Multiple Sclerosis

Don’t be a hero

Fatigue is a symptom experienced by 80% of people who have MS. High temperatures tend to make fatigue worse.  You can read more about it on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

It’s summer here in North America. The weather experts say that 2018 is on pace to be the Earth’s fourth hottest year on record. People are dying because of the heat. I am lucky enough to have the means to pay for air conditioning and to have a job in a modern building that is sometimes a little too cold for comfort. My car, which I’m privileged to own, has air conditioning. I don’t have much to complain about.

I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, but I resisted applying for a disabled parking permit until last year. I didn’t think I really needed one because I don’t use an assistive device for mobility. My husband talked me into getting one, so now I have a permit issued by the state. I also have a permit for parking in disabled spots on the IU Bloomington campus where I work. I try not to use it much because I’m trying to lose weight. I need all the exercise I can get.

I have been parking in a disabled spot on really hot days. I feel a little guilty when I do though. A longish walk in the heat is not impossible for me. I can do it without falling over. Sometimes though, if I’m not feeling all that well, a walk in the heat can take its toll. The temperature didn’t seem that bad this morning, so I decided to park in a regular space. I was okay going in, but the trek to the car at the end of the day was taxing. When I got home, I was too tired to do any exercise. Whenever I don’t exercise I worry that I’ll never be able to lose weight. This leads to me feeling bad about everything.

The lesson here is that I don’t need to be a hero. Minimizing my time in the heat will allow me to conserve my energy for the things I want to do, like yoga or Wii Fit in the evening.

Here’s a fitting quote about self-care.

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” ~Christopher Germer

 

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3 replies »

  1. I know how difficult it can be parking in the disability parking, but my goodness it is SO helpful on these terribly HOT days which seems never ending! I was diagnosed with MS 18 years ago and just got the disabled parking 3 years ago. I remember crying about it because I never thought I would get to that point. I am self conscious about it as well because people tend to judge, which is just rude! I will admit though, even on these horribly HOT days I refuse to take the last spot because someone in a worse situation may need it!! I hope you