I have mixed emotions when I see a story about a celebrity getting an ambulance, especially when the ambulance might not have been necessary.
Lindsay Lohan made news again for accessing medical care. This time the producers of her new movie called in the paramedics because Lohan "didn't come out of her room." She tweeted a "note to self" later that day about working 85 hours in 4 days (85 out of 96 is a serious work week) and passing out. She did not go to the hospital.
Her producers say she was suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. I always get a little skeptical when I hear dehydration or exhaustion being blamed for a lack of responsiveness. Both conditions surely seem to afflict celebrities more often than has been my experience with the commoners. Indeed, there seems to be a connection between sensitivity to dehydration or exhaustion and a history of spending time in rehab.
This is merely my keen powers of observation at work. I have no scientific evidence to support my theory.
Dehydration seems to get blamed more often than any other condition for those transient moments of inexplicable incapacitation. I suspect that's because everyone understands the basic concept of dehydration -- not enough fluid in the body. It's easy to fix and therefore unprovable later.
I've been following and blogging about Chris Scambler, a fellow on Deadliest Catch who was airlifted off the fishing vessel Wizard in the Bering Sea. This guy had what appeared to be a severe case of hyperventilation syndrome (essentially a panic attack) but the crew suspected dehydration. They went so far as to pour some fluids down this guy's throat even though he apparently couldn't consciously drink (not a good idea).
Scambler was on the show's follow up sister production tonight, After the Catch, where the producers milk the success of Deadliest Catch by talking about what happened during the season with the boat captains and host Mike Rowe. Alas, I make fun of it even as I watch it faithfully. I do love the show -- both of them, actually.
Rowe asked Scambler about his condition on the boat that day and Scambler said he was in "total body shutdown." I've been a paramedic for more than 20 years and I've never once wrote that down as a clinical impression. I think Scambler had a very severe and real reaction to his panic from being trapped on a little boat in a big ocean. Watch the episode; he complains about it often and even approaches his captain, begging to quit.
Throughout the episode and again on After the Catch, Scambler's captain, Keith Colburn, blames shock for Scambler's signs and symptoms that day on the Bering Sea. Dehydration could lead to shock, but I highly doubt Scambler had either condition.
Dehydration and exhaustion: most of the fisherman on Deadliest Catch are fully acquainted with both (especially exhaustion). They're also no strangers to infection, pain, fractures, stitches and general peril.
Lindsay, I bet you can push through a little exhaustion. If not, call a fisherman. He'll teach you how.
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