Blogger Hanna Lottritz hit the big 2-1 earlier this month, but she didn't celebrate by hitting the bars with friends.
She's no longer drinking to excess, thanks to an experience during summer 2015 that almost took her life.
Lottritz and her friends hit up the Night in the Country music festival in Yerington, Nevada, on July 25 to hear country acts like Joe Nichols and Jake Owen. She had two beers there, far less, she said, than friends who spent much of the day drinking. So she decided to play catch-up.
"I ended up at a campsite where I found some of my other friends. I am a competitive person by nature and this group was mostly guys who (for some reason) I promised I could outdrink," she wrote on her blog, adding that later she and a guy friend decided to see who could take the longest drink from a bottle of Black Velvet Whiskey. She drank from the bottle, then friends said she drank a Solo cup full of the same hard liquor.
"Immediately after this I told my friends I felt fine, and about five minutes later I collapsed. I wasn’t breathing," she wrote. "My friends picked me up and started carrying me to the medical tent. From there I was intubated and taken to Renown hospital in Reno, Nevada."
At the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication. "My blood alcohol concentration was .41 when I arrived at the hospital, five times over the legal limit," she continued. "The doctors thought I was brain dead because I was completely unresponsive. My pupils were sluggishly reactive, I had no corneal reflex and I wasn’t responding to verbal or painful stimuli."
She woke up 24 hours later. Medical staff said she was lucky to be alive and asked if she tried to kill herself. "This question hit me the hardest. From my hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit, my eyes were opened to the seriousness of being irresponsible with alcohol," she wrote. "The next day when I was discharged from the hospital, I realized that the way I looked at alcohol would be changed forever."
Binge drinking in women is defined as drinking four or more drinks in two hours and a recent study found that women are doing it 36 percent more than they did 10 years ago. This can lead to a hangover, at the very least, or death. Luckily, Lottritz escaped with no lasting effects, but has a message for others.
"Fortunately for me, I had good people around when all of this took place," she wrote. "I could have easily been taken advantage of when I passed out. I could’ve been left alone to 'sleep it off.' I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, 'Let them sleep it off, they’ll be fine in the morning,' but I’m alive today because my friends got me help. Don’t take a chance if you see a friend passed out from drinking too much."
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