Another Post-Portland Note
In Portland Again!
As I've written before in multiple notes, MS is stressful for someone living in Central Arizona. When I first arrived in 1983, having come from the Pacific Northwest, my idea of a weekend camp trip was cool winds, cool shadows, cool and copious streams.
On The Road again
I guess this is the fifth or sixth time I have gone North from home to seek a cooler environment for the hot Summer months. I know from previous years that the Arizona Summer is a trap for me. About three years ago, I went with my brother through L.A. and north via I-5 to PDX.
When we left Phoenix, in late May, the daily temperature had, for a week, become Summery. We planned to start out Early but in fact, bro had 'a few chores in Phoenix' to finish before we really got on the road. We spent four hours driving up and down through the bowl which is the Metro area, checking out camping implements, map stores and canned fluid (!?) stores. We left town about 1pm, going into the Great Glowing West with initial temperature about 103*. But it was a Dry heat !!
I made several Capital Errors earrly: I left midday, I didn't drink water constantly, I didn't wear a cap and certainly didn't have that cap set up for warm weather (frozen Blue Ice@ wrapped in a towel and crammed in the cap's summit). We drove on through the hottest part of the day and so early into L.A., itself enjoying a heat wave. Our vehicle my 2007 Versa. The travel temp was over 108*.
We stayed overnight the first eve in Santa Clarita so as to be north of L.A. the next day and to avoid the morning rush hour. I was kind of shaky by the time I'd wheelchaired myself into the room, which was cool, clean and all I could ask. My brother went out for a few hours to get dinner, gas up the car for the morning and move dog--like around the local environs before finally declaring his bed ready for occupancy. I declined his offer to join him and got ready immediately for sleep. I lay down on my queen-sized bed,one of two in our room, set the AC for as low as it would go and fell asleep in seconds fully dressed.
I woke about two hours later and realized that the day's run had initiated an MS flare. It was typical for me: I could move head and arms and had full sensation and no pain. I could not move my legs, though with determination could swing them over the mattress verge and cause my torso to elevate, my feet stable on the ground. Nicely done, Tom!
My 'plan' at that point was to somehow stagger to the bathroom and micturate. Fortunately, the day's stresses/dehydration and my pre-slumber ablutions had left me with a mostly-empty bladder. But. I would need to go within a few hours and, well, there's no time like the present.
Within a second or two I realized 1) I was on the wrong side of the bed for my proposed cross-room trip and 2) There was no way right then I was ever going to stagger Anywhere.
Being a doctor, I have the ability to do harmless, necessary things fairly quickly to move along the process of living. I was able to easily reach down between the two queen beds and resurrect the plastic garbage pail kept there and quickly to use that for my Necessary Business. As we say in ER medicine, 'Another Feat Accomplished.'
Alright. Vetto is good for the Duration. Now to swing back opposite onto the bed again.
My early love of physics left me realizing that my center of gravity, given that my legs were essentially off the bed, was now below the mattress rim level. My options were limited. I could lay straight back and hope for a Deus ex Machina event or I could wait for my brother. He was out, probably having found a late-open pawn shop with lotsa Nifty Stuff in its front window and who could resist that? Meanwhile, my weak torso gave up its valiant effort to keep me erect and I was standing against the bed, lying flat and perpendicular to where I wanted to spend my night
I could flail my neck and arms and look at the ceiling. That was It. I was going to wait.
My big brother returned sober (of course), with 'items' and lawer-like attention to detail. "You OK?" 'Yes, I am"; "You need anything?"; "Could you swing my legs onto the bed?" Easily done. "What's this here...Oh, I see...Don't worry; go to sleep. We can talk in the morning. Do we go back to Phoenix?"; "Not frikking likely".
I was better in the morning and was able to take my turn as the driver in the afternoon.
Head Bloodied But Unbowed
So I told my brother I planned no change in our itinerary. He was glad of that, hthough he'd have driven back over the desert if such was my plan.
Back In Touch
This trip was three Summers, 2 1/2 years ago. the last year was a bit of a mental haze, able to be fully active but the wish to write absent. I have not camped, let alone backpacked and I can see that the fellow who wrote all those brave blogs about tenting out was in much better physical shape then than now. But, I'm very much intact and am 'backpacking' in my MS kinda way by finally retrieving my Vol IV The Complete Walker and going over recommended gear lists. See a previous blog for comments on how planning a walk is an integral part of said walk In Fact.
I am taking 25K IU Vitamin D qd, based on data I have seen from Brazil over the last 2 years. I feel better, though for me the horse may be pretty much out of the barn, my active disease now being 15 or so years old. More on this later.
More by this Author
Observations on the effect of environmental heat on MS sufferers. To wit: why a yearly trip to Oregon in the Summer is necessary for this MS patient.
General Comments: What it is, Why it is, How it came on to me, What may result from it, Why it may be a Good Thing.
I've been drinking coffee since I was ten. The best of 'acquired tastes', I look forward to it and I drink a good slug each morning. MS has affected my relationship with my Primary Methyl Xanthine.
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