Be Careful Guys!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by protouchlawn, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. protouchlawn

    protouchlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    Let me preface this with a little history. I am 37 years old and have been blessed with great health my entire life. Other than a few broken bones and cuts from being involved in the horse industry my entire life, I have never had any major health problems.
    Wednesday is usually the light day on the route for us. The heat index was only about 90, and we have had a whole lot worse already this year. We were just about finished at the next to last account of the day. I was blowing off the drive and my helper Samuel was loading up the trailer.
    All the sudden, I got a sharp pain in the back of my head and my chest started to tighten up. I kept on for about another minute until I could not keep on. I yanked the blower off and asked Samuel to finish for me because I neede to sit down a minute. I got to the truck and cranked the ac up to full blast and just sat there. My vision started to blur a little and the other stuff did not let up any. Samuel finished up and walked to the window to see what was wrong. I told him I did not know but something was sure wrong.This account is about 10 minutes from home, so I asked Samuel if he could drop me off and do the last one by himself. He said sure, so he got me home asap and went to the last account.
    I went in and called my wife down at the barn and asked her to come to the house right away. She did and I told her what was happening.I have not been to a doctor(other than injury) in 20 years, but needless to say, in 15 minutes I was in the emergency room.
    15 more minutes and I had an IV with fluids and anEKG hooked to me. Blood pressure very elevated but EKG showing normal. They began to put Nitro tablets under my tongue and after 3 tablets my chest loosened up. After another 30 minutes they said I was stable but would not be going home that night. They got me a room and up I went. About 8 o'clock a cardiologist came up to talk to me. He said" I don't know what the Hell happened to you but something did. Your EKG and chest x-ray checked out fine, but your bloodwork showed high enzyme levels which indicates some type of muscle damage, probably your heart. I don't feel you are in danger, but we are going to test you twice more through the night to make sure. I think at the very least you were dangerously close to heatstroke".
    So I spent a hellish night in there, never slept a wink.They ran tests and bloodwork twice more and the doctor came back at 8 a.m. He said"Everything is checking out o.k. this morning so I am going to cut you loose. I want you to take it easy until Monday. I have set up an appt. in my office for next Thursday afternoon for further tests to make sure you are o.k. If you feel o.k. by the weekend, you can drive your mower, but no work on foot WHATSOEVER until we do the other tests. I have a prescription for you for Nitro tabs. If this happens again, put one under your tongue and call 911 and get here ASAP!!!
    I'm sorry for the long post but the point is I NEVER FELT IT COMING. It happened INSTANTLY with ABSOLUTELY NO WARNING on an average day with me in top mid-season shape.
    So boys, please be careful. Drink plenty of fluids and don't overdo it. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone, and I promise you, it ain't fun.

    Thanks for reading this long post,
  2. BobR

    BobR LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 714

    Scooter - Don't thank us for reading your post -- I / WE need the constant reminder of what can happen when mother nature cranks up the thermostat to Summer levels. My wife is constantly on my case about over exertion and the possibility of 'heat stroke' but it really hits home when one of our own experience it first hand.
    Take Care.

  3. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Wow, glad you're OK.
  4. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 829

    Thats scary. Good to see that you are alright. I've come close to heat stroke. I've got to keep reminding myself to take it easy when it gets real hot.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,698

    I'm glad you're fine.

    At 46 years old I do take it easy in the heat. I purposely move slower. I drink lots of room temperature water all day long. So much so that I over urinate. Between jobs I run the AC in the truck with the windows rolled down. I run with the windows down because I don't like the shock of going from an ice cold truck to 90+ degree temps with humidity but the cold air from the AC does cool me down. I also use SPF 50 sun block. I have found that the sun block will lower my skin temps a good bit when working in direct sun. Probably in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 degrees.
  6. LawnMower

    LawnMower LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Great post. I'm the same age as you. I always take my age for granted. I always feel like I still have age on my side when it comes to the situation that happened to you.

    This was a wake up call to me.
  7. GeeVee

    GeeVee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 421

    Scooter, Glad you are okay......

    Sounds like heat stroke to me. I have a degree in Emergency Medicine, seen it, experienced it.

    Ask your Doc if there is a chance you had elevated CO2 levels in your blood as well. Carbon Monoxide poisoning for us means we have been sucking down too much two stroke exhaust. Could be mowers or Diesel Bobcats too, still CO2.

    CO2 absorbes into your bloodstream 200 times more readily than O2.

