Readers Write: How not to take a shower

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Editor:

At 10 minutes before midnight the doctor came into the emergency room and said, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your brain.”

After a 12-hour ordeal, eight of them in the ER, his diagnosis was in question. Let me explain what happened.

I have always loved long, hot showers for the escaping, relaxing experience, and one morning recently, with my wife at a meeting, I took one — only the water was hotter than usual, and I spent too much time soaking it up.

As I was wiping off, I noticed the background of my vision was a little gray. I quickly dried off, got dressed and went into the living room to sit down. Within a minute my vision was a little darker.

Mind you, under these conditions, the brain is not working right, so the next action was over the moon. I thought going to the bathroom might help. So I forced myself upright to make that trip, as my vision got darker. The back of our couch forms an aisle toward the back of the house, and I stepped forward with my hand on the back of the couch, as now, the vision was going blacker. I only took two steps before I completely blacked out. I was aware of was my face smashing into the carpet, then nothing.

I’m told blacking out like that only lasts a few seconds, but I didn’t move for around 15 minutes. When I opened my eyes, my vision was perfectly clear.  Although my lenses were not damaged, my glasses frame was a mess, and there were three scrapes and bruises on my face. I told my wife what happened when she arrived and we drove to the ER.

The doctor tested me with a brain scan, an MRI, two different blood tests and a test for a stroke. At the end, he explained that a shower that’s too hot causes much of the blood to leave the brain and settle in the arms and legs causing all of this, the vision loss, the fainting and the loss of rational thinking. He also said such an incident is quite common, but I felt that at age 85 I should have heard a warning. I was lucky. Don’t turn yourself into a lobster when you take a shower.

Larry Kueneman

Pine Cove

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