On Thursday night I found myself at a company function which took place at Ravinia. I spent three hours reclining on grass, listening to live music and breathing in the warm, humid summer air. I didn't get bitten by bugs, thanks to a co-worker's 98% DEET insect repellant. I was wearing long pants, but smeared it liberally on my arms.
On Friday I found myself at another work function: the annual staff picnic. It was not a good idea to do these two things within a 24-hour period. My arms were red and itchy, a reaction to the DEET, I think. I switched to all-natural bug spray and spent another three hours outside in bright sunlight, carefully wearing long sleeves and a broad hat to keep the sunlight off my skin. That's because I get rashes from direct sunlight. Unfortunately, even though I tried to stay in shade as much as possible, my legs were vulnerable. It was so hot and humid, I tried to get away with wearing shorts. This was a bad idea.
I left the picnic early, but the damage was done. After an evening of restricting fluids because bathrooms were a bit of a chore to get to, I should not have spent the hottest hours of the very next day outside, again restricting fluids because bathrooms were a bit of chore to get to. By the time I dragged myself out of the park, I had heat exhaustion, but as has happened before, I didn't realize it.
Unfortunately, I didn't go home to lie down and rehydrate because I didn't realize I was in any trouble. Instead I went downtown to buy a money belt for my trip that starts next Saturday. After falling asleep on the train, I realized I'd pushed myself too far. Instead of going straight to the luggage shop on the corner of Michigan and Lake, I went to Macy's where I was mercifully able to get a couple of glasses of water, free. But it wasn't until I got back home an hour after that, that I was really able to drink and rest like I needed to.
That's when I noticed the sun rash that was now spreading across my legs and chest. Too much sun. Too much outdoors in a 24-hour period. By the time I went to bed on Friday night, my right leg had a broad, bright red patch of skin behind the knee, swollen and itchy. I put ice on it.
Today I'm suffering from pink patches on my arms, legs and chest that are swollen and itchy, in addition to that bright red place. My husband asked if I wanted to go to a street festival with him this afternoon. In the bright, hot sunlight. I said, No. No more outdoors for me.
Summer is excused from the table. As far as I'm concerned, summer can go away for a long, long time now. Fortunately, in Chicago it does. That's why I live here: for those nice, long, protracted, endless winters. (I often wonder about the sanity of people who live in Chicago, but don't like winter).