Pushing the SOS button on the Garmin inReach Mini in Jasper National Park
Feb 22, 2022 at 5:52 am #3741137John S.BPL Member
After reading the account again and seeing the shortness of breath was immediately followed by passing out, I am reminded of my mother who had episodes of passing out. The heart docs were finding nothing, so my nurse sister asked them to leave the holter monitor on longer than usual. The heart monitor finally did pick up third degree heart block as the cause, for which an emergency pacemaker was put in.Feb 22, 2022 at 11:20 am #3741168David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Jscott: Yeah, bear not beer.
I’d go hungry a long time before eating omnivore (pig or bear) tartar due to the risk of trichinosis. Most of it ends up as bear stew (just like beef stew and it tastes the same because spring bear walks around on four legs eating grass) and pastrami.Feb 22, 2022 at 2:54 pm #3741198Andy StowBPL Member
@andysLocale: Midwest USA
Glad you’re okay. I have a very healthy friend who has passed out multiple times, which eventually turned out to be vagus nerve issues. Her teen son recently had the same thing happen to him. It turned out to be positional for her: she would be fine walking or running outside, but pass out on the treadmill when her head was tilted down to read.Feb 22, 2022 at 3:32 pm #3741200
Thanks Andy. I do seem to be as healthy as can be. I’ve had no recurrence or anything close. The plan is to tighten up on all the factors that might have possibly been insufficient – nutrition, fitness, hydration, maybe even salt intake. It’s a strange creature, that vagus nerve, and it’s no doubt all conglomerated by the inescapable fact that despite a lifetime of hiking I am just not young anymore.Feb 22, 2022 at 4:23 pm #3741208jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Pat, was atrial fibrillation considered? Once the episode is over, the heart reverts to sinus rhythm and the episode leaves no trace. My first episode happened after three days of pretty intense nordic skiing at altitude. I had no idea what was happening. The docs concluded it was ‘idiopathic’ which means, they don’t know what caused the onset. But exercise over several days, in cold, with possible dehydration and electrolyte imbalance might suggest afib. Or not; I’m not a doctor. The vagus nerve is sometimes involved in afib. the vagus also gets blamed for a lot of idiopathic episodes.Feb 22, 2022 at 9:20 pm #3741248John JoynerBPL Member
@jjoynerLocale: California central coast
Thanks for the account and all the useful information. Since you mention that you wish you’d had “more robust rainwear,” could you tell us what rainwear you did have, and what sort of gear you have in mind as an improvement?Feb 22, 2022 at 9:27 pm #3741257Murali CBPL Member
Pat – were you wearing a Garmin or any other sports watch that does continuous heart monitoring? wonder if that could have given any clues as well.Feb 22, 2022 at 9:40 pm #3741260Glen HoshizakiBPL Member
Pat D: A strange creature indeed! And that applies to both sides of the autonomic nervous system. I’ve had a couple of instances when I was really hoofing it in a fairly short hill climb, but in hot weather. When I got to the top and stopped I became vasodilated and lightheaded and had to lie down flat for a minute to prevent fainting. The first thing I did on the ground was feel my pulse to rule out new onset atrial fibrillation. And yes, the relentless effects of aging do play a role.Feb 23, 2022 at 7:33 am #3741272
Hi John, I was wearing a lightweight goretex shell jacket (can’t recall the brand). I had been pleased to find it as it is minimally constructed, with no pockets or excess fabric and packs small while still being waterproof/breathable. This was its first serious deluge-with-snow and it did not stand up to it: water soaked up through the elastic wrists and the zipper leaked so overall it was pretty damp and did not contribute to warmth. I’ll be looking for something with sealed zippers and heavier construction, velcro wrists probably, there are several to choose from but I haven’t made up my mind yet.Feb 23, 2022 at 7:35 am #3741273
Hi Murali, no I wasn’t wearing a sport watch but I am starting to wonder if I should. It’s amazing what information they can capture.Feb 23, 2022 at 7:42 am #3741274
Thanks, that’s interesting. You say “your first episode” – it has happened again then? Can you share a little on what you do to manage and prevent these episodes? For me I am ramping up my fitness … and considering a smartwatch.Mar 2, 2022 at 12:08 am #3742077Rex SandersBPL Member
A strangely familiar story posted today:
What Happens When You Hit the SOS Button on Your GPS Device?
A solo hiker was rescued by two helicopters (in succession) after a serious episode of not-previously-diagnosed supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) finally convinced her to push that small, covered button on an inReach Mini. Good step-by-step description of the process from the backpacker’s perspective, including very mixed feelings. Concludes with excellent recommendations for all backcountry trekkers, including the new-to-me Rule of Three.
I’ll repeat my old advice :
If you get into serious trouble, call for help now.
Worry about money later.
— RexMar 2, 2022 at 8:55 am #3742089
Thanks for sharing that Rex. She writes so well about something I didn’t know how to share: the sense of shame and embarrassment at having to ask for help. I retired a few years ago from a long career with Parks Canada (not in SAR) so I knew what level of effort and resources would be triggered on Parks Canada’s part and also that former colleagues would probably hear about it. Would I be judged? And we had to bail on a much-anticipated honeymoon trip in a beautiful area that we love but we will go back there. Lots of emotions! But I think as has been said here a few times, when you have to push the button, it’s the best option there is and we are lucky to have it. I think there is also a point here to pay attention and do a little homework on the jurisdictions we will be travelling in, as rescue availability and financial coverage may well vary along a trip, especially on long routes.Mar 2, 2022 at 3:24 pm #3742115Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Always remember that SAR people prefer live rescues to body bags.
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