Baking Summer Heat

Fire in the Sky 3

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.


The Muse said...

first and foremost i am beyond happy that you recovered. yes you were indeed in danger! goodness eric, that sounds scary, and therefore i can only imagine how it must have really felt.

my friend in the military got sunstroke which was horrible while we were training, i never saw anything like that before....she nearly died.

i wish too, that you could be back in your mountains once more. are you away permanently or just for this job (if you don't mind me asking?)

Eric S. said...

Thanks Muse, it was pretty spooky, and painful too. I've had a rough summer of heat related problems this year, not really sure whats up.

We moved down hear about 9 years ago, because my wife could not handle the altitude. She gets migraines real bad and the altitude made them worse. She is from this area of Texas, so I brought her home.

Coloradolady said...

Gosh Eric, I feel for you too. This heat is horrible, and so dangerous to work in. I miss the mountains and our place in the mountains so much. Won't get back there until the fall....the heat here is getting to me too, I am too old for all this sweltering heat!!

Take it easy, it is really dangerous to have to work in.

do you get back to Colorado very often??

The Muse said...

Love is giving all that we have and are for the other.

Eric S. said...

@ Colorado Lady, Thanks, the heat can be a tough one down here, as you know. This year seems to be worse than any before.

I do go home once in a while, but never often enough. It's been about 2 years now since I've been back to the mountains.

I remember the subdivision your in u there before there were roads. My father surveyed all that area of South Park, and we were with him usually. RORA was one of my favorites.

Eric S. said...

@ The muse, it is indeed.

Jennifer Robin said...

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this post. My husband and I left Southern California because of the perpetual heat there; he too suffered from salt/water loss and cramping like you described. We seem to have found a happy medium in Western Washington. The forests here make it feel like you live in the mountains, but the altitude is low, so there are no high altitude issues to live with. We don't get much sunshine, but it's a small price to pay for summer temps that only rarely climb over the 70's!

Eric S. said...

Thanks Robin, The heat has never been one of my favorites. I was raised at 10,000 foot where it never get very hot.

I bet western Washington is gorgeous this time of year.

Sandee said...

Glad you recovered. That was scary there for a bit. I knew you were okay because your wrote this post, but it was scary none-the-less.

We've had a rather mild summer in California this year until this weekend. We are finally in the triple digits.

Have a terrific day and take care of yourself in the heat. :)

cheryl said...

Ericccc, welcome back ! You have to take care of yourself in this heat sheeet. Even though we're told not to intake salt, well it retains water, so we have the good and the bad.
Up here in the dare I say the great green north, it's been hotter then hades on a cool day. I am NOT a happy camper.
Give me 72F with a light breeze and I enjoy summer. :)
Stay cool you !

Eric S. said...

Hey Sandee, yep I'm fine more or less, LOL. I can't believe how hot it's been. They are calling for 99 degrees all week, with 80 to 85 percent humidity.

Hey Cheryl, Thanks. Yea I need to really watch it now. I have been more susceptible since the first time I got heat exhaustion. It's the humidity that really takes it out of ya.

manker said...

i have to admit.. i'm enjoying this heat... aka as the "brief respite from winter here in Montana " :)

keep cool

Eric S. said...

Heya Manker, What I wouldn't give to have that cool summer you guys have. It's a lot like ours was I'm sure.

Jennifer Morrison said...

Gosh, whenever I hear someone around hear complaining about our "heat wave" I'll make them read your post.

You make Colorado sound so inviting, not just from your homesickness for it, but in your lovely writing style.

Eric S. said...

Thank you ever so much for that wonderful compliment. Of course it's easy to write passionately about that which you so love. For me it is those vibrant living mountains of Colorado.

tashabud said...

Oh, Eric, I do feel for you. I hope you'll soon get to visit your mountains once again.

It's been nice in Cheyenne this summer. Much like Colorado.

Yes, you have to be careful working in hot temperatures. Make sure to drink lots of gatorade. It contains electrolytes that will replace the ones you've lost from sweating too much. Gatorade comes in many different flavors these days, in case you haven't noticed it in a while. If you don't like gatorade, eat chips and drink water. And as you've said in your post, drink water in little sips and more often, or else you'll just throw up. Don't forget to wear your hat. Very important.

Stay cool and safe.


Eric S. said...

Thanks Tasha, so do I. Glad your having some pleasant weather. Still pretty hot down here, but it's cooled off a little. down to 98 degrees today, LOL. Yep I drink lots of Gatorade, but usually three pints of water to each Gatorade.


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