Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sorry about that...

Urine Color Chart,,
Gunsite has pee color charts next to every toilet

I had hoped to get back to content-ful writing a little sooner than this.  My week of art for art's sake posts was the week I was at Gunsite Academy taking their Gunsite Scout Rifle class.  Hard, but fun.  Lots of stuff to learn and then practice.  I haven't checked my round count, but it was probably in the range of 400-500.  The simulators were fun, especially "Military Crest" and "The Scrambler".

Then came Friday lunch.  I had just finished Military Crest and was really happy to get a chance to sit and eat and continue to hydrate, which is a constant element of being at Gunsite.  The school is over 5000 feet and in the desert, so making sure that you have enough water and electrolytes is part of the drill.

I couldn't eat my lunch.  It's not that it was bad, I just couldn't eat it.  I made sure to drink a couple of pints of water at least and got a couple of cold sodas as well.  I was sloshing.

I drove back to the wrong range and was completely confused when no one was there.  It took me a few minutes to realize what had happened, and by the time I got to the right range, it was obvious to me that something was wrong.  I was physically and mentally slow, my guts didn't feel right, and I was just the slightest bit spacey.  So I took myself off the line -- I figured if I couldn't properly handle a car I shouldn't be handling a firearm.

That slow state lasted the rest of the day, which fortunately was not full, since we'd mostly finished everything we had to do.  I did go with the class to the Sconce and stuck it out for an hour or so there, because I'd missed the chance to see Col. Cooper's house the last time I was at Gunsite.

By the time I got back to the room it was clear to both me and Sara that something was wrong.  In all probability I had heat exhaustion.  My brain slowed down even more and I had trouble keeping track of, well, pretty much anything.  A cool shower made me feel a little better but afterwards I was cycling rapidly between too hot and too cold, tossing covers off and desperately holding them around me to stop shivering.

I ended up in the ER, where they gave me drugs for nausea and at least a liter of saline IV.  They took a pile of blood samples and asked a lot about flu and fevers and such.  In the end, after about 3 hours, they decided that I was, in fact, dehydrated.  Gatorade ensued -- and you know there's something wrong with you when Gatorade tastes good!

Days later I am still a bit slow physically, although I might now be able to blame that on 3 days of driving (about 1500 miles total) :-).

Lesson Learned: Drinking a lot of liquids is not enough -- if you are not sweating, you are not OK!