I had a day this week that reminded me of my mortality. The temperature was around 102, the humidity was a little high, and I found the heat was more than oppressive.
I was laying out a long ditch to drain a project. It wasn't hard work, but required a lot of walking. As I worked, I walked slowly, didn't hurry and was methodical in preventing any extra steps.
After I reached about 600 feet from my truck, I realized I needed some water, and the need to stop for a few minutes to sit in the air conditioning.
The distance was farther than I anticipated, and I realized the energy was gone. I'd been hot enough before to know heat exhaustion was setting in, and I needed to do something quickly.
Another employee was checking grade for an excavator one hundred feet away. They were waiting for the off-road dump truck to return for a load of dirt, so the machine was idle.
I motioned for him to go for my truck and bring it closer. He walked away, while I slowly walked to the machine and crouched under the counterweight for some shade.
As I waited for a few minutes, I thought of my brother, and wondered what through his mind during his last moments before heat finally killed him. I knew his angst. I knew his feeling of helplessness, and I knew he went from conscious thought to unconsciousness in seconds. Mostly, I wondered if he was aware of what was happening. There are only short moments between feeling able and the intense exhaustion, where walking becomes a challenge, and the dizziness appears.
Keeping my truck close, and retreating to the ac for a few minutes, when needed, I finished my task. The heat cramps started about thirty minutes later. Supplements helped keep the back cramps from doubling me over, but one in my thigh caused soreness for a few days.
Age brought a feebleness, and vulnerability I wasn't expecting. I don't like it, but I'll accept; and adapt. Where I could once work for long days, weeks at a time, in the intense heat, without any concerns, I now must be very careful, and learn my new limitations.
In Case You've Wondered
My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.
If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com
One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.
I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.