Believe it or not, some people experience problems when suddenly finding themselves at significant elevations above what their bodies are used to.
There are two times I will defend Al Gore, Jr.’s statements, and this is one of those times. When Gore speculated that Obama’s problem during the debate may have been the rarefied air of mile high Denver, Colorado it rang alarms in my memory of a personal experience.
When I lived in Houston, Texas as a sales manager for a Fortune 100 company, one year I attended a national sales meeting at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Colorado Springs is at 6,000 feet above sea level, more than the 5,000 feet level in Denver.
We all took flights into Denver, and shuttles to Colorado Springs. I got there about 3:00 in the afternoon, and checked into the hotel. When I got to my room, I didn’t even take my clothes off. I went straight to bed because of a pounding headache. Later that evening, I awoke hungry, and feeling much better.
Dinner was at the hotel restaurant that evening. I was at a table with one of the guys who worked for me, and a couple of salesmen from other parts of the country.
Now, I had flown in from Houston, Texas which has an elevation of about 100 ft above sea level. My employee came in from New Orleans which is below sea level. Neither of us was used to the thin air in Colorado.
As we were leaving the restaurant, my New Orleans guy fainted dead away. Splat! Right on the floor in front of me. Several of us helped him up, and he fainted, again. Something seemed wrong even though he was awake and talking normally.
An ambulance took him to the hospital where the medical people proclaimed him OK. When asked about the malady our comrade experienced, they reported that it was not uncommon for people from lower lying parts of the country to experience a mild case of elevation sickness.
Just going to the high elevations in Colorado caused both of us to be uncomfortable and in some pain. In his case he fainted, twice!
Yes, Barack Obama could have been affected by the elevation. My buddy was a smoker at the time, and Barack Obama is a smoker. This could possibly mean a diminished lung capacity for the President. That might explain his listlessness during the debate.