How to Avoid Freezing at Summer’s End

Thanks to the Bluetits for information on keeping warm and safe in the sea. 

Them: “You need to see a doctor.”

Me: Muttering very sweary stuff about the state of the health service and how if it’s even possible to get an appointment I would just be sent to A&E, angrily recounting what doctors were like in the ‘old days’ and reliving encounters with rude consultants and bad-tempered locums in current times.

More to shut me up than anything else, I suspect, someone suggests a covid test. Regardless of symptoms being more likely linked to hypothermia, someone goes on a hunt.

One local pharmacy refuses to supply, another provides a pack with a gazillion tests. One by one we attempt to make sense of the instructions amid cries of, “How would you cope with this if you were ill… old… alone, had learning difficulties?” Finally a retired nurse friend takes charge and a sterile environment is created for the procedure amid much hilarity.

By now I am at home  in a bobble hat, socks and thick dressing gown wrapped in an electric blanket on high, trying to raise my temperature from whatever too low is.

The test is negative, but a reminder of what an unpleasant process it all is … shoving a swab up your nose is just horrible as far as I am concerned… for others it’s the throat thing of course… humans all being impossibly different.

Over the next few days I learn more about hypothermia and the fact that I have been in the sea at least once a day for often 40 minutes  to an hour at a time recently – it looks like a likely source of my feeling so rough. I always turned up to swims just in a swimsuit and left without wrapping up.

A week since my last swim and I am still suffering, My liver and kidneys hurt, I am very dizzy, have a foggy painful head, my hands and feet keep going to sleep and feel tingly and numb,.. I cannot get warm but am clammy and sweaty and I am completely exhausted. I am forced to languish at home as others enjoy the last bit of the late summer sea. I can honestly say I feel very unwell indeed.

I used to be able to stay in the water for hours, and swam all the year around, but maybe at 67 and on blood thinners I am going to have to admit I have to take more care.

Thank goodness for acupuncture and the very wise words of Alice who also teaches surfing, so she should know. I am ordering a handmade wetsuit; thanks to all friends and visitors and especially to Gwen for trying to get the tape measure around my corpulent frame for said wetsuit and Julie for designing a dry robe.

I really don’t think I can get back in just now… still feeling rough… but two weeks on I am improving. I love the sea  and can’t wait to get back in but I shall be  a bit more careful from now on.

Stay safe. swimmers.

                                                                  Thanks to the Bluetits for keeping safe advice

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Kitty Parsons

Kitty knows that she will always be an incomer, but this is to be her sixth summers. The wet and grey days of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire, but she is always grateful for the golden light of spring and summer. Her love of the sea sustains her even through the darkest of days and she can often be found at high tide bobbing about in Fishguard harbour at high tide, often with seals in attendance. When not freezing in water she is usually at her computer. She says" Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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