Thursday, 15 January 2009

January Blues

I'm aware that this blog has become a bit moany of late what with all the hassles around the homecare. I don't want to give you the impression that my life is purely a string of niggles and arguments. Except that at the moment it is. A big part of the problem is that it is January. January and February are pants. Here in the UK they are cold, grey months, often rainy or icy, that make going out difficult because you need lots of layers. Lots of layers means lots of effort. A few days ago I went shopping with Polly and the boys. The temperature was just below freezing and I wore a T-shirt, a jumper, a fleece and a winter coat. Plus a woolly hat and a scarf. I was quite warm but I couldn't actually bend my arms.

Since muscles are the main source of heat production and maintenance of body temperature the severe muscle wasting in neuromuscular conditions, coupled with the inevitable reduction or lack of mobility, means that people with MD feel the cold. It always feels several degrees colder to me than to those around me. As a result our home heating bills resemble those of farmers growing tropical fruit in mid-winter and those visiting our flat are met with a wall of heat. Even carers from Nigeria tend to take off their jackets when they come to us.

I hate being cold. My body shuts down and I find it hard to think. Once my core body temperature drops below a certain point it seems to take forever to get warm again.

Once, a long time ago, I was working at a conference held in some Scottish castle near Glasgow. My friend and colleague Kevin and I were billeted in an annex along side the main grand building in a room with glass missing from several fanlights. It was early summer, but this was Scotland, and as night fell so did the temperature. It is an enduring memory of mine, sitting huddled up, warming myself by the one source of heat that we had between us, Kevin's tiny travel iron. Kevin kindly turned it up fill blast and placed in on a low table next to my wheelchair and by its feeble heat I fended off hypothermia.

I've just seen the weather forecast for the weekend; rain and sleet. Great. Wake me in the spring.