By: Glen M. Sutphin A.P.P.
Press Correspondent # 59465SUT
It was 25 years ago today that I had a massive heatstroke that helped to disable me. I’ll see if I can go through what happened. Walk you through the events.
Thursday, July 27, 1989
It was a hot hot day 25 years ago. We were working on a stretch of Dorsey road. Doing a job again for the 6th time because they wouldn’t except that we had already done the work. Their computer program was a mess. They wouldn’t except that as the problem, it was all us that messed up, not their computer software that they were writing at the time.
Let me back up and put this in perspective. I was a rod-chain man / instrument man at the surveyor firm of BDE&T Bengtson, Debell, Elkin & Titus. We had this topography job of doing cross sections of the road for a mile or more stretch of the road. Both sides from the center of the road out, I forgot how far on each side but it was massive. It was also hot. This road was two to three lanes in each direction and no shade. After having been out there day after day in the hot sun I was getting tired of it.
This day was brutal. I remember complaining way more then normal and basically being made to go back out there again. Things were going okay up till around lunch break. We stopped working and went into one of the restaurants that were there at the little strip mall. I believe it was a Roy Rodgers fast food place. The windows had frost on them, and heavy condensation. We walked into the restaurant and went to the rest room area.
After relieving ourselves. I started to get very dizzy and lightheaded. Kent the party chief asked if I was okay and I remember turning to say something to him and then the world is pieced together like humpty dumpty. I turned to say something to him and blacked out. I fell backwards and hit my head on the sink in the restroom with such force that it throw me forward. He caught me and I was staggering around. Now the rest of this story I pieced together from what I was told happened and by the people there. So it’s as close as true as I can make it I wasn’t there for most of it.
We walked, staggered out of the restaurant and made our way to the work truck. Kent propped me up against the side of the suburban and went to tell the instrument man to pack up we were going back to the office. While he was doing that I must have climbed into the window and laid down on the seats in the back. It took them a minute to find me and get the stuff thrown into the truck.
We hurried to the office which was a few miles away. I was no where on this planet for this. When we got there Kent ran in to get his father to see what they should do. They both came out and tried to see if they could get me up or what was going on. They said I was cold and pale and ghostly and I had no pulse and I wasn’t even breathing. So Kent drove like a manic to the hospital which was a ways away.
During this time I was in my own little world. I felt my body give way and I was floating watching my body and what was going on then my attention was drawn else where. I did leave and go somewhere but the memory of what happened has been erased from my memory. It bothers me to this day that I can’t remember what happened or what was said because some of this plays out later in my life eight months after this incident.
Anyways here we are back in reality driving like a manic to get to the hospital. Now somewhere during all the bumping and banging around in the seat it must have started my heart and my breathing because when we got to the hospital I was barely breathing and was not in too good of shape. They got me on a gurney and got me into the hospital and got fluids into me. I was unconscious for over 4 ½ hours. I was told that it was entirely too long to be out from a heatstroke and that there was probably some brain damage from it.
My vision was blurry and I have had a constant loud, roaring, ringing in my ears. I have had a headache ever since that day and not a day goes by that I am not in some way reminded of that day. I started having dizzying blackout spells a few days after this incident and they were getting worse till the incident 8 months later in which a drunk driver hit the vehicle I was traveling in.
Ever since that heatstroke I haven’t been able to be in the heat or do things that“NORMAL” people can enjoy. I will pay if I over do it or get over heated. This condition has lead to me losing my permission to drive, I can’t do what “NORMAL” people do. I have these damn seizures that make my life a living hell. I did finally after a good chunk of my life give up drinking and smoking so I don’t have those to worry about.
I had a long talk with a friend who asked me if these events are still relevant in my life? I would say when each and every day you have to live and adapt to whether you’ll even be conscious from one minute to the next I’d say yes they are relevant. Every scar I carry I have earned. I continue in spite of the fact that it would be so easy to just stop and quit.
If only to show others that yes you just keep going and don’t stop. To give all I have to stay free and to awake people that’s a goal of mine. To show what I would do when injustice happens. To get the news out and the word out that HEY this is what’s really going on.
Today I look back over 25 years of a condition and wonder, is it worth the fight? Is it worth every day hurting and knowing that I will never be what I could have been? But then again I look at what I am and ask it it worth it? Is it worth all the crap I put up with to get the word out? Is it worth me even fighting? I have been through a lot. I am that type of person you drop knee deep in hell and pray they don’t come back.
But on a positive note which I will end this with, there hasn’t been a bad day yet I haven’t gotten through. I’m 100% on that so that’s a good thing to remember. Smile and as always Stay Tuned. I have a computer to rebuild and put a new hard drive in.. and two operating systems on … soo if I’m not online for a bit you know why..