Do you have those times that you don’t even realize how much you take for granted until it smacks you upside the head? I sure do.
We had our air conditioning unit break down several weeks ago. I can’t imagine how the repairmen are staying up with everyone, because we are in good company. It was exceptional service ~ they came quickly, they fixed it in 10 minutes, and it was just a memory. The temperatures had been high for the midwest, but not like what was about to occur to most of the nation.
With MS, heat spells one word for me – disaster. In fact, the hotter it gets the more my symptoms increase. To put that in perspective, I have been inside the house the entire day for weeks, except for an occasional hour here or there. I am sure when this first occurred, it drove me nuts. It took enough times of spending weeks or months in my wheelchair, but I think I’ve finally decided that my home is a pretty good place to hang out!
I was starting to let it get to me as weeks of extreme heat has worn on, however. Even the most mundane activities have gone by the wayside. Tonight, I had an invitation to a birthday party for a friend’s child. This was a great party, well planned out. We have a neighborhood pool, so my friend had rented space at the pool and invited about 30 people.
I also would add that I love, love, LOVE birthday cake. White cake, specifically. I arrived a little late for the party, with possible intentions of swimming. None of the adults were getting in, so I quickly let that idea fade away. I did, however, have probably the best piece of birthday cake yet this summer. Yeah, this was worth the heat.
Oh. . . I forgot to mention. It was 94 degrees at 6:30 – before factoring in the heat index.
I was visiting with friends, watching the activities, and having a great time when THE FEELING came over me. That ‘I won’t be able to make it back to my vehicle’ feeling. That ‘My sentences are not making sense’ feeling. That ‘I’m in excruciating pain’ feeling. That ‘I’m scared to death and I don’t want to let it show on my face’ feeling.
In every past year since being diagnosed, I would have hung around for a longer time. Just enough for it to be too long. Just long enough for a setback to occur. Just enough to be really trapped because I then couldn’t walk, or worse, depending on various factors.
Tonight. . . I explained quickly and succinctly to the host that I needed to leave. She knew exactly why, and offered to help me out. I made it without help. I think that’s called pride, but I might have the wrong word. : )
I drove the short distance (less than 1/2 mile) home, and plopped down on the couch. The pain has set in, and I’ve been alone for hours now. I am too weak to get back to the bedroom for pain medicine, but someone will surely arrive soon to help me. I can see well, I am thinking clearly. . . I think I’m getting better at this!
Sitting for hours on the couch gives you time to think. I thought about Joplin tornado survivors. Many who lost their homes are living in homeless shelters ~ literal tents ~ while they wait for the installation of permanent housing. They have been living like this for over 2 months. Just one of the facts that probably doesn’t make national news any longer, but is a constant reminder locally of how permanently their lives have changed.
As I came home, frustrated, from what should have been a lovely evening with friends and neighbors, I couldn’t escape how good I have it. I could list what I don’t have, but the list of my blessings is a far longer list. I can’t imagine living in a literal tent for 2 months for any reason. To live there for over 2 months during the ‘heat dome’ (the meteorological term for the heat wave moving across most of the US) suddenly put my life into amazing perspective.
They expect temperature to approach 100 for at least another week. That’s okay. I have cold water, air conditioning, books to read, a normal restroom, my own kitchen, a bedroom with doors on it. I have it pretty good.