Aging Well in the Gorge June 30th 2021


Boy, it’s been hot!

It reminds me of my younger days living in Indiana when we didn’t have air conditioning:  fans strategically placed throughout the house; a dehumidifier in the basement; sleeping uncovered, sprawled out on the bed, driving with the windows down and my shirt glued with perspiration to the back of the seat: hopping barefoot on the hot asphalt waiting in line to enter the pool. (I wasn’t too smart at that age!); and wearing my bathing suit all day long – which I thought I’d try again, but my wife quickly nixed that idea. Do you have memories of those not-so-good, good old days without air conditioning?

But we managed, didn’t we? Fortunately, these days there is air conditioning. Unfortunately, we are more susceptible to dehydration during these hot days because the percentage of a person’s weight in water significantly decreases as we get older. Consequently, any decrease in drinking fluids can cause proportionately more dehydration which can take a tremendous toll on every aspect of bodily functions, including possible changes in memory, vision, and kidney and heart function. (Okay, I’ll be back. I’m going to get a glass of water!)

Besides drinking plenty of liquids, preferably at least six cups throughout the day, stay cool. My house has only two window air conditioners so the house can get pretty warm. These last several days I’ve been using ice packs (or bag of frozen peas works well), cold water foot baths, and cold showers – plus plenty of fans.

As you hear on the news, heatwaves are dangerous. Thousands of emergency department visits are caused by heat illnesses and two of the most serious ones are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention. Someone experiencing heat stroke may have a headache, confusion, no sweating, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and may lose consciousness.

If a heat stroke is suspected, it is vital to take the following steps: Call 911 immediately.

Move the person to a cooler place, use cold compresses to get their temperature down, and do NOT give them fluids.                                                                                                                                     

Unlike heat stroke, heat exhaustion does not require immediate medical attention. The early warning signs of heat exhaustion are nausea, light-headedness, fatigue, muscle cramping, and dizziness. It is imperative to recognize the warning signs and act on them as soon as possible to help get the temperature down and cool the person’s body. Those steps include moving the person to an air-conditioned place; having them take a cold shower or using cold compresses; drinking plenty of fluid, and removing tight or extra clothing.

You probably know all of this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded because even with air conditioning during a prolonged heat wave with the hot days and nights that don’t cool off, homes can get dangerously warm. Stay cool, stay hydrated (although I would NOT recommend six glasses of your favorite wine!) And don’t forget to take time to check on your neighbors to make sure they can handle the heat.

Next week I’ll write more about dementia and how to keep your brain sharp.

The name of the original 1965 award-winning Broadway musical Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel Don Quixote was Man of La Mancha. I received correct answers from Doug Nelson, Gene Uczen, Lana Tepfer, John McGuinn, Dave Lutgens, Diana Weston, Barbara Cadwell, and Deloris Schrader this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed a bunch: Patty Burnet, Pat Evenson-Brady, Billie Maxwell, Keith Clymer, Gene Uczen, and Lana Tepfer.

This week’s question is about fine literature: a novel written not by Hemingway or Steinbeck, but Grace Metalious which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 59 weeks. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of her novel published in 1956 that followed the lives of three women in a small New England village and became a popular expression describing a place where the residents hold seamy sordid secrets E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the 1964 primetime television adaption of the book.

Well, it’s been another week enjoying cold showers and popsicles. Until we meet again, when does something misplaced become lost?

“I’m glad it is finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is!” Unknown

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