I’m in Ontario, Oregon for work today.
(I have the best job on the planet.)
My work takes me to the far (and fascinating!) corners of Oregon from time to time. One of those corners is Ontario… This fiercely proud and hard-working town is right on the Idaho Border. Literally on the border; I can see a mile down the road, and that’s Idaho.
Driving into town last night, I got off the freeway in the wrong spot. I just wasn’t paying attention. In turning around I realized I was in the parking lot of the hotel that I first stayed in when I was over here for work ten years ago.
I am always over here in July. Ontario is… uh… warm this time of year. Yesterday was 114. Ten years ago it was 102.
Do you think it’s odd that I would remember the temperature from ten years ago? (If you know me – you know I can barely remember what I wore yesterday, let alone details from months or years ago.)
But I do remember. Here’s why…
Ten years ago I weighed at least 200 pounds more than I do today. I remember my trip here well…
It ended in an ER.
I was diagnosed with heat exhaustion /borderline heat stroke. My core temperature got to 102, I was throwing up, dizzy, having horrible leg cramps, had stopped sweating, had chills, wasn’t coherent and my nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. My blood sugar was off the charts and would remain off the charts for weeks after this episode.
The hotel manager offered to call an ambulance when they saw me stumbling in from my car through the lobby at the end of the day. I promised I would promptly drive myself to the hospital and I turned around and got back in my car. At least that’s how they told me the story unfolded the next day.
I remember being in the ER, hooked to an IV, being wrapped in sheets that were wet and cold and packed in ice from head to toe. I had spent all day out in the sun, wearing a hat, seeking shade and drinking water — I was not entirely sure why things spiraled so out of control… I thought I was being appropriately careful.
The nurses seemed to know what the problem was…
The nurses comments as they were taking care of me were along the lines of ‘this is usually what we see in the elderly, but when you are this obese; the heat isn’t going to treat you kindly…’
They remarked at the time that my core temperature matched the outside temperature. THAT’S why I remember it was 102 degrees.
And no. That health threat and those comments STILL weren’t enough to launch a lifestyle shift. It would be another six years before I got my act together.
I had honestly forgotten about the heat exhaustion episode — until I pulled in that hotel driveway last night.
I drove away from that hotel thinking about how I am in such a different spot. Such a better spot.
I spent most of yesterday evening thinking about just how different my life is from that first visit from ten years ago…
I used to HATE to sweat. Avoided it at ALL costs. I felt like sweat was tattle-tell proof of the fact that I was fat and that even a basic effort like walking across the room was work for my body. Yesterday morning before heading for the airport I grabbed a few miles on my favorite local trail. Soaking in the sunshine and views, working up a sweat and thinking about how lucky I am to be able to run.
My entire diet was fast food or ‘this is their local specialty’ or ‘I’m on vacation so calories don’t really count.’ I packed and carried all of my own food this trip so I wasn’t stuck without a healthy option. (Or an excuse…) It’s summer! Fruits and veggies are insanely good right now!
Sour Patch Kids and Doritos vs. almonds, an apple and some Hood River cherries.
I lived on diet coke and diet Dr. Pepper. By the gallon. No joke. Totally hydrated on water with lemon from my Nalgene that I tote everywhere. (Again, no excuses…)
I had to have a hotel with a fridge to keep my insulin cool. Now I’m worried about keeping my coconut water chilled. 🙂
I drove my own car over because I knew I wouldn’t fit in an airplane seat on the small commuter jet and I didn’t want to have to tell anyone that was what I was afraid of…. This time around I flew and fit perfectly in my seat, with no seat-belt extender.
Last time I weighed 390ish pounds. This time I weigh 165ish pounds.
**I still love my job — that much has NOT changed. 🙂
The comparing and contrasting could continue, but I think you get the general picture…
A decade can make a world of difference. 🙂