Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can't Beat the Heat

Ten minutes ago, there were two firetrucks and an ambulance in front of my place. Not for me, but for an elderly woman who'd collapsed across the street. She collapsed because it's too damn hot outside. There's an "Excessive Heat Warning" in effect, and according to Accuweather's "RealFeel" reading, the temperature here right now is 108 degrees. Which begs the question, Why is anyone outside at all? Stay out of the sun, fools!

Before the paramedics arrived, three people—in addition to a worker from ComEd (Chicago's electricity company) who just happened to be driving by—were assisting the woman. I think at least one member of the group had been with her when she fell. She was down on the ground and they helped her sit up and drink some water. They put what I assumed were wet washcloths on her neck, and eventually a bag of ice (the ComEd guy ran down to the diner on the corner to get that stuff, I think). Later a security guard from a nearby building came out to see what was going on. You could tell this lady was totally out of it—she kept looking around in a daze and then trying to stand up. (And yes, I certainly would have gone out there if there hadn't already been a ton of people on the scene. But they had it under control. If there's one thing I'll say about my neighborhood, it's that there's always someone on the street, at all hours night and day, and almost everyone is friendly and helpful.)

The whole debacle was scary to watch... but what was even scarier was seeing ambulances pass by on their way to help other folks who must have called in earlier for help elsewhere. But soon enough the woman in question had more medical services at her disposal than any one person would ever need, and was promptly whisked away. She looked coherent and was able to stand on her own before they left, so I'm sure she'll be OK. But still, why was she walking around in the blazing sun in the first place?

Even my dog is like, "No, thank you." Normally he loves his midday walk and tries to stretch it out as long as possible by waiting to take care of business until we're as far away from my condo as he knows I'll take him. But not this week. This week he did his thing as soon as we hit a patch of dirt-grass. He is smart enough to know that this weather is no joke. He's even trying to seek out the coolest place possible in our air-conditioned condo, despite the fact that it means going against the rules he's been obeying since 2003. See, normally he is not allowed in our lower level because it has white carpeting... and black dogs who shed a lot don't mix well with white carpeting. He's never had an issue staying upstairs on the hardwood floors...

...But this past week he's been sneaking downstairs to chill on the cold-to-the-touch tiles in our bathroom. Yesterday alone I found him down there ten separate times. It's funny how he just instinctively knows where to go (and it is admittedly SIGNIFICANTLY cooler down there). So for the time being I've decided to just let him stay down there when he wants. And I'm staying where I want, too, which is inside. If you're also in one of the heat-stricken areas of the world, I suggest you do the same, lest you find yourself in the hospital bed next to the woman who went down on my block!

- e

1 comment:

maikib said...

yowza-- that is hot! i don't even remember what heat feels like anymore since i live in the land of constant cold. it hasn't broken 60 in weeks here... it's crazy that the temps are nearly DOUBLE there!