By Penelope Conway
Last summer the heat outside kicked my butt. I tried all the normal tricks to remain cool and keep my core body temperature down, but no matter what I did my body grew weaker as the summer progressed. I’m not looking forward to the coming hotter days.
It’s crazy to get exhausted just going to the mailbox. That short of a trip and I’m ready for a nap. I have learned to take things as they come and listen to my body even though it’s not always easy to do. It can actually get quite frustrating.
Sometimes I will have my heart set on going somewhere then not have the energy to go and have to cancel plans. Or I have something that needs to get done but it doesn’t get done for days and days and days just because I can’t muster up the strength to do it. If I could, I would hire a maid to clean for me, a cook to make my meals and a chauffeur to take me places. Now that would be the life! Include getting rid of MS into the mix and that would be my dream come true.
But as it is right now, I’m the one that has to do everything. It’s up to me to take care of the house, do the laundry, prepare my meals, bathe, vacuum, pay the bills, make the bed, put gas in the van, clean up my messes, and live with MS.
Between the coming heat and sweltering humidity, I crumble. Some of my tips of how to survive the hot days may seem a bit odd, but they work for me.
Wear an Ice Vest to Bed
I have an ice vest I receive many years ago but it’s too heavy to wear so I have created a lighter weighted version of the vest and wear it to bed. That’s the time of day I really need help with the heat the most. If I can’t get comfortable at night, I’m miserable. The ice will stay cold for about two and a half hours and then I switch out the ice with a second set of ice packs.
Make Cold Drinks
I keep plenty of frozen water bottles that I take out of the freezer an hour before bed so they have time to thaw out and I can sip on them. I also will use my ninja blender to crush ice and make soft snow cones to enjoy. They actually cool me down quite a bit.
Keep a Water Hose Hooked Up Outside and Ready to Spray
I still do yard work which can be killer in the heat but having access to water that you can spray as needed helps. I have been known for getting drenched each trip on my riding mower to the back yard.
So what do I do when the heat overwhelms me and I can’t do what I need to do? I do what I can and leave the rest for another day. I have had to learn to be okay with not getting everything done that I want or even need done.
Taking care of me is way more important these days than taking out the trash or getting the mail. My well-being is more important than attending a ballgame in 100 degree weather and my health is of greater importance than buying a birthday gift for the lady down the street.
Be good to yourself. Take care of you. No one else is going to do it for you. It’s okay to cancel plans, veg on the couch, sleep late, and most importantly to need help. That’s not being stubborn or selfish. That just what you have to do to keep going.
Keep going, doing, being, until you can’t any longer. I have never met an MSer that wasn’t a strong and powerful fighter even on their weakest days. We push through some of the toughest battles. Things that other people never see or even know about because we simply keep going. MSers are an amazing example of strength, persistence and determination. I’m so very proud of you and cheering you on today.
*Penelope Conway was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November 2013. She is the author and founder of Positive Living with MS (positivelivingwithms.com) where she uses humor and her own life experiences with MS to help others navigate this unpredictable journey. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day.