Image by ChrisCosta77 via Flickr
The hot summer months of July and August, spark a fathomless yearning for the coolness of my mountain home. I simply am not built for this blistering abysmal Texas heat. I long to walk along a cool mountain stream, so close to timberline, you can feel the cooling breeze of snow capped peaks. If only I could once again experience the dryness of those mountain airs swirl around and encompass me in a comfort not forgotten.
There are days down here, that feel nearly like walking on a lava flow. The sun beats down unrelentingly, baking the ground and reflecting the heat onto any unsuspecting soul so unfortunate enough to be working outside.
All week long I have been working outside, doing what we call a rough in. That consists of installing the plumbing, drain pipe and water pipe prior to the concrete being poured. Down here just about all houses are built with a full concrete slab floor. That means that the plumbing has to set just right so the pipes come up in the walls as they should, or you end up jack hammering a lot during the next phase.
We have had temperatures nearing the triple digits all week, and humidity levels that make it feel like 105 to 107. One of the difficulties I personally have is a serious problem with perspiration. I sweat so much that it literally drips off me as if I just stepped out of a shower. The problem, with this is that I lose considerable amounts of water and salt from my system, making me very susceptible to heat exhaustion. At times it seems like I simply can’t drink enough water to replace that which I lose. On Tuesday it got so bad, I actually quit sweating, and shortly after that, I got cold! This scared the daylights out of me, for it has never quite been this bad for me before. I have cramped up, and had other symptoms before, but never like this.
I immediately stopped working, and found some shade where there was a breeze, and tried to drink more water. The problem was that as I tried to drink, I became nauseous, and promptly threw up everything I took in. During the day I had already consumed nearly three gallons of water, but it did no good, and now I was losing everything I had taken in. The next thing that happened was my hands cramped up so bad, they looked like claws, fingers unwillingly drawn into unnatural positions, making it even more difficult to even hold a cup. I had to cool down and do it fast! I took a towel from my truck, and wetted it down, then took some ice from the cooler wrapping it in the towel, and placed it around my neck. Then I started the truck and turned the air conditioner on high, and sat there for twenty minutes, sipping water slowly.
While resting I fondly recalled those wonderful summers in the high Colorado mountains. Temperatures never exceeded 80 degrees, and humidity was unheard of. I would rather be cold than hot any time, you can always put on more clothes to warm up, but there is only so much you can take off without causing a stir.