Not so much a heart-breaking story, more of a kidney-breaking story.

While I was living in Florida and active in the local S2000 club, we had a guy who had gotten a great deal on a 100% stock, but fairly high mileage 2001 model. He had bought a set of coilovers and sway bars, but wanted some help installing them. Having done plenty of suspension work to my MY2002 before I sold it, as well as several other S2000's over the years, I volunteered my assistance. It was the middle of summer, but he had a big garage and a shady driveway, so it didn’t seem like it would be too much trouble.

The car had previously been owned by someone who lived along the coast, and it’s 125,000 or so miles had been earned mostly along the Atlantic side of the state. As a result, there were a lot of bolts and fasteners stuck firmly in their place. Bolt by bolt, the install that should have taken about 2 or 3 hours, grew increasingly frustrating. We took a lunch break of pizza and beer, without really thinking of the consequences. After all, it wouldn’t be a proper hot, humid day underneath a car without pizza and beer.

As we finished our break, the typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms swept in with the quickness. It went from sunny and clear to torrential downpour and constant lightning in less than 10 minutes. We managed to get the car’s wheels back on and rolled it into the garage. The wind was blasting the rain straight into where we were working, so we shut the garage door and he set up his flood lamps so we could see clearly. Due to the poor air circulation, the halogen flood lamps, and the Florida, it quickly rose to what must have been well over 100 degrees inside the garage.

All told, we probably spent 6 hours getting everything installed, torqued to spec, and cleaned up. Once we finished up completely and I got all my tools put away, I noticed that my skin was dry and bright red. Thinking I just over-exerted myself, I went home and hopped in the shower. The sudden temperature change from the shower hit me like a ton of bricks, and I blacked out, fell, and hit my head on the floor outside the tub. My roommate somehow got me dressed in my half-conscious, half-delirious state and drove me to the emergency room.

It took 2 IV bags to get me fully alert, and another 2 bags and 90 minutes of waiting to replenish enough liquid in me that I could actually go pee so they could run more tests (plus some treatment for my head wound from hitting the floor). As it turned out, my kidney enzymes came back at the “damaging” stage. I did make a full recovery, but gave up wrenching entirely for several months.

Lesson learned, don’t live in Florida and work on cars unless you have an air conditioned garage and a good set of air tools. Seriously though, it really almost turned me away from working on cars altogether.