So it's 85 degrees in the shade, and I'm stuck indoors. I literally cannot go for even a short walk.
Increased MS symptoms cling like a hangover. My ankles feel squishy and "wet," and I have a constant "headache" starting at the back of my neck and shoulders that tingles and feels tight. My hands also tingle and feel swollen although they simply are not, and my clumsiness now borders on the dangerous. I begin to avoid stairs. I am paying for my little trip to the river with Ellie on Monday. And I still must work each night. Every now and then I whine "I'm tired" to no one at all.
I can even feel the muscle around my left eye, tracing a circle, one that I didn't even know existed before the first MS exacerbation, some ten or so years ago. I resist the urge to ask Husband RJ to check the date of the first attack. He's the keeper of the dates and the facts surrounding all major events. I'm terrible about such stuff.
The first year, especially the first summer after the first attack, I was trapped inside. But by then I was already learning to fight the blues, because I'd had a serious bout of clinical depression as a young wife. It was important then not to succumb to inactivity. Seemed to me it was more important once I learned about MS.
Early on I would sit at home feeling sorry for myself. Now I just start with the basics.
First, let in the light. Open the shades! If the heat will creep in, then shut the shades on the sunlit side and open the ones on the northward. Make yourself at home in the brighter rooms. Move your activities there.
Keep clean! Shower and dress and tidy the house. Prepare for activity. If the place is a pigsty from inactivity, then you have a job now: clean the house. Set a schedule, say, of no more than two hours of work, then reward yourself accordingly. A nice nap is even nicer when the house is clean on awakening. And the cleanliness is for someone important. You.
Eat for the summer! I met a friend at Montana Mills this morning, who told me she ate cheese and cherries last night. And we both purchased bread that would keep us all week, especially if we freeze some of it. Before the heat wave, I had boiled some eggs and macaroni. Now there's salad fixings for the hot days. And cold fruit in the fridge and canned fruit in the pantry. I've learned to buy small zucchinis and baby carrots for snacks and cold lunches. Tuna, cottage cheese and yoghurt have taken over my diet. My family shreds lettuce by the head to store in containers in the fridge. A couple types of bread, say pita and high fiber Lite from Weis Market, are waiting year round.
Keep a cool car. Shortly after the first exacerbation, we purchased a used Geo Tracker. I need the height, because while I could fall into a lower car, someone would have to haul me out of it. No independence in that. Getting in and out of a small SUV is a breeze, and it's good on gas, and it was inexpensive enough that we could afford to install air conditioning. On top of that, we use sunshades to keep out the sun. MammaDog M got me Marvin the Martian sunshades to pop onto the side windows, too. They are narrower, perfect for the door windows. She found them on the Internet.
Finally, know your limit. Absolutely do not overplan. People ask me where I find time for blogging and video games. I simply do not overplan. For example, I never, ever shop for more than two hours. Ever. Even a three hour shopping excursion is interrupted with a lovely sit-down lunch or snack for an hour. Off my feet, resting. If I don't have what I planned to buy after two full hours, tough. I'm done and I go home to rest. Every now and then I have time left over. It's rare, but I do sometimes. That time is for me, me, me!
More on daily routines soon. Work in an hour.