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Heat Stroke: A Strength Becomes A Weakness & A Comedy of Errors

June 1, 2011

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, by strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature. Whatever the cause, you’ll need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death.

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of heatstroke, seek medical help immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Do not try to treat it at home.

– Mayo Clinic

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Well, yesterday I rented a sod cutter (and a cargo van to move it) to prepare the field garden. It was a nice 360 pound beast, and the cool rainy spring had become unseasonably hot – high 80s/low 90s with high humidity. After an hour I was overheating but I was determined to get as much done as I could, so I kept pushing which wasn’t too hard since a strength of mine is the ability to endure extreme physical discomfort. After another hour the damn thing stopped working and I went to the house, having a little trouble figuring out how to get there (it ain’t that far and I know the way very well) and got my brother, who is a small engine guru & genius, and he got it started again complaining that I was speaking abnormally rapidly and that I was overly disturbed. I  I decided to wait until it cooled down to continue and went into the basement to cool down. That worked really well and after a while I had my brain back.

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I had thought I was only experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion as I had no physical symptoms, but late last night I did some research and found that three of the symptoms of heat stroke are disorientation, confusion, and agitation, meaning I was actually at risk of severe bodily andor brain injury andor death. I got dang lucky that I stopped cutting that sod when I did, I was probably within a degree (F) of brain andor organ damage.

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After it cooled down I went back and couldn’t get the damn thing started, so I pulled back up the hill. Then I got to the rocky part where it was steepest. I couldn’t pull it up that bit, couldn’t push it up, so I ended up turning it sideways and picking up one end and push that up the hill then the other end. This entire time I kept trying to start the damn thing. Got it up the hard stretch and my brother finally returned, reached over, adjusted the choke real quick like, and gave it one lazy pull on the starter and it started right up. Now I still got ~4200 square feet of sod to remove by hand.

1. Don’t rent power equipment – it most likely won’t be maintained properly.

2. I do not get the physical symptoms of heat stroke – my mind will go and my judgment will be gone and I will put myself at severe risk (the one other time I had heat stroke I also had no physical symptoms, but I did see angels carry me as I walked). When I get too hot it’s time for me to take a break.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2011 9:20 PM

    On hot days I too have gotten this before. Slow down a bit my friend I would like to see you around for a long while. Cheers!

  2. July 2, 2011 12:20 PM

    Why remove the sod? If you lay down a barrier such as cardboard or newspapers and then add layers of leaves, grass, straw, compost, etc., the grass will die and decompose. Much less effort and you will have started with a good base. Use the brute strength of your brain ahead of the brute strength of your body.

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