Fun with hypothermia


Usually on weekend mornings my family sleeps in, and then has a nice breakfast and reads the paper. Today though, we didn’t have anything breakfast-y in the house, so we went out instead, which was a nice treat. We went to The Towne, and I had two poached eggs with bacon and rye toast, and even though I didn’t take a picture, you should take my word for it that it was delicious. Restaurant toast is always delicious, and way better than toast I make at home.

After breakfast, my dad and I dropped my mom off at the office and went over to LaSalle Park for the winter sevens tournament. It was a nice morning when we left the restuarant, but the park is literally right next to the water, and by the time we got there the sun was behind the clouds and it was cold. I had expected it to be cold, so I was dressed warmly, but I was still shivering within minutes of walking to the pitch, which was, incidentally, empty. We were hours late, and I had been nudging everyone along all morning because I was worried about missing exciting rugby action, but when we got there Geneseo hadn’t even started playing, and the team was huddled under a tent, trying to keep moral, and their body temperatures up, with limited success. I only kind of know one girl on the team at this point, not well enough to really have a good conversation, although she did congratulate me on getting into Hopkins, but it was still nice to be there. I chatted with my old coach a bit, and then some other alums showed up, and even though I didn’t know them well either (they were a little before my time on the team) they were friendly. They told me that Alumni Weekend is scheduled for late April, and put me on the email list, and because they don’t really know anyone on the team either, they gave me someone to chat with and stand near, and that’s always nice.

The conditions were not great. I had thought that the ground would be thawed, but it was frozen and hard, and the wind was miserable. The ruggers got to warm up once the game started, but it was bitterly cold on the sidelines. My friend hadn’t showed up yet though, and I was determined to stick it out until the end. Geneseo had an ok day, and while they didn’t win much, they played well. It’s a very young team right now- they only have two seniors, and one just joined last year, but there’s a lot of room for growth. Several girls had their first game ever today, and it was exciting to see them fall in love with the sport.

Oaks showed up after a couple of hours, and we had a really nice time catching up. It was hard to believe that so much time had passed, because things felt very natural and friendly. We talked about school, and nursing, and rugby, and just random stuff. I was getting really cold by that point. It was kind of hard to talk, and I was shivering really hard, but I wanted to hang out with my friend, and see the tournament, so I just did my best to ignore it. My dad left around then, and gave me his hat, which sort of helped, but I was starting to feel done. My muscles were sore from shivering, and I had a headache, and felt sick to my stomach, so that the idea of getting lunch with my friend was deeply unappealing. I made it through two more games, but then I caved, and told Oaks that I was really sorry, but I would have to take a raincheck on lunch because I was just too cold to stay until the end. I had been at the park for about four hours, longer than any other the other alums, but I had had enough, and I felt rotten. My lips were blue when I got into the car. My fingertips turn blue sometimes, but my lips never have before, so that made me feel a little bit better about bailing. My dad took my home, and made me wrap up in a blanket and have soup, and tea, and sit by the fire, and now (after a long hot shower) I’m fine. And I had a nice day, despite the minor hypothermia.

  • Shivering
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Stumbling
  • Confusion or difficulty thinking
  • Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition
  • Progressive loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow, shallow breathing

So. If you are out in the cold for extended periods of time, even if it isn’t that cold (it was probably in the high 30’s today) BUNDLE UP. Wear a hat (I had a hood, which wasn’t enough), and gloves (my hands were miracuously not cold, thanks to my giant, furry, Cowardly Lion gloves), and good socks, and don’t feel bad if you’re too cold and have to go inside. Blue lips are kind of a cool look, but there’s lipstick for that kind of thing.


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