    For each red blood cell going through your lungs to pick up O2, there may be 5 places to pick up a molecule. Once the CO2 sticks to it, it hangs there, doesn't exchange on every pass to the tissue. Normally, you may have one CO2 and four O2's, when everything starts happening, and you reach a threshold of CO2 holding down gas exchange- you spiral downward real fast.

    CO2 is real sticky- it will take hours to get rid of them and return to normal levels. When you are working many long days in a row you are susceptable.

    I simplified the description, but I'm sure the Doc will coroborate.

    I suffered with it two different times. Once so bad I couldn't keep my eyes open to drive home.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery.
  8. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    G'Day Scooter,

    Glad you are better.

    What was the exact cause of this problem?

    In Australia as you may know we get it hot,very hot, but your symptoms didn't sound like heat stroke as I know it, I am heat sensitive and have to be careful and in our summer can get heat stroke easy, sudden sickness, nausia massive headache, unco ordinated, muscle weakness, blurry vision, incohearant etc, etc.

    fluid, cool, salts are the first things we get.

    Jumping into an air con car feels nice, but it ain't good to get out of into the heat, as Richard says, move slower, pace yourself, drink lots of room temp fluid preferably sports drinks. Eat, even if you aren't hungry. Sun block does lower your temp as Richard says. Broad brimmed hat is a must, not caps, long sleeved thin cotton shirt also helps.

    If the heat got to you bad enough to effect your heart, I'd be doing some serious thinking on how to not let that happen again, hire another employee, reduce the exursion you AND your employees are in during summer, you only live once, and your family needs you, and your employees have lives too, what happened to you can happen to them.

    90f is equivelant to our 32. degrees celcious.

    Here that is a very cool summer day, 100F is our 37, average summer day, we get over 40's easy often, that's about 110+ roughly.

    Also, try those 'cool paks' around your neck, they work.

    Raise the colar up on your shirt to protect your neck, it works!

    Don't drink ice water....

    Whatever caused directly or indirectly cause your heart to play up, get on top of it, don't try to tough it out!

    Think about you, your family, your employees. Life is too precious to be careless with.

    Take care mate!
  9. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Scooter that was a great post and it should be read by all members. I am also a paramedic and have been in the fire/EMS business for 19 years. The one thing I hear alot is that something came on so fast or something happened without warning. That may seem true but your body usually does give a warning but you just may not have recognized it.
    I am sure you have been thru all the questions about oyur health and the test that showed elevated enzymes shows muscle damage but not necessarly heart damage. I am thinking that you are gonna be put on the big belt sander (treadmill stress test) in the near future. They also may do an echocardiogram which is a bunch of ultrasound type pictures of different areas of your heart.

    Hopefully they are gonna pin it on heat stress and dehydration. I am sure they checked your electrolyte levels as just a slight variation will cause bad things to occur.
    The thing about nitro is that it is a potent vasodialator which means that it makes your veins open up. That helps the prelaod and afterload on your heart and usually relieves chest pressure. It gives you time in the case that you feel it coming on and can take the pill. A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in the heart that prevents oxygenated blood from getting to areas of the muscle (heart). Nitro will allow oxygen in but it will not reverse any damage done. Its only a temporary help in an emergent situation. Some people have a condition called angina (chest pressure) and they take nitro frequently or are on a constant dosing patch. The other effects of nitro are that because thigs open up, you will have a decrease in your blood pressure. Some people also experience a headache because it widens ALL veins thruout your body. Kinda makes the container bigger if you get the picture. Did they also put you on asprin?

    As I said, I am not a Doctor so I am not diagnosing your problem but I have seen many cardiac patients and can tell you that I have seen people from young kids to old people with heart disease. My father died from it at 50 and I am very aware of the disease. I am glad that you got medical attention and now it is your responsibility to find out what happened and what is next for you.
    One thing is clear to me and this is the way I live my life, when the BIG MAN above says its time then its time. Live every day to its fullest and never take the ones that love you for granted. Yes it comes quick but life goes by quick. Good Luck.
  10. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    geevee I know it is an honest mistake and I ain't bustin your chops but I know you meant to say CO as you stated carbon Monoxide poisoningand not CO2, carbon dioxide.
    CO2 being carbon Dioxide gives the brain the impetus to breathe and carbon Monoxide has a greater affininty for taking the spaces in the RBC's causing death because there is no o2 carring ability when enough of the system is saturated with the monoxide molecules.
    That is an interesting thought about sucking in the exhaust be it 2 or 4 cycle it is still loaded with carbon monoxide. Take care.

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