Monday, February 6, 2012

Never take your eyes of the mountain top..

One of the main messages that stayed in my head from Ram Barkai was the thought that "My swim is alive until I recover my body temperature." The more you think about it the more you can see the truth in it. You can actually go into yourself and shut down. If the body goes into this place, and you don't gain control of the temperature drop-this is where Shock can take control. It makes total sense, involved in any recovery-left to it's own devices the body does not always make the best decisions..

I'm not much for dramatics. It was a mile in water 6 degrees, we would be cold and we knew the risks, Anne Marie and I had been in stress situations before. I feel we managed the risks well and now we needed to work our asses off to ensure that the crew do not have a casualty on their hands, that everyone just goes about our day with our soup and sandwiches.
Once out of the water, I was elated-What is hilarious, is the boys all turned in the opposite direction to allow me privacy to change.. I didn't want privacy, I wanted hands to pull my swim togs off.. my fingers were cold and locking and I was not very agile. I put my feet on another towel and wrapped another towel about my head. The wind was truly lifting and the sense of urgency of getting the boats out of the shallow water was showing.
The first few minutes still on the adreanline of the swim, I was able to move quickly but I was quite content to throw my feet up to have my socks put on.

Ram returning with Mulroy Coast Guard
Once dressed David needed to get the ribs out of the location so we headed for the pier. I reminded myself the need to release my shoulders and loosen my muscles. I took some really long exhalations so as to not breathe shallow.
There is such a tenancy in cold temps to pull our muscles tight, people who walk in cold weather, hips are tight and legs are hardly fluid, with faces tucked tight and eyes shut. The reheating for us is no different. It requires a lot of focus, we shut everything out and focus on our insides. Once back in control it is just about time.

A definite state of stress-despite feeling fine..
 The cheers when we approached the pier. Standing with our Tricolour for the photo, my ear was pulled like a child in olden days. 
Dr Stewart had a thermometer lodged and at 32deg temperature I was hauled towards the jeep. Anne Marie was 33deg and Ram was 34deg. I protested that my right ear always reads a little higher than my left.(it really does)
I also mentioned that I had forgotten to put on my thermal long johns in an effort not to disappoint!!
In the jeep we were bundled into a sauna like atmosphere and wrapped in sleeping bags for the journey back to the clubhouse. I was so happy.
Lowering down the window enough for Dr Stewart to retake the temperature my ear read an increase to 34deg.
Was this too fast? in 15mins, Dr Stewart wrapped us in foil blankets.  2 doctors and 2 medical students were loving the excitement of having hypothermic causalities who were not in an emergency situation. it was a luxury having volunteers.. Explaining that at 30deg we would be looking at hospitalisation-also explaining the difficulty of time once the body reduces to a certain level.

The thermometers and KY jelly was handed over and the good girls that we are, we took a walk to the bathroom. Ram was not playing ball!!
We had asked for full medical assistance and that included doing exactly what it said on the tin!
What he required he got.
Our core temps read a good 34.3deg for me and Anne Marie was 35deg. I was happy that was a good recovery. On the pier our heart rates were 72 bpm. Any other sport post a mile swim, the HR would be higher. This was relatively low with BP's on the higher end level.
My pulse ox was still 99% no change there- My blood sugars were 7.4 and Anne Marie's at 6.8-despite feeling that our blood sugars were low, and feeling like we needed sugar, our BS was normal even after swimming for over 30 mins @ 6 deg.

Foiled up and Dr Stewart not allowing us move!!

After 20 mins and some more tests, our core temps had improved, mine to 34.9deg and Anne Marie to 35.9deg.
I noticed that my 3rd layer of t-shirt out was saturated-my 2 inner layers were thermal and the outer layer underneath my immersion suit was freezing and saturated.
I peeled the t-shirt off and it was as cold as it was taken from the freezer. Strange how we felt so good-but our faces definitely look shook!!
Dr Stewart was adamant that I was euphoric afterwards-slightly too high when I got out of the water-I was "wahooing" I was genuinely soo happy that we were all alive and all were safe..
Anne Marie was free to shower, I was asked to wait until my body passed the 35deg. The cold blood from the peripherals can be forced back to the heart and this can cause a negative reaction when the body is under stress. we were doing great so why rock the boat?

Ram and Anne Marie ready to go I was protesting to Dr Stewart that my natural body temperature hovers about the 35.9deg -36.5deg-
I would rarely meet the 37deg.
Finally I was allowed take a shower and off to the pub for some soup and sandwiches. I must admit that I felt invigorated. Despite all the euphoria the photos do not lie in the reality that our bodies were certainly under pressure.
Taking control of the body is as important after the swim as it is during the swim.
I really look forward to getting the lower temps and in a way I was delighted to experience the 6deg before we take the step down to the 4deg.
Despite being a short mile-it had it's challenges, pressures by the nature of the volume of crews involved.
Great swim, great company, great personal experience.
Thanks to all who help make it happen..

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