As has been my practice for most of my 60 something years, I attended the Canada Day Parade in Port Dover. Wouldn’t miss it. This year I did something I have never done before. I sat down for the parade. Usually I’m on my feet and moving around taking pictures but I forgot to grab the camera on the way out the door and my friend was sitting so I thought I would join her.
During the two hours of fun I was feeling a little woozy and was very grateful for the occasional cloud but when I went to stand up at the end of the parade my head was spinning, my face felt like it was burning up and I was very confused.
I had a run in with heat stroke about three years ago and recall the information said you could be more susceptible to it after having it once, but it had slipped to the back of my head somewhere so I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late.
The most alarming part of having heat stroke, for me at least, is that while I was aware I was struggling and probably needed some quick intervention I couldn’t seem to articulate that to anyone around me. I said a couple of times that I needed to leave before we finally did. When we got back to “base camp” I asked for a cold cloth but should probably have been submerged in a cold tub to get my temperature down. I was very confused and couldn’t talk much, but no one noticed.
Off we went to the next destination and the burning feeling was subsiding but I still couldn’t think straight or figure out what to do. I remember a couple of people asking me to sit down but I really couldn’t figure out where to sit. I was with people I didn’t know well and it was strangely overwhelming. I usually manage not too badly with strangers but in the state my brain was in I just couldn’t handle and decision making at all.
Finally had the sense to insist that my driver bring me home. It took him a while to get around to it but I finally landed in the bed. I don’t believe I slept but rather passed out. I was exactly where I landed at 7:30 pm when I woke up at 9 am. I hadn’t even made it under the covers. Good thing I’m not a big drinker or someone might have thought I was drunk.
Since confusion is one of the symptoms it is easy to miss. People don’t really pay much attention to what is happening to other people unless there is some dramatic evidence they need help. If I had fallen someone might have noticed. The first time I had it I was working in the garden and had the darnedest time figuring out that I should get out of the sun and head for some help and cold water.
It seems those of us who are over 50 and athletes are most prone to heat stroke. There are some simple steps to take but if it affects others like it affected me it is the people around the person who need to be most aware. Please be aware of heat stroke/sun stroke symptoms and don’t waste any time taking action. It can lead to death.