Had a Heat Stroke When Working with My Bees

Please bee careful with working with your bees. As we beeks know, our bee suits are hot on a cool day. But when the temperatures are in the 90s with the humidity in the 80 percentile, those bee suits can be deadly.

Monday morning, August 18th, I was working with my four hives who hadn’t been attentioned in more than a month. They desperately needed feeding. I had finished two of the four hives when I got light heated, slightly dizzy, and felt faint. I sat down for a while because I wasn’t through. After a few minutes of not feeling any better, I decided to finish feeding then close the hives. Their inspection would have to wait for another day.

I gathered my equipment then started toting my wagon back to the garage when I realized I wasn’t going to make it back if I hauled the wagon. Dropping the handle, I raced to the garage while pealing off the suit. Quickly I got the Gatorade out of the garage frig and sat in a chair for a few minutes. Within two minutes I realized I needed to lay down on the pavement. I downed more Gatorade . There was no way I could walk up the fifteen stairs to the air-conditioned living room.

After resting for about twenty minutes and drinking more Gatorade, I made it up stairs and sat on the sofa for a few minutes. Realizing how hot, wet, and gooie I was, I decided to take a cool shower. It felt good so I stayed in the cool water until I felt cooler. Washed my hair in cool water — that really felt good.

With my robe on I sat on the sofa and drank more Gatorade. About twenty minutes later I felt my right heart muscle move … a few minutes later it happened again. Taking my breath away, I laid down and rested some more. About twenty minutes later I went into the kitchen for some ice water. I was holding the glass when my entire left arm tingled and felt numb. That tingle throughout my left arm told me that I was in trouble.

I took three 81 mg baby aspirin then called my doctor’s office to tell them that I believed I had had a mild heart attack and asked them what I should do besides taking baby aspirin. The nurse highly recommended that I call 911. Didn’t want to do that but she convinced me.

So, I called Bob and told him to drive safely but I thought he had better come home … then I told him why. He said he was over an hour away and told me to call 911. Crap! So I did. … Glad I did. They were terrific. The 911 guy said I should take my blood pressure. It was 205 over 90. YIKES! He stayed on the line with me until the ambulance arrived.

When the ambulance got there the bp had gone down to 195 over 80. After three nitro tablets the bp was 127 over 50. Now that’s better. Nitro is nice stuff. (Grin) Doesn’t taste good but it works and that’s what matters.

I arrived at Stanly Regional Hospital in Albemarle, NC around 4ish. (Don’t remember exactly because I was busy.) They tested my blood for particular signs and it tested OK — no heart attack. But they wanted more blood tests so I was admitted for observation. Bob arrived around 6:30 pm. and stayed with me until 11:00 p.m. when we got a room number. He then went home to feed all the animals.

Through the night my blood was taken two more times. I applaud the Phlebotomists did excellent work. They only made one stick and got he vein. THAT’s always a biggie with me.

The next day Bob arrived around 10ish and stayed with me all day. Around 11:00 a.m. I went for a nitro stress test. What an experience! The results indicate that there is absolutely no doubt — my heart is fine. So, with that said, my heart apparently had gotten too hot and was working overtime to pump blood to the rest of my body, hence. a heat stroke was the diagnosis.

It’s important to know the heat stroke signs. This site will help.http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/heat-stroke-symptoms-and-treatment. Your life and the stability of your family could depend on it. Please commit them to memory and stay aware of your environment at all times.

I’m home now and getting back to my routines — only smarter. From this day forward I will work with my bees at dawn and quit, whether I’m through or not, no later than 10:00 a.m. Husband has given me orders to set the clock on my phone. OK.

I was afraid Bob was going to suggest I get rid of the bees. But he didn’t. He’s wonderful. Actually, he’s gets more wonderful every year. We’ll be thirty-four on September 1st. and we’re looking forward to another thirty-four years. A scare like this really helps you see what’s important. Yep, it’s family.

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