We all remember that song that says “the knee bone is connected to the leg bone. The leg bone is connected to the hip bone.” This simple song is a reminder to us all. It tells us that our body parts collectively work together to make our every movement happen. This melody explains that when one muscle has an issue, it will impact other parts of our body as well.
Temperature consistency is a difficult thing to find here in central Ohio. It is especially elusive in the spring and fall season in the outside thermometer. The ever-changing weather this time of year does not make life easy for me. Temperature swings are so drastic that you need a coat in the morning then shorts and a t-shirt by lunch. These spastic swings on the thermometer put my body into a rapid tailspin at any given moment.
For energy savings, my thermostat drops significantly at night. The bothersome part is that this nighttime temperature is too cold for a bed sheet alone. However, it is too hot to be wrapped in a comforter. I tried to cover up with my bedspread once, and it zapped my strength and energy significantly. In the morning it took me over five minutes to make a basic transfer into my wheelchair from the bed. I found that most times it is best for me to use the comforter up to my waist and the sheet on the rest of me.
Most MSers do not like the heat. As for me, I can deal with the heat easier if my body has had time to acclimate to the warmness. At the beginning of this summer, the air conditioner in my house was not working correctly. Sadly, I had to wait several days for the repairman to fix it. While not overly hot it allowed my body to adjust to the warmer temperatures very slowly. It was also extremely beneficial that this summer was not absurdly hot as it has been in the past.
The heat is not the only temperature that has a negative impact on my body. The inconsistency of the weather is what exacerbates the struggles of my body. The unexpected cold weather also puts a damper on things. There have been days where I needed a coat in the morning, and by the afternoon I needed a pair of shorts. These temperature swings can play havoc on my MS body and turn my abilities upside down.
The indecisive fall and spring seasons are hard on me physically. These two seasons cause my muscles to be weak and sluggish. A fall day starts with a winter chill in the morning. Then comes the t-shirt weather by lunchtime and closes with scarf weather.
A few weeks ago it was cold in the morning, so I wore a coat to church. I hopped into the small SUV with no difficulty as the morning felt nice. Three hours later I put my coat back on to go home, and MS decided to rear its ugly head. I pulled up next to the SUV and prepared to do my vehicle entering routine. I quickly felt a leg muscle flutter, and I knew that this would not go well. I stood up next to the seat, and everything seemed ok. As I reached for the handle above the passenger window, I began to slide back. I quickly looked up and grabbed the handle stopping my slide. At this point, I started to fight the losing battle of pulling myself up into the seat. Luckily my driver was right there and quickly sat my seat on the seat.
The result of my overheating was that my legs had a severe muscle spasm requiring us to wait. This prostrate position made my posterior nearly slide off the spot. These appendages of mine stiffened up tight making it difficult for me to keep my seat. My legs needed a minute before they would accept the required bending to get into the car.
That evening at trunk or treat the temperature was nicer, and I was not wearing my coat. This temperature made getting into the vehicle that I was picked up in a smooth endeavor. The rain caused us to pass out candy in a church hallway. The warmness of the corridor made me nervous about getting back into the SUV. However, they had to move things around to make space in their vehicle. I was able to sit by some double doors that were open allowing me to feel the cool breeze. Getting back into the car was surprisingly simple and very little assistance was needed.
So my moving, sitting, and transferring skills are as changeable as a Rubik’s Cube. All of these movements of mine are very much dependent on the temperatures. However, I try every morning to wake up with a smile on my face. I do this in anticipation as to what challenges I will face on any given day.
When you have multiple sclerosis, you must get comfortable with being uncomfortable.