I spent most of my day yesterday at a water park researching a story for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. I had remembered to apply sunscreen before I left my one bedroom apartment, but I had foolishly forgotten to bring the sunscreen with me.
I had also forgotten to bring any drinking water.
I realized my foolishness all too late. By 3 p.m., I was sitting under the shade in the searing 107-degree heat.
My makeup had melted off and surely, the sunscreen I had applied just hours ago, had little or no effect against the UV rays that were now pouring down on my exposed Latina skin.
“I’ll take one Hawaiian shaved ice with blue raspberry and green apple, please,” I said to the girl behind the shaved ice counter as I handed her some cash.
She smiled and gave me my change.
I asked the girl where I could find a bathroom.
“I don’t know. This is literally my first day working here. I’m just stoked that this box I’m in has AC,” she said.
I moved on.
I quickly devoured my shaved ice before the sun could transform the ice particles into a soupy, sugary mess. I then returned to my story, exhausted, dehydrated and nauseated. My bones hurt and my skin was on fire.
I wanted to throw up.
I sucked it up, got what I came for and left before I passed out.
That heat was no joke.
By the end of that afternoon, I understood all too well that I shouldn’t try to beat a Las Vegas summer.
I was used to extreme heat but in a city where the humidity could reach 100 percent.
I had never heard of “insensible fluid loss,” something Dr. Carrison, chief of staff at UMC, told me really effects people who move from a high humidity climate to an arid climate.
Basically, I learned I needed to drink A LOT more water and that it would take me about two weeks to get adjusted to my new climate.
What I had experienced at the water park were symptoms of heat exhaustion, according to Carrison.
Just a week before, my editor had assigned me a story based on a tip we received from a concerned individual.
I went down the rabbit hole and what I found was interesting to say the least.
Since then, I had written two other stories and had completed but not published a third. This would be my fourth story in less than two weeks.
I’m not thrilled with the idea of having only completed four stories in two weeks, but I know I can amp it up.
At the Houston Chronicle, I worked weekends and it was not uncommon for breaking news reporters to smash out four stories in one day, especially on weekends.
Breaking news, crime and cop stories took up most of my time while I was in Houston.
In a city like Las Vegas, I imagine the most bizarre kind of stories get reported.
I haven’t had an opportunity to cover crime in Las Vegas yet, but soon enough I’ll have covered mostly everything.
The weather isn’t the only thing I’m getting used to in Las Vegas. The newsroom is different too. No kidding, right?
Not different in a bad way. I’m still trying to figure out story placement priorities, which is a good thing to know when you’re trying to pitch your own story.
Speaking of… I have a story idea. Let’s see how that plays out.