Monday, August 1, 2011

Hospitalization :(

So if you read my previous post you recall that I was hoping that I would be able to avoid Blue Thunder which is a 2 night, 3 day camping experience complete with a large scale ropes course. Well we dodged the first night due to lightning but we had to roll out early this morning with the intention to stay out there until tomorrow afternoon. Luckily it was a scorching 102 degrees with heat index making it at least 110. My flight was last in line for the ropes course and my partner and I were last in our flight to go up. It was a lot more physically challenging than I thought it would be. I started to get really scared on the last leg. I had to Tarzan across from a ledge into a net and then climb up so that I could zipline down. The problem was climbing off of the net. I had absolutely no more energy left and I could not pull myself up. There were two instructors at the top but I couldn't get my body high enough for them to pull me up so another instructor climbed up the net after my repeated attempts failed. He boosted me far enough up so they could pull me up to the top. I ziplined down but I had already spent a long time up in the air at this point. It is a ropes course with an assembly line so it is stop and go traffic. We make it through one ropes obstacle and then we wait for a ledge to be free then we move again so it is a lot of waiting in heat while very high up.

After I got down I was exhausted and drenched with sweat. This time my left hand had a cut so I got water and some band-aids. I did not feel so great but I assumed everyone felt that way in the heat so I brushed it off. No one wants to be the whiner when everyone else is going through the same thing. Unfortunately I was unable to walk in a straight line. I kept drinking from my camel pack (in case I haven't mentioned it before, my camel pack is a little black pouch that I wear like a backpack. It is filled with water and we have to wear it almost everywhere). My wingman kept asking me if I was ok and helping me but I kept claiming that I was ok. We stopped at the bathroom and I sat on the floor for a bit before we went to our tent to get our MRE's. My walking was getting more and more difficult and I was steadily losing energy. I sat down under the pavillion with the rest of my flight and the rest of the students who were finishing up their lunches. I had no energy to eat and my speech was slurred and slow. I was dizzy and kept looking around very disoriented. I tried to eat some trail mix but I couldn't lift the food up to my booth so I dropped my head onto my chest to decrease the distance from hand to mouth. That helped a little but it raised the suspicion of everyone around me even higher. As my ability to talk continued to deteriorate they called someone over and they took me into an airconditioned warehouse and laid me down on a couch.

I didn't know this but apparently my body was extremely hot and was not cooling down in the air conditioning. One person squirted water on me, a couple of people started putting ice packs all over my body, and two people started fanning me. The doctor put an IV in me and they called an ambulance. They asked me my name, where I was, and what day it was and I could barely answer. The day of the week question is when I started to panic. Realizing that I did not know the answer was pretty scary. After about 5 minutes I was able to say that it was Monday but only after I said I thought it was Wednesday. I figured I could guess something and hopefully get it right, there were only 7 options.

A guy in my flight went with me to the hospital. Luckily he's a doctor already so I felt a little bit better about him being my wingman (some more AF lingo for ya). The IV was helping me to get my bearing a bit. Our base doesn't have a hospital so I went to the city hospital. Once there they took my stats, some blood tests, urine sample. I don't know the exact names of tests (I'll learn that in a few years :) but a test measuring heat illness showed that I was on the border of being in serious danger and if I had been out there any longer I would have had to be admitted overnight.

I was discharged about 4:00 pm and advised to stay in areas where temps below 80 degrees which meant I had to stay indoors. Unfortunately since we just came from the course, we had nothing on us. No cell phones, cash, phone #'s to call etc. We have to keep our pockets empty on ropes course. Luckily we had our camel backs which had our ID's in them and my wingman had his debit card which we needed to pay for the taxi back to base. We were expecting that nobody would be at the dorms since they would be camping out but we were surprised to see everyone on base. After I went to the emergency room, 9 more people had to be rushed to the emergency room with heat illness so they cancelled the rest of the day and sent everyone back to dorms. That is the chocolate ice cream part. The vanilla ice cream part (the bad part) is that we have to go back out tomorrow to finish up the rest of the outdoor scheduled activities. I have to report to the base dr tomorrow for a check up to see if I will be going out to Blue Thunder but I'm hoping that I can stay in. I feel like I felt right after my flu ended. Just extremely weak, recovering....

There is lots more to tell yall but I need to rest so I might be writing a lot tomorrow while I stay hunkered down in my bed. Fingers crossed. Good luck to me HARCH!

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