Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Life in Paradise: Narcolepsy and Dehydration

Today is the second day in a row that I 've had what feels like narcolepsy in the middle of the day. The temperature reached 105.8°F, also the predicted high for the rest of the days this week. April is not quite here and we already feel the intense heat. As I write this at 8:30 pm it is still 95°F. According to Weather Underground the humidity is only 46%, but it's sticky humid. I have been anxiously awaiting the return of the hot weather, and after only a few days of high temperatures I find I need to re-acclimate myself.

This afternoon I was diligently editing my story in the comfortable new space and my eyes got heavy. I felt like a bobbing head doll. I was literally falling asleep at the desk and saw my concentration flutter like a dead leaf through the house in the hot breeze. Eventually I gave up and closed the file. I had no choice: I couldn't make a full sentence or hold a complete thought. I settled into a hammock with two fans blasting and completely zonked out. It would be three hours and nightfall before I could function again. And as I try to communicate this right now I would still rate my brain function below par.

This will be my third summer here. I'm no stranger to this heat. The way to beat the heat is to start all physical activities super early, allowing for a drooling nap or a good read....in a hammock...surrounded by fans, in the blazing hot afternoon. Tasks can be attempted again after sunset and some caffeine intake. Last week I dehydrated myself. How could I do that? I know I have to consume massive amounts of water and other liquids. Ok, so I had a few beers one night, but I thought for sure I drank enough beverages the following day to compensate. Once you have dehydrated yourself, it takes a few days to get right again. It is not a habit one wants to start.

I easily downed three liters of water a day the past two summers without giving it any thought. Over the winter months, however, water just wasn't appealing and I got sucked into the Cokes. They deliver cases of returnable bottles, which we all know contain the best tasting Coca Cola, and I succumbed to temptation. I limit the Cokes to 1 or 2 a day, and even so ONLY if I have been chugging back plenty of water, gatorade, lemonade, watermelon or other fresh juice, and/or iced tea.

I wondered if the swimming pool had anything to do with it. When the sun is high and heat is blasting, I get into the pool and move around. I take some sun with my exercise but also move into the shady half of the pool. Whoever put the roof over the pool was a genious. This is the first year the pool is heated. Now that the air temp is so high we probably don't need it, but even the water we pump into the pool is bordering on hot, so it is now heating itself. I like the warm water because it seems to change its texture into a thick silky velvety liquid. I can spend a long period of time in the pool when the water is just below body temperature. Then I am not thirsty, and yet I am refreshed. That can be dangerous.

There are a few hours every night when it cools down, but it calls for minimal sleepwear and a sheet instead of sweat shirts and the blanket we craved during our winter. Even regular t-shirts feel too hot and heavy in this heat. Mexico will spring ahead this weekend, and that will confuse the issue a little. I need to psyche myself up for the long summer in the steamy heat. It is extreme, but I have always preferred a tropical climate. The humidity makes my skin actually feel smooth and not like the wrinkled leathery mess it really is. Laundry is a bit of a hassle when we change our clothes a few times a day after sweating through them, but a dip in the pool, a cool shower and a generous sprinkling of talcum powder freshen us up so we can keep on going. I can work with all this if I just go with the Yucatecan flow. But I am going to have to trick myself into staying hydrated, and change my schedule so that I can pass out in the afternoon when necessary.


Linda Dorton said...

There were 3 articles about the heat in today's paper, 1 Apr 09:
PENINSULA TURNED INTO OVEN (Península convertida en horno)
IMPLACABLE HEAT (Calor Implacable).............so it's not just me!

The thermometer under a tree on the wall outside in the patio, which has been shaded all day, reached 107°F today.

I have already consumed two liters of water, one Coke, a quarter of a watermelon, and a half gallon of Gatorade. I spent two hours in the pool, and sweat my way through two projects. The good news: so far today no narcolepsy.

William Lawson said...

And it will only get worse if people persist in cutting down every last damn tree to pave it over. Gee, why is it so hot, they then ask. Enjoyed the post!