Why I Am Not in LA
Right now, I should be in Los Angeles for the Writers of the Future event. As of yesterday, I was still scheduled to be there. Yesterday morning, Dean and I were in Red Bluff, California. We’d spent the night there, and planned to drive the rest of the way.
Dean’s body and the 105 degree heat–at 11 a.m.–changed that.
Dean’s had problems with heat sensitivity as long as I’ve known him, and he’s had heat stroke several times, the last in 2008. Until this trip. I had hoped to avoid it by avoiding the airlines and long sits on the tarmac in badly air-conditioned planes, a slow drive down to LA in a well air-conditioned car, and then a stay in LA in a lovely air-conditioned hotel. But the extreme heat proved too much for him. He had all the signs of heat stroke yesterday morning, so I turned us around, headed to the coast (where it was somewhat cooler), and drove us home.
He’s recovering this morning. He will be fine. (Yes, he’s seen a doctor. Two in fact. One in CA, ours here.) But we won’t be in Los Angeles this weekend.
So apologies to the fine folks at Writers of the Future. Apologies to the winners of WoTF because we won’t be able to meet you this trip. Apologies to the Pasadena Borders for missing the big signing. And apologies to anyone who planned to see us this week. We’re missing all of you, but we are sitting in 60 degree temperatures on the Oregon Coast. Much better for my heat-sensitive husband.
I’m so glad Dean is recovering. A good bout really does leave you washed out for a several days.
Here are a couple of tips from my own entirely-too-extensive experience with heat stress, starting back when I was a firefighter.
A company named Sqwincher makes these nifty little packets that contain a little of their product in liquid form. You just add water. When I was riding the fire truck, I kept 5 or 6 of these “Fast Packs” in my turnout coat pocket. They are very convenient…I sent my Dad overseas with a box of them. Squincher contains roughly double the potassium and half the sodium of Gatorade and it has always been more effective for me.
I ran out of Sqwincher on a summertime trip to NYC. In desperation, I went into a convenience store and started reading labels. Orange juice has a lot of potassium (along with that sugar kick!) and can stop an acute attack within fifteen minutes. If you want both potassium and sodium, drink a V8.
I now work mostly outside. I keep a cooler full of Sqwincher, plus a couple of small bottles of OJ for the extremes. When it stays in the upper 90s, I add a few cans of V8.
To prevent genuine heat stroke, when body core temp starts to rise, I keep a medium-sized towel in the bottom of the cooler, which goes around neck and shoulders. Icepacks in the armpits can also be helpful but I haven’t had to resort to those in a very long time.
If my regimen works for an overweight, menopausal woman who has regular hot flashes, it may just help y’all manage things better. Summer in Oregon sounds like a much better experience than this summer has been in the Southeast!
Liz, thank you for this. I hadn’t thought of orange juice (duh!) Gatorade has saved our butts multiple times. As has the ice packs. I’ll show this to Dean so it’s in his brain as well. Great advice. Thanks.
Heat injuries kill. Several trainees die at America’s basic training installations every year due to heat injury. I am so, so glad you and Dean knew what to watch for, turned around, and went home. It is indeed a drag that you’re not here, but it’s so nice to know everything is okay! A relief, really. And yes, I am still thanking you both in my little on-stage moment tomorrow. =^)
Thanks, Brad. It’s very scary stuff, and Dean’s come close too many times to mess with. Enjoy the ceremony and your first time in the spotlight. It certainly won’t be your last.
Your husband is so lucky to have you. I hope you both recover from the stress and scare soon.
Thanks, Mary Jo & Leslie. Much appreciated. Dean’s getting better each day, and I’m less twitchy. 🙂
Oh, wow, Kris – that’s awful. I’m so glad you were able to get home all right and that Dean is okay.
So sorry to hear about Dean. I know that having to miss the LA trip is a real bummer. Guess you two live in the right part of the US, but not being able to travel to the steamier parts sure does put a crimp in things.
Please relay my sympathy to Dean.
Thanks, Shawn. I know. I say I was born in the 20th century for a reason–and that reason is electricity, which provides all that I rely on. I occasionally write books set before air conditioning, and I wonder why people lived in those climates. But they did, and often thrived. We’re an adaptable race.
I’ll give Dean your sympathies, Sandy. All things considered, if Dean has to have a chronic condition, one that’s easily controllable by controlling your own behavior is better than the other kind. Yep, travel is somewhat restricted, but only in the summer months. He can handle cold just fine. 🙂
He’s looking even better this morning.
