Monday, 12 December 2011

27 degrees

I live in Queensland, Australia so I am no stranger to oppressively hot summers. I've never really enjoyed summer here, with the only redeeming features being swimming, cold beer and mountains of yummy stone fruit - things that are synonymous with a Queensland summer (for me, anyway). I've always thought I was born in the wrong hemisphere (and always thought I should be French). Summer has just arrived and temperatures are regularly hitting the low 30s (celsius) already. Being new to the whole MS thing I am now dreading summer more than ever, because it looks like we are in for a steamer this year.

Last summer was a whirlwind for me as I was in and out of hospital and managed to stay in airconditioning for the most part. I did discover, however, that my heat limit is somewhere around 27 degrees. Beyond that temperature I notice MS symptoms popping in to say 'hello' like an old, unwelcome visitor. My legs and hands tingle and my voice box goes haywire making me sound like I've smoked Winnie Reds since the age of two. Sounds sexy, I know. So I have developed a few tools to help me cope when things get too hot to handle. I've always maintained a collection of handheld Chinese fans (our Chinatown sells a lovely, cheap if yet sometimes unattractive selection), so I always have one in my handbag. They are actually great. I also take a canteen of water everywhere I go. You might be surprised to learn how quickly you can cool down when you pour a bottle of water over your head and feet. When in public you might attract fearful looks from passers-by who fear you are a lunatic, pouring water all over your Sunday best and fancy shoes, but at least you'll be cool. (it's even more effective when you yell 'OH YEAH!' while you do it). I keep a light coloured umbrella/parasol in my home, car and office for really hot, sunny days and I also keep ice packs and a Koolyband for my neck handy. It's kind of annoying but I now try to plan my days ahead, if I can, to ensure I can be in airconditioning wherever possible.

You might ask, 'But what about picnics, cricket, croquet and foxy-boxing, lady?' WELL. I am pleased to inform you that these activities can be modified for the heat-handicapped! You can have a picnic virtually anywhere. That's right. Dining room table, kitchen floor, couch, bath tub, on your boyfriend's head. Cricket and croquet? Well, there are plenty of hallways at work and at home, so when the urge arises I already have my green set to go. Scrunched up paper also performs well as a ball substitute. As for will have to buy my book for that.

But seriously. Heat can be terrible for people with MS. I know of one lady who completely loses her vision when she overheats. That just sucks. Thankfully I'm not that bad and once I cool down the symptoms slowly disappear. I have to tell you though, my social life suffers a bit. My once cherished pastime of running is now a distant memory (though I will continue trying at the airconditioned gym). Alfresco lunches and BBQs are also out on hot days. I now console myself with the thought of being a modern day mermaid: living in a pool, having an effortless tan and beautiful green hair from the chlorine (I am a bottle-enhanced blonde) and being hand-fed grapes by servants. OK, I can't stay serious here, and I may be complaining but what's a former super-fit social butterfly to do? If I don't laugh about it I'll cry!

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this post today (might be the beer) but I know I should feel lucky that I am enjoying airconditioned comfort as I type this rant. I am staying in a beautiful beach house this week (lucky) with the clan (lucky) and the temperature is currently somewhere around 30 degrees (boo). It's just a few degrees too hot to stay out for long so I will be a shut-in until it cools. Now, where's the beer...?


  1. Renee Hot-As Huntley12 December 2011 at 15:41

    Would love some pics of you foxy-boxing a al Cath Day-Knight!! Seriously though ~ it is easy to forget whilst whinging about the heat that the most I suffer is a greasy face, some serious underarm moisture and the afore-mentioned Cath Day-Knight's hair do. Stay in cucumber

  2. My hair more resembles Richard Simmons when the mercury rises! Thank Christ for GHDs and Bryl cream! I wonder if free advertising will get me a new one? Ahem.