That's how my day started. With a hike. And that's how it ended. In the E.R. Today was an interesting day. To say the least.
Last night we were at a friend's house watching movies when one of them mentioned that they were going to go for a hike the next day in Laguna Canyon, and would we like to go along? Yes, I did want to go along, as I am trying to prepare myself for the hiking we will be doing in Big Sur next week. We decided to go early, before it got too hot.
But then Joe got called into work early and we decided to wait for him to get off work to go. Long story short, we picked them up at around 2:00 and headed into Laguna Beach. It was pretty hot, but there was a nice breeze blowing and we headed up to the Top of the World(that's the name of the street. Isn't that a cool name for a street?) and started on our way.
The trail started with mostly downhill slopes. I was a little worried about the trip back being too strenuous, but decided I could handle it and we continued. We hiked for about forty-five minutes before I started getting pretty winded and we decided to head back. At this point I had worked up a pretty good sweat and my heart rate was pretty high.
The way back was mostly uphill. I became winded very quickly. We kept having to stop so I could rest. Soon I started to feel sick. My stomach started cramping and I was starting to feel nauseous. We continued walking, stopping every few minutes so I could rest. At this rate it was going to take us all day to get back to our car!
Finally we made it to a trailhead, where there was some shade and a bench. It was at this point that I completely collapsed. My stomach cramps were so severe I couldn't stand upright. Our friends decided to leave Joe and me at the bench and walk the rest of the way and see if they could find a Ranger to give me a ride back. I began to vomit and the stomach cramps were becoming excruciating. Joe knew something was terribly wrong because I was overheated and yet not one drop of sweat was coming off of my body.
We waited for awhile at the bench but then I decided I could possibly try to walk back up to the car. Still no sign of a Ranger truck. We walked for about ten minutes when all of a sudden we see a Fire Truck coming down the trail! For me. Keep in mind this is a walking trail. Not a road. I didn't even know Fire Trucks could go off road!
Our friends couldn't get a hold of a Ranger so they called 911. I was mortified.
The fire truck stops and puts me on the back of the truck and they hook me up to some oxygen and take my vital signs. My heart rate is irregular and I am showing signs of heat stroke. So they tell me I can go in the ambulance to the hospital to be checked out or I can walk back up by myself! Those were my choices. Go to the hospital or walk. Joe made that decision for me. The ambulance it was.
I was so embarrassed by this time. Other hikers were stopping to gawk at me. Finally the ambulance came down the trail and they put me in it and started back up to the top. I must have hit the lottery today, because that ambulance was full of trainees. One in particular looked to be about 12. I'm not kidding. He was 13 at most. The other was a young girl who decided to practice putting an I.V. in for the first time ever(it seemed) on me and hit some kind of vein in my hand and blood started spurting all over. I have never seen blood spurt like that before(except in the movies). And it was coming from me! Of course she blew that vein so they had to start all over in my other hand.
So in addition to the one "real" paramedic, I had Doogie Howser and a "newbie" working on me. Great.
Finally we get to the hospital where they hook me up to an EKG, take a chest x-ray, and run every test imaginable. Oh, and also gave me two bags of I.V. fluids. They kept me for over two hours while my husband and friends waited for me in the waiting room. And I was starving but they wouldn't let me eat.
The diagnosis? A combination of heat stroke, overexertion, and severe dehydration. Nice.
This will make it my fourth visit to the E.R. in the last ten months. That's got to be some kind of record or something.
So that was my day. How was yours? :)
Now I am home, feeling pretty much back to normal and laying on the couch wondering if things like this happen to other people, or is it just me?
This is the second trip to the ER I have had to take due to "overexertion". Apparently because of my kidney disease, my body doesn't process electrolytes effectively and it is very easy for me to become dehydrated and overheated. I hate that my body doesn't work like it should. I hate that I can't do things that everybody else can do. Hate. It. It's something I'm going to have to learn to adjust to. I need to learn to listen to my body more and try not to over do it. I also need to listen to Joe more. He told me before we started the uphill trek back that he thought my breathing was irregular and that I should stop and rest. I didn't listen to him. I didn't want our friends to have to wait for me. I didn't want to hold them back. I didn't want to admit that maybe the hike was a little too strenuous for me. I guess it was Pride. Or stupidity. Whatever it was, this could have been avoided it I had just spoken up earlier about the stomach cramps and stopped to rest more frequently. Live and learn.