When I recently took my trip to Scotland, I was telling my friends Rory and Mairi a story about something I had done several years previously. I thought it was just a rather interesting and unusual anecdote, but then Mairi said “What you just described is hypothermia and it’s a miracle that you survived that without medical attention.” Which is interesting.

The story I told was about the time I, on a school trip, was in a kayak with my friend Christian Watkins. It was February and quite chilly. Unfortunately for me, we kept crashing and I kept falling into the cold water. The third time I fell in, I decide that there was no point getting back out of the water, since I would probably fall back in and get wet again anyway, so I stayed in. I walked along through the river, rather than riding a boat along it. This was quite early on and I spent most of the time wandering through the river; it was cold, but I got used to it quite quickly. I think, overall, I was probably in it for about six hours.

When we got to the end of the river, I climbed out. Despite the fact that it was a cold February evening, I found that the cold air was burning my skin, which must have been even colder. This felt very strange, but wasn’t enormously unpleasant. I remember I was shivering a lot when I got out and for the rest of the week too. At the time I was thinking it was strange that I could be in a hot shower, or wrapped up in bed, and still be shivering with the cold. It lasted for about a week on the whole and, so I’m told, that is exactly what hypothermia is. It’s kind of weird that nobody seemed to realise I was suffering from something quite serious. Never mind!

(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)

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