Walked to the bank yesterday. Didn’t think anything of it; I had my big hat on, after all. While waiting in line, when I was next in fact, out of nowhere, started feeling faint.

Went up to the window, did my transaction. Had to crouch down a couple times, could barely talk. Staggered over to the waiting area (only chairs, no couches? Aaaaa…) and flopped there, gasping, until an employee asked if I was all right.

“No…Can I get some water, please? I think I’m going to faint.”

Hands and feet are becoming numb, like I don’t have enough blood circulating. Employee brings large coffee cup of water (thank Og; I’d been envisioning one of those tiny paper cones), and I sip it, not wanting stomach cramps as well. There’s a tiny fleck of something dark in it, and I watch as it sticks to the side of the cup. This is not food poisoning, as I’d originally thought; this is heatstroke.

Employee comes back and asks if she should call the paramedics.

“No, thank you…I’ve got the feeling back in my feet; I should be able to get home.” This is mostly a desire not to cause a scene in the bank again. It’s the same branch where I had a seizure back in '99, though there’s probably no one there now who remembers it. Also, I’m sweating from every pore, and don’t want to ruin their nice chair.

Lurch out the door and head for home. So much for stopping for a burger. Or at the grocery. The bank was the only vital errand; everything else will have to wait. It’s eight blocks, and every step is torture. Every time I see a bench, or a retaining wall, or a recessed and defunct doorway, I stop to rest. The granite wall in front of the other bank is particularly pleasant; I can lie sideways and watch traffic at an angle. Stop at a taco stand and get another cup of water. (Should have put salt in it, but of course I don’t think of that until afterwards.)

I keep going and catch my reflection in a window. Michael Jackson: red lipstick and a ghastly white face. Oh, and I’ve left off the hat, because I’m convinced it’s retaining heat. Keep going, keep going, keep going. I even sit down on the steps of the El Sleazo Motel, and normally I avoid that place at all costs. Have to hold my breath walking past restaurants; cooking smells never make me sick, but today they would.

Finally get to the house (no stopping places on my street). Can’t go to the mailbox; just indoors and onto the floor. Crawl to the fridge, chug a Diet Pepsi and scarf some dry cereal. Within 15 minutes, I’m recovered, but hoo boy.

Later, tell Mr. Rilch over the phone.

“So how hot was it?”

“Oh, about 100.”

Really, when you’re used to it, 100 doesn’t feel like anything…until it does. Note to self: never go out during the dog days without a water bottle.

Gahh! I go out face-painting at this time of year. I always like to have a faithfull minion with me, and it can get darn hard keeping them alive. They don’t want big hats, or do not drink enough water. Carry a mister of water, too in this weather. You probably know you cut WAY to close this time, right? Heat is dangerous. We always see a bunch of people come into the hospitals with everything from heatstroke to kidney-damaging dehydration at this time of year.

You came close, but during a heat stroke you stop sweating. You know you have to do something then and there if you stop sweating. Try taking off your shoes for one thing, you can lose a lot of heat through your feet if they’re bare.

You had heat exhaustion the precursor to a heat stroke.

I’m glad you’re OK and nothing bad happened, and I’m sorry you went through this bit of suffering, but I think you went too far “playing the hero.”

Disclaimer - IANAD. That said, I think You should have:

  1. Stuck around in the (Air Conditioned) bank, drinking water (preferably slightly salted?) until you felt better.
  2. Sprung for a taxi to take you home.

Heat Exhaustion (and, needless to say, Heat Stroke, but I agree with H.D. you thankfully didn’t get there) are not laughing matters, and should not be brushed aside.

I’m not jumping in to criticize you. I’m just glad you’re OK! But I think this is important enough to mention so that the next Doper finding themselves in this position doesn’t try to grit their teeth and bear it.

Well, not so much playing the hero, as thinking I had no other options. And honestly, my judgment was slightly impaired, as if I’d been drinking. Salt water didn’t occur to me, as I mentioned. What I really felt like doing was taking all my clothes off, not just my shoes (good idea, though!). And taking the hat off was like a hypothermia victim saying, “I’m so hot! I don’t need this coat and thermals!” I figured if I was thinking like that, it was best to get out of public areas.

I did weigh the option of calling a cab, but in this community, that’s difficult. The last time I did that, when my car broke down, I waited half an hour, during which time two cabs “missed” the perfectly find-able intersection where I was. One of them sailed right past me without stopping, and the dispatcher was all, “I dunno…you weren’t there, he said.” I would have spent more time in the heat than I did as it was. Couldn’t call anyone either, because everyone I know around here was either at work or on vacation (darn you, Guy Who Works From Home! Why THIS week?). I also thought of taking the bus; it would have been one stop. But again, I would probably have spent more time sitting and waiting, plus having to walk back from the nearest stop to my street.

Basically, I was just screwed, in a way I wouldn’t have been if I’d been further afield. My big mistake was in not bringing water with me, and not loading up on liquids before I left. I did wait until the numbness dissipated before I left the bank, but as I said, no other options. Heh…it occurs to me now that I could have left the bank and gone to an air-conditioned diner until I felt better! But the bottom line is, I was thinking like a drunk. Now I know, though, and can think first.