Monday, June 20, 2011

An unwanted interesting experience- heat exhaustion/ dehydration

It's Sofia Take 3: (and here is why)

I’d been noticing the heat is pretty intense down here- direct sunlight coupled with humidity and temps which stay elevated from 9AM-10PM or later had left me feeling quite faded. But I was still walking a bit every day, drinking water, and trying to enjoy myself. (I did fine in SE Asia but then that was their winter.)

Yesterday I attempted to walk (mostly in the shade) to a neighboring town which was about 2.5 km away. Normally not a problem. But I started to feel a bit funny and decided to turn back. I found a roadside market where I bought ice cream and juice, and was drinking water. Slowly, I made my way back to the hostel, knowing that I was not probably getting enough liquids even though I had planned and carried water. The heat was too hot and too direct. I told myself to just get back to the hostel.

I felt pretty weird by the time I got there, so made myself a bottle of water with rehydration salts in it and hopped in a lukewarm shower. I was not feeling normal at all, but sat down to try to wait it out. Molly came on chat, and I told her I was feeling weird. Not wanting to be alarmist, but I was getting scared. (Like telling someone on the other side of the world is going to help…) I emailed my hostel information to her and my aunt Dee, who also happened to be online, and tried to feel normal but was still feeling worse: dizzy, nauseous, faint, flushed, and more… and starting to wonder if I needed to go the doctor. (I never think that!) So I got up to tell the staff and a few other travelers who were in the common room where I was sitting that I was feeling really strange. They all seemed to think I was overreacting and it was no big deal- said to sit down and not worry. I thought, if I pass out hopefully they take me in. In reality I think if I would have passed out they would have just thought I was sleeping and not worried about it. I was probably the only one with any medical training in the room. This is when it is not fun to be traveling alone, and needing to rely on a bunch of untrained, immature (regardless of age) people

Obviously I am not dead or in the hospital, so I was actually ok, though it was not maybe until about midnight that I really started feeling normal and this morning pretty good. I’d looked at the forecast for the last two cities I had planned, and they were forecasted to be even hotter. Plus I’d heard that Romainia was hotter anyway… so I started dreaming of flying north early, where it was only about 68, and even raining! I thought perhaps I was overreacting but then thought, how am I going to take a night train if it does not cool off, what if the bus a/c doesn’t work that well? How am I going to see anything if I am afraid to walk outside and overheat/dehydrate again?

It didn’t take much effort to find a flight for 116E from Sofia to Berlin on the 21st of June. Eight days earlier than planned. I knew the busses in Bulgaria are quite decent, so here I am headed back to Sofia. In the morning I can go north, where the sun is kinder and gentler on my feeble heat-tolerance genes. I am not interested in testing out Bulgarian or Romanian medical care on my own. That’s a trip I don’t want to take!

I’ve decided to just take the week and pretend I’m living in Berlin. I miss speaking German anyway and the analness of the north. It is true. I am anal. And I like colder weather.

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