How I pulled myself back from the brink of heatstroke

Heatstroke is real, folks.

Example: Bonnaroo. During one concert, at least 5 people around me collapsed from heatstroke in addition to other substances.


But while raging with 80,000 other people under the hot sun, that’s understandable.

What isn’t understandable is being on the brink of heatstroke the minute you arrive.

There we were, after hitching a ride from this guy, sitting in our delegated square for the tent that was yet to arrive, and I was having a hard time doing… well, anything.

I literally sat there. My head felt like I was seeing things at a slower rate, I had no energy to do anything, I was extremely tired, a headache was developing, and I was feeling nauseous. As a joke, I texted a friend back home to see if my strange symptoms lined up with heatstroke.

Her: Well…… you have most of the symptoms…. are you sweating, by any chance?

Right as I read that text, my friend’s friend leaned over to me and said, “Wow, you don’t even look like you’re sweating. How is that possible? I’m basically dripping

And then shit got real. Real fast.

I felt myself up. All over. Molested myself in what used to be the sweatier places. You know, back when I was a normal human and actually sweat.

Nothing. In fact, my skin was strangely cool.


There I was, sitting under the 95 degree sun with no shade in sight. I was rapidly dehydrating. I didn’t even set up the tent! All I did was sit there and speed towards heatstroke.

Weakly, I grabbed the gallon of water that I thankfully purchased at Wal-Mart right before arriving. Within the hour, I had downed almost all of it.

My friend’s friend probably thought I was the weirdest chick ever. No talking. No attempts at anything.


How I felt. And probably looked. That’s right, all three.

At one point, she asked me if I wanted to socialize with anyone and all I could manage to say was a harsh “No.” Talk about freakin’ strange. If I had been her, I would’ve been worried about being stuck there with a serial killer psychopath.

The only thing I did for the first three hours was drink water out of that gallon (after finishing my gallon, I moved onto her gallon with no explanation), and open my umbrella so that I could shade myself.

Even though I had basically drank a gallon of water within 30 minutes, I still wasn’t sweating. And I wasn’t even peeing. I was just… there. Trying not to faint. Watching as everyone around me starting the befriending process.

So many things went through my head.

Holy shit, this is the prime friend-making moment.

We’re going to be outcasts because I’m dropping the ball here.

How am I heatstroking? 

This can’t happen. They don’t even have the medical staff in place yet. THERE IS NO ONE HERE TO HELP ME. 

Don’t faint. Don’t faint. You’re not this weak. 

Get this water IN MY BELLY. 

After about two hours, I suddenly felt dampness. Everywhere. 

Thank GOD. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be a dripping mess.

After this experience, I was paranoid the entire week while I was there. I went to the bathroom probably twice an hour. It made staking out prime concert spots a problem. Note to self: next year, bring adult diapers.

When I arrived at home, I checked out WebMD. It said: “Home treatment isn’t sufficient treatment for heatstroke.” One way to help was to rehydrate through sports drinks and water.

Well, WebMD, this body’s got you beat. Not only did I rehydrate myself within 3 hours back to functional states, but I didn’t even need a medic for it.

Of course, I may have significant decreased my brain activity… but so far so

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  • Karisa Tells All

    omg that sounds so scary! Glad you’re okay. Did you end up making friends, or were you “that weird heatstroke girl” the whole time? Next year you can be “that weird adult diapers girl.”

    • Michelle

      HAHAHA, Karisa, you crack me up. Yeah I did actually! Apparently people are really forgiving of creepy, dying girls.

  • Stephanie

    That’s terrifying! I’m glad you were ok though!

    • Michelle

      Haha, thanks! Yeah it was definitely scary while it happened… but now I just laugh it off

  • Matt the Brisbane Photographer

    Ha! Those dogs look like they were loving Bonnaroo!

    • Michelle

      Haha, Bonnaroo is fun for everyone :)

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