Alf observes with bemusement the guessing game concocted by news media after The Boss’s collapse at a Christchurch restaurant on Thursday night.
Jetlag has been ruled out as a cause of the collapse.
But “a leading doctor” is quoted (here) as saying fatigue or dehydration could have done the mischief.
Dehydration would never be a problem for Alf, because he keeps his system nicely lubricated.
John Key might not be so careful.
The Herald gives an eye-witness account of what happened at the Christchurch restaurant, the Tutto Bene pizzeria in Merivale, from whence The Boss was taken to Christchurch Hospital where three specialists decided he was fit to fly to Antarctica.
Restaurant manager Felicity Plummer said Mr Key looked unwell during his meal and was sweating.
As he prepared to leave, she told a colleague she didn’t think he would make it away from the table.
“Within a second he had either gone into a faint or collapsed. We were concerned for him as you would be for anybody in that position.”
Mr Key recovered enough to look around “and very graciously left”.
Ms Plummer later texted Antarctica NZ chief executive Lou Sanson to ask how Mr Key was faring.
This Sanson feller put the idea of jetlag into considerations.
He replied to Ms Plummer, thanking her for her concern and the way the restaurant handled the situation and advising her Mr Key was possibly suffering from jetlag.
But a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister later said jetlag was not a factor in the incident.
How the spokeswoman would know is a damned good question, of course, especially in light of Mr Key returning from his summer holiday in Hawaii on Wednesday.
But we are being assured the small time difference between there and New Zealand meant jetlag was unlikely.
The collapse accordingly is a mystery.
The specialists that saw Mr Key couldn’t specify a reason for his faint, “but sometimes these things happen”, the spokeswoman said.
Mr Key had not had any health issues recently, “in fact, quite the opposite”.
“He went through quite a rigorous health test for the Antarctic trip. He’s in good health. The specialists saw no reason for any worries and cleared him to travel to Antarctica. They wouldn’t do that given the lack of proximity to any major medical facilities if they weren’t sure it was just a one-off.”
The feller from Antarctica NZ got in on the act, by the way, because Mr Key landed in Antarctica early last evening.
That was less than 24 hours after he fainted. Or collapsed. Or whatever you care to call it.
We got more information from Antarctica NZ administration team leader Joanne Avis, who said Mr Key passed his pre-visit medical. This included sinus, skull, throat, teeth, ear, skin, joints, spine and abdominal examinations, along with heart, lung, blood, urine, eyesight, hearing and even tuberculosis tests.
Here’s where our leading doctor comes into the story.
GP and former chairman of the Medical Association Peter Foley said fainting in an otherwise healthy person was generally a sign of fatigue or possibly dehydration.
“There’s lots of causes of acute faint. This would probably be a result of overdoing it, changes in temperature and poor fluid intake. It’s very common – blood pressure can drop when you haven’t kept your fluids up for the day. Sometimes a glass of alcohol can dilate blood vessels and drop your blood pressure as well.”
In Alf’s experience, lots of glasses of alcohol can have interesting consequences, too.
Typically, this has been the cause of his inability – but only on rare occasions,mind – to stay on his feet.