Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Familiar Coldness

In the Titanic Museum, there are some interesting sensory experiences offered.  One is a wall of ice on the fake deck of the ship, presumably kept frozen by a refrigerating device behind the "iceberg". The room is refrigerated to the air temperature on the night the ship sank.  

Tanks of cold water are just beyond the railing of the ship that visitors can dunk their hands in, to know what the seawater felt like on that night.  28 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I put my hand in the water and it seemed quite bearable to me.  It even seemed strangely familiar.  It took me a few hours to realize why.  Brace yourself... The truth is brutal, though self-inflicted.

Ice baths.  That was the same temperature as the ice baths I've subjected myself to after running, to slow the inevitable swelling of my shins after I run.  

I fill the bathtub with cold water, and then dump in all of the ice in my freezer.  And then I submerge myself in the iced water to my waist and try to merely yelp from the shock, rather than scream.  Okay, honestly? I can't draw in enough air to scream at this point.  My lungs don't wanna inflate, and they are mostly above the waterline.  So it's teeth chattering, and gulping after the initial shocked yelp.

I know some people wear neoprene socks for this treatment, but my legs, feet, etc. are completely bare, so I get to watch my toes turn blue.  Fifteen to twenty minutes of that, and I am too frozen to feel any pain for a while, as I shake off the near-hypothermia over the next couple of hours.

It's a painful kind of physical therapy, but it helps a little bit.  :)

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