Honestly I do not know where “Blue Blazes” is, but if it’s as hot as I’ve been the last couple of days at work, then it is not a place I ever want to visit. As I write this, it’s June 8th and summer has arrived. It may not be the “official” first day of summer, but the summer heat and humidity is here none the less.
With summer comes the 12 hour work days and all the fun this brings with it; sleep deprivation, staying wet with sweat, and drinking gallons of water and Gatorade a day trying to stay hydrated. I had soaked through my shirt and had sweat running down my butt crack before 8 AM; this is joy unspeakable.
Before I started this job, I never spent any more time outdoors than I had too. Walking from my truck into work was too much outdoors for me. Now I spend approximately 99% of my time in the elements. It’s wonderful. And yes, if you missed it, I’m being very sarcastic right at this moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about my job, I’m very thankful for it. I have come so far from the mild, mannered shoe salesman of years past.
Things I’ve learned about working in the heat; stay hydrated by drinking lots and lots of water, adding to it an occasional Gatorade. I usually drink four to five large bottles of water to every Gatorade, water is the best for you after all. I also try and stay out of direct sunlight when I can. My job actually consists of standing on pipe and writing down, or tallying all the information on it, so I am in the sun a lot. Not to mention the added heat of the metal under my boots radiating upwards. But I make sure and get into the shade as often as possible. Also, and this is really tough for me, but I try and slow down a little bit, which helps me to not expend all of my energy before the day is over.
Working out in the sun can be done, I’m fifty-two years old and do it all day every day, the real trick to it is to listen to your body. If you start feeling rough, or in the worst case scenario you stop sweating, get to a cool area and get some water into you fast. Don’t be a hero and think you can handle it; it’s not worth getting heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke jus to complete a job faster. Believe me heat ailments will affect you for years to come.
My bride is a driven person when she works in the yard. Once she decided she would wait and get a drink after she finished, and for three hours worked in the sun. She ended up in bed for a few days, and now when she is outdoors she is more susceptible to feeling bad if she doesn’t stop every few minutes and drink something. Listen it’s not worth it to push yourself too far. If you’re going to have fun outdoors, don’t visit Blue Blazes and for heaven’s sake, stay hydrated.