I’m very glad the Dean is recovering well. I live in the south, and have pretty much curtailed all extraneous outdoor activities this summer because of the extreme heat & humidity. Every day I am grateful that I live in a time of affordable & reliable A/C and ice on demand. I definitely feel Dean’s pain.
Hope he’s back to normal very soon.
So I guess a round of golf in Death Valley is out of the question?
I -told- you you should have been an Official Mike Resnick Auxiliary Wife instead. (But take good care of my friend anyway. I’m running out of people to tease.)
Thanks, everyone. Dean’s up and around this evening, but quite washed out. He’s making his cat very happy by spending the evening in front of the TV which, according to cat Walter, is the appropriate place to spend the time between dinner and bed. (We usually disappoint poor Walter, who was a stray. His previous family clearly spent evenings in front of the telly.)
I appreciate all of the support. Tough day yesterday as we sped home. I’m beginning to think Gaterade [sp] is a miracle drug. That, ice, and a lot of salted foods and water kept him going until I could get him to the coast. Where, I should add, it’s now 55 degrees and foggy. The perfect weather. 🙂
Wow. Sorry the trip was a bust, but very glad to hear you’re *both* doing well!
Wow! Glad to hear it all worked out, and sorry for the trip interruption. Please give Dean good wishes for me (for you too)
Can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear Dean is on the mend and that you guys avoided a potential disaster. Thinking of you both and sending healing thoughts Dean’s way.
Sincere wishes for a speedy recovery, Dean. And t’was good that you were there, Kris.
Best to you both (and ice packs, too!)
Always do what’s best for family first. Sorry you didn’t get to make the ceremony but it sounds like you made the right choice!
Still, I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!
All my love, Sus 🙂
Yikes, Kris! You did right not to fool with that and get Dean home. Hope he feels better soon – and take care of yourself as well!
This makes me feel better about not being able to get to the reception, then. Although I’d rather have Dean healthy and safe than anything else! Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and next time, take the coast all the way down CA. 😉
So sorry to hear that, Kris. I have to say I got a huge scare when I read the first two words of the second paragraph “Dean’s body.” Then I read the rest of the sentence and was able to breathe again. That scared the crap out of me. Glad to hear Dean’s doing good and looking forward to seeing you guys in October.
Thanks, everyone. Didn’t mean to scare you, Steve. Shows how tired I am, obviously. 🙂 I’ll pass everyone’s kind thoughts to Dean.
Rob S.! I’m sorry we’ll miss you and Carolyn as well. We don’t see you two enough. 🙁 As Rick D. said, we really were looking forward to this trip and to seeing so many friends as well as making new ones.
Sometimes life has other plans. Geri, 7 years? Really. It’s been that long? I’m amazed you survived the weather. I’m not sure I would have, and I don’t have the same issues.
Dan, thanks for sharing the ways that the Freelancer’s Guide and Killing Sacred Cows have helped. Glad your work is out on the market–and congrats on the sales! And thanks for the good wishes too.
Sorry you two had to miss out. Glad Dean is feeling better.
Hey, Oregon coast weather sounds great–coming from a guy in an Arizona summer.
Sorry to hear it. My best to both of you. Enjoy that cool coastal weather.
You guys will be missed! Carolyn and I are heading out tomorrow for WotF, and were looking forward to seeing you two.
Hey guys —
Sorry to hear about Dean’s heat issue. As a fellow sufferer, I can sympathize. How we survived 7 years in Las Vegas is a tribute to the quality of air conditioning in this town and an avoidance of the outside during the three worst months.
Dean — drink lots of water, and rest up. That really is the only thing to do, as you well know.
I’m sorry to hear that, Kris. You were both looking forward to the trip last Sunday, but that’s not the kind of thing you want to mess with. Good call. Best of luck to the both of you, and a speedy recovery to Dean.
Get well, Dean, and stay cool!
My sincere sympathies. I’ve suffered from heat sensitivity and heat stroke since puberty, and it always seems to sneak up on me when I forget the little habits I’ve learned to keep me on the safe side in warm weather.
Thank you both for the Freelancer’s Guide and Killing the Sacred Cows–as a result of reading both over the last two years, I now have six years of backlist (all the fiction I’ve written since I hit half-a-million words) out on the market and have started to see some minor sales, and I’m also plowing forward with more experiments to test the e-book waters and explore some of the other opportunities that are cropping up everywhere.
Best wishes to you both, and fingers crossed for Dean and a quick recovery from the misery.
Yikes. Glad you guys got home okay. Take care 🙂
Well, keep him cool and resting. What a bummer, but better that bummer than a worse bummer. Take care, both of yous!