Costa Rica is one of mine and Jess' favorite vacation spots and we've been there many times. This time we decided to have our friends Lauren and Dave join us for two weeks. Dave is an ER doc and Lauren is an ER nurse - guess how they met? Anyway, we've always talked about Costa Rica and they always wanted to go and this time the stars aligned and everything worked out.
We arrived on Saturday - we flew into Liberia because flights were cheaper, but that meant we had a long drive to where we were staying on the Central Pacific coast. We all made it through customs no problem and no one fainted - which was a plus. It took us about 7 hours with stops for lunch and getting lost to get to our hotel. We made it no problem - had a couple of drinks and went to bed.
The next morning we walked to the closest beach. It was a 20 minute walk down a narrow hilly road with no real sidewalks past several little boutique hotels followed by a short but steep hike down to a little beach. The beach was great - it wasn't crowded and the water was great. We swam, hung out, drank water from fresh coconuts, and generally had a blast.
A little before noon we decided to head out and get lunch at one of the little hotels we had passed on our way to the beach. Our plan was to get out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, have lunch, and hang out in the shade by the pool at our hotel for awhile. We hiked back up to the road and were walking back trying to decide which hotel to stop at. Jess and Dave were about 100 or so feet ahead of me and Lauren. It was hot and humid 85/85 type weather and the sun was hot. Lauren was dragging a little which is unlike her. She's in fantastic shape - does all the normal outdoor stuff with us plus she plays rugby and is a yoga instructor. The heat was getting to her though. I could tell - she was flushed. Lauren is a mix off all kinds of European on her dad's side and her mom is 100% Thai which means Lauren is gorgeous. Besides being uber fit she has a great olive complexion with blue eyes and thick black hair to her shoulders. Coming from the beach Lauren was wearing her cover-up over her bathing suit with sandals and her hair was pulled back with a white elastic headband.
I asked if she was ok - and she said that she was but that the heat was bothering her a bit. We had stopped towards the side of the street and I suggested that she take a drink ( she had a hydration bladder in her backpack) and we paused while she drank. I took the opportunity to do the same from my water bottle. I asked if she was ok and she said yeah that the water helped. We started walking again and now Dave and Jess were further ahead of us but they had stopped and were waiting. As we were walking I noticed Lauren had stopped talking and would just answer with a nod or a quick yes or no. I was concerned but not too worried until she grabbed my arm. I asked if she was ok and she said that she didn't feel well and that she was dizzy. I said ok lets get over to the side of the road and sit down. She managed to do that and was standing with her hands on her knees when she said "Cam I can't see."
I walked over to her and she put her arms around me and I was able to get mine around her waist and the she just went limp. I looked at her and her eyes were rolled back and her mouth was open and then her head just flopped back - she was out. I was holding her up but she was limp and out cold - her arms and legs were just hanging there. Dave and Jess realized something was wrong and came running. Dave asked if she passed out and I said yeah she's out. Dave managed to slide her backpack off and hand it Jess while I was holding her up. Luckily Lauren had passed out right in front of a hotel - I was holding her up and Dave after giving her backpack to Jess managed to take her from me and carry her onto the hotel property. The security guards noticed that something was wrong and came out and told us to follow them. Dave actually carried Lauren limp and out cold into the restaurant - it was outside and shaded and mostly empty. Dave laid her unconscious on the floor and I picked up her feet and held them up. The waiters brought wet towels and pitchers of ice. Jess put the towels of Lauren's forehead and the back of her neck while Dave made sure she was still breathing and all the serious stuff. In a few seconds Lauren's eyes fluttered open and she was on her way back. We were worried that she had heat stroke but after a few minutes it became apparent that she was ok and had just fainted.
The waiters brought Lauren some water and orange juice and after drinking a little of each and arguing that she was ok we were able to get her up and sitting in a chair. We knew she was ok when she started getting pissy with Dave telling him to leave her alone that she was ok and that she had just passed out and wasn't having a heart attack or anything so just calm down. The waiters were super friendly and we ended up eating lunch there. We told them that it was our first day there and they were like "ah first day" they said they see this kind of thing all the time. After lunch they actually took us back to our hotel on a golf cart so we didn't have to walk. Which was awesome.
Back at our hotel - which was small only 8 rooms - we had the pool to ourselves. Jess, Lauren and I hung out in the pool and Dave went to get drinks. We were just hanging out talking about Lauren's passout when Dave came back with the drinks. I got out of the pool and was talking to Dave - Jess and Lauren stayed in for a few more minutes. Lauren swam over to the steps and laid in the shallow water for a minute - before she got out she dunked under and put her hair back. (You all know how I love wet hair slicked back ) She said that she was going to go lay in the hammock and have her drink. She walked over to the hammock and put her drink on the little side table and sat in the hammock facing us with her feet hanging over the side. Jess swam over in the pool towards Lauren and was making some kind of joke about not passing out again.
Lauren laughed and went to lean back in the hammock. She must have been sitting too far back in the hammock because when she leaned back the hammock spun and flipped her backwards. Instinctively she grabbed hold of the hammock when it started to flip but it didn't matter. The hammock flipped and she fell back and the back of her head thudded square into the tile pool patio and she was out - instantly knocked cold. She ended up on her back her arms over her head one leg still in the hammock the other bent back at the knee and she was completely knocked cold.
The fall had rendered Lauren unconscious on impact and she was totally out - lying on her back hair slicked back perfectly totally asleep. We managed to untangle her from the hammock while she was still unconscious - it took a bit as we were careful not to move her too much as we were worried about a neck injury. She was unconscious for a couple of minutes before she started to come to. Regaining consciousness was a process too - at first her head lolled from side to side and her eyes fluttered open briefly before rolling back as she slipped back into unconsciousness. It was a good 5 to seven minutes before she was fully conscious again. And when she came to she was confused - she didn't know where she was or what had happened.
Luckily we were just about 15 minutes from a hospital that had a CT scan machine. She was still disoriented and confused when they were assessing her. Dave and I were helping her get changed into a hospital gown when she passed out again. The dr's and nurses were able to get her onto the hospital bed - they lowered her head and raised her feet and about 30 seconds later she was back. This time though she was no longer confused - she remembered flipping on the hammock and then "everything went black". She didn't remember coming to at all or the ride to the hospital, arriving at the hospital or passing out again. But after we explained how she had gotten to the hospital - she was able to piece everything back together. She remembered where she was - that we were on vacation in Costa Rica, that she had passed out earlier in the day and that we were hanging out by the pool and the last thing she remembered was sitting on the hammock and Jess making a joke about fainting. They took her for a CT scan and kept her overnight for observation - Dave stayed with her. She had a splitting head ache for the next few days and we really just took it easy and the headache got better everyday and then was gone.
Luckily Lauren was ok - hitting her head like that could have been very serious - especially with the confusion she was experiencing - we were all concerned. Everything, in the end turned out ok - we had two weeks in Costa Rica and once Lauren started feeling better her and Dave decided to stay ( they had been thinking about going home ). For the most part,in the end, Lauren was able to enjoy her vacation and do the things she wanted to which was great.