as of 4:25 pm 8/1/2011 (taken in the shade of the overhang of our back patio).  Sorry that the thermometer is so grungy but it is outside and this is Florida where anything that stands still long enough gets moldy.
As John can attest, heat exhaustion comes on quite suddenly.  He had gone to fill in the hole where the crepe myrtle had been ... found he needed more dirt so had to get another shovelful from the dirt pile.  Then once the hole was filled he decided to mulch over it as it had been in the flowerbed and then, still feeling fine,  he went to cleaned up the gardening tools that had been used in the transplanting.  With the tools cleaned, he stepped inside the house and that's when it hit him like a wrecking ball.  He felt faint, nauseous and weak in the knees.  Fortunately we were able to get his body temperature cooled down and didn't require the assistance of 911 ... twice ... and I hope there will never be a third time !

It's summer, the temperatures are hotter, in most places, than they've ever been.  One must use caution when working outdoors, don't over exert yourself, drink lots of liquids and simple pure water is the best of liquids.  Even if you're feeling "fine", don't push it. You can either take a break and finish whatever it is a bit later or even finish it the following day.


  1. I'm glad John is ok.......some times I think men just don't realize when enough is enough, my hubby tends to be the same way

  2. I am so glad John recovered, I can definitely empathise.

    The first year we lived in Oregon, Keith got a really bad sunburn, and experienced heat stroke, he not being a beach lover like me and never wore sunscreen (oh, has he learned his lesson :) The weather wasn't that warm and there was a breeze but we learned that that can give you a false sense of security.

    I spent a panicked night of draping cool wet sheets over him and applying aloe vera like it was going out of fashion. Then all shiny and red he got up and went to work the next day, I was exhausted, I should have sent him to the ER and left him there (He! He!)

    The things we do for LOVE :)

    Hope John is well rested and yourself, regards, T. :)

  3. I am SO glad he is doing okay! It must have been quite scary for you both. I think we all tend to keep going as long as we feel okay without realizing that when we start to feel bad it's too late. I'm glad you were there for him.

  4. Glad your hubby is okay! You do have to be so careful in this Florida sun...and stay hydrated!

  5. Scary...and yes it can just come on all of a sudden. Not temperatures to be outside doing yard work in thats for sure!! We're really hot here in So Cal too, but we don't get the same humidity that you do, which I think makes it even worse!!

    Glad he's better and make sure he takes it easy!!

  6. I'm glad John is doing ok. I'm surprised he had all the energy to get all that accomplished in that heat in the first place! wow!

  7. Oh how scary!!! One of my boys passed out at summer school but they got him back on his feet in no time - it's very scary!!! XOXO

  8. Oh I am so glad you knew what to do! Here in the north when it gets like this we stay in because this has happened to me more than once! Sending Hugs!


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