Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Cool Thoughts on a Hot Day

The past few weeks in England have been gorgeous. Hot... very hot (25-30) and gloriously sunny. My school recently had a sports day which meant outside track and field events at a nearby sports park. After sitting in the sun for less than 20 minutes, everyone was boiling, sweaty and oh so thirsty. I managed to get some pretty interesting tan lines that day, but I'm just thankful for any sort of colour as my usual colour living in this country is deathly pale.

In honour of the heat wave, I thought I'd switch things up and tell a story about the time I got hypothermia.

It was May 24 weekend (a holiday weekend in Canada), in the spring after my first year of university. I had gone up north to the camp that I had worked at (and been a camper at) with a friend to help him set up stuff for the summer. He was going to be the head lifeguard and as I used to guard with him, I came up to help and to see a play that some other friends were putting on.

So on the Saturday, one job that my friend wanted to do was to bring the raft that had the slides on it, over to the swimming area. The raft was down the shore near the trailer park, which was maybe a two minute walk away. We figured that we could just get in the water and walk the raft over. My friend's girlfriend (at the time... now wife!) got in a canoe and roped herself to the raft to go along for the ride.

My friend was smart and decided to wear his wetsuit, but I forgot mine so was just wearing a bathing suit. Now, if we were actually swimming, I wouldn't have gone in as the water was very chilly and really not safe to be in for a long period of time. However, we figured, meh it would take five minutes and we would be done.

Silly us! As soon as we started, the wind picked up and soon we realised we were being pushed further and further out into the lake.  We were quickly over our heads and struggling to swim the raft (which had turned into a giant sail) back to shore, let alone to the swimming area of the camp. We got to the point where we were unsure if we could even get the raft back or if we would have to leave it and find a boat to rescue it later. We decided to keep at it and eventually got the raft back to where we started. At this point we had been in the water for some time, which was no good. I had been focused on the job but as soon as we got the raft back, I felt it. I started walking out of the water and fell. I couldn't feel my body and I couldn't think straight. I was confused and yet I knew what was happening. My friend and his partner quickly walked me over to the showers so that I could warm up (because of our first aid training we knew that a good way to deal with this was to start in a cool shower or bath and to slowly warm it up). When I got in the shower... I started it off cool and the water felt like fire. My body was so cold that the water seemed just so hot, even though I knew that it was actually more lukewarm than kettle hot. Finally, I started to be able to become less numb and I could think with a bit more clarity but I still felt out of it and just so cold. After a good amount of time, I went back to my room and changed into several warm layers. We did an assessment and determined that I wasn't bad enough to go to the hospital, but I would just have to be careful and let them know if I felt worse at all.

I spent the rest of the day shivering and never really felt warm, despite the amount of clothes that I had on! I woke up the next day with bruises from falling (which didn't even hurt at the time, as I was so numb) and with a headache, but luckily that was all. A not-so serious case, but definitely enough to make me wary of swimming in cold water!

Hopefully this tale has helped you cool down a bit in this blistering heat. It's all just part of my weird and wonderful life! 

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