Friday, June 12, 2015

76 Things: #12 - O Summer! My Summer!

Summer and MS
Sadly they go together
Like oil and water
-MJW, "My Book of MS Haikus"

Another Texas summer is finally upon us...and yet my MS is already dreaming of October.
I love the sun.  The blue skies.  And our kiddos would probably live in the pool, if we let them.
Unfortunately, multiple sclerosis isn’t such a big fan of hot weather.  Just a short trip to the mailbox will leave me dizzy and feeling faint.

Blurred vision – check.  Difficulty walking straight?  Oh yes.  And my daily bouts with chronic fatigue become even more difficult.
I’m not alone in this phenomenon; you can read more about the impact of heat and high humidity on multiple sclerosis here.

So how do I get through the next 3 months?  Here are a few ways…

  • Hibernation:  It’s rare that I play with the kiddos outside.  Family walks are pretty much out unless it is very early in the morning. Going to the pool is a treat but still needs to be approached with caution. 
  • Picking our spots:  During the week, the children are at camp during the day so there is less strategizing required.  But on the weekends, we have to be smart about the choices we make.  Two events in one day (especially if they are outdoors) are pretty much a no-no.  We also usually try to avoid back-to-back night outings.    
  • Stay cool:  Often, when I’m outside, I’ll wear a ice pack wrap around my neck.  And no matter where I am, I always make sure that cold fluids to drink are nearby.
  • Accept help:  I’m much more likely to use the handicap placard during the summer.  And, whether we are parked close or not, you are likely to see my arms around my wife’s shoulder as she helps steady my gait as I walk to the door.

I wish there was a secret sauce to surviving summertime and multiple sclerosis.  I envy those that are out running in the neighborhood, getting their vitamin D and exercise for the day.  I feel guilty that my wife has to shoulder so much more of our household responsibilities.  And I yearn for the fall, when I can return to being a much more regular part of my family, friends and community’s life.



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