Hot Arizona Returns

Arizona with threatened afternoon monsoon. Very hot, plenty humid. This a majestic saguaro cactus, likely two centuries old.
Arizona with threatened afternoon monsoon. Very hot, plenty humid. This a majestic saguaro cactus, likely two centuries old. | Source

MS, again in the Heat

I leaped into this Summer with both feet. The last three years have been basically early mad rushes from the too-hot Arizona late Spring to the beckoning coolness and blessed wet inclemency of Oregon.

This year, fearful of boring my relatives and ready for a change in the rhythm of my life, I have put off my yearly sojourn until mid-August. Consequently, I face half of Summer here. Before MS I relished this time of year. I walked in the deserts, up and upon the local hills and mountains; even a day-long hike in hot, isolated areas on new paths was wonderful. Very hot. Lotsa water.

I walked then with full hot-weather gear. Wide-brimmed straw hat, long-sleeve shirt, white or blue, sleeves rolled up, long khakis with belt (Penny's 'Dad and Lad' or other fine brands), white cotton socks and my Vasque boots. At the time, a walking stick was not necessary. That would come later...I carried several liters of water, as much as a gallon for really hot days. A gallon weighs 8lb. Not much to me at the time. I would also carry selected non-melting treats within my knapsack. I had a small, powerful pair of binoculars, a gift from my backpacker afficianado brother. I carried maps, both of the current trail and also one or more concerning future walks. In my mid-twenties, in fabulously good shape, with my career, marriage and children ahead of me, With MS there-I'm-sure but yet unknown. I enjoyed using my old, clunky Lensatic Compass. I would triangulate on hills if I could. Eventually, I would walk down, back to my car and go home or to my future-wife's home.

New Diet Thoughts

Over the last few days, I have held long conversations with a visiting friend of my wife. The friend is a past resident of New Orleans and we talked about their local food, which I have had and enjoy. I was thinking about Gumbo and Jambalaya and considering their inclusion into a Sclerotic walking diet. Look, we are out for a day or an overnight and a little home-cooked and maybe still-warm treat would be nice. This kind of meal is better, to my mind, reheated from a cold state anyway. Jambalaya is anything from a thin soup to what Colin Fletcher called an 'off-putty goo.' On the trail, to my perspective, goo is better. Jambalaya is drier, full of rice, very spicy, commonly chicken or seafood-based. Either of these can be packed in small, secure containers, which I would wrap with a rubber band and dispose of after use. These are not aromas you want permeating your gear, clothes or you on any trail.

Zen Garden in the Portland Japanese Garden. My knee prominent in the foreground.
Zen Garden in the Portland Japanese Garden. My knee prominent in the foreground. | Source

Stressful, Short Visit

The lady I mentioned in regards to New Orleans dishes was not just a visitor but was also an unofficial patient of Nora's and mine. She carries a diagnosis of hypo-mania and is enjoying a flare now, which has forced her from her home and, for the last two days, into ours. There have been small problems: an over-night admission into a psych facility, a brief visit from the Police and Fire Dept after an Overdose-Lite two nights ago and a nighttime scouring of the area by the police when she finally lost her temper and absconded last night. The Silver Lining here? First, our kitchen was thoroughly cleaned and nicely re-arranged. Secondly, last night after she left (and was quickly found with her neighbors) I was able to take a midnight swim.

This is not psychosis. Manic-depressive disorder, which this isn't, is serious but is hard to miss.

This has nothing to do with MS.

Future Plans for this Blog

If I cannot yet easily get outdoors, I may start using written material I have: imagined solitaire or group trips similar to ones I have taken or would take if I could. This would give me a platform on which to present cabin-life scenarios, expanded menus and so forth. Assuming I could get to places like this, this is what I would do, how I would live.

We will see if this idea sticks, what its' result will be.

A side canal in Venice just off the Grand Canal.
A side canal in Venice just off the Grand Canal. | Source

Accommodation with Heat

Life has become scientific as regards air conditioning here. I cannot keep the house temp at 70*. I cannot live until August in 100*-plus temperatures. We must be cagey. At night, with electricity at 9c/kwh, the thermostat is at 72*. From 9am to 9pm, with power at 15c/kwh, the rheostat is set at 87*. It works out. During the day, I wear shorts in the house. I swim and shower. I watch my intake.

I drink beaucoup water. We have a Britta filter-jug and use it heavily. Because of my fear of Aspartame, I drink no Diet Coke or similar.

Review of the Weather

Oregon. Cold. Midsummer.
Oregon. Cold. Midsummer. | Source

Review, cont

On my I-Pod, I have several weather apps. One shows a real-time view of the entire planet, with clouds and sun-shadows complete, real time. It is easy to follow temps worldwide.and I do.

It is 42* at Alert, a town on the north coast of the Northern Territories of Canada. It is -25* and cloudy at Scott Base in Antarctica. Alert has total sun, though today is warm (it was 36* yesterday.) I have the American base at the South Pole also but they give no temps for this site. It is near-Winter there and totally dark. Wish I were there. Next Christmas I will have a better idea if the poles are cooling a bit.

My Car, Myself

Just a quick note before I sign off. My fingers are tired and are getting sluggish, which leaves me asymptotically approaching the end of the blog. I am a cyborg, as I never expected to be. I hope I have a companion in my drive to Oregon, since I am a little worthless away from my Nissan. If there is any problem I will stop at rest stops and just drive.

My daughter in Rome
My daughter in Rome | Source

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Comments 2 comments

CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 4 years ago

Hello Thomas Veto, Lovely photos and love your thoughts. I have a friend who has MS, whose husband has just left her, the vows "in sickness and in health" did not apply to this coward. It is not a pleasant road and I will drop in to wish you well.


Thomas Vetto, MD profile image

Thomas Vetto, MD 4 years ago from Scottsdale, AZe Author

Shelley, thanks much for your thoughts. Sorry about my delay in getting back to you; I only realized I had received mail today and have been responding this evening for the first time. I agree with you concerning someone leaving an ill wife (or husband). That's low. MS is a b___ but it's better than so many other medical problems...I see it as a gift, even if I can't backpack, ski or climb mountains anymore.

There are many people who think MS can be cured through diet and I hope they're right. Tell your friend about this. Tell her to read Minding My Mitochondria by Terry Wahls, MD. Thanks again!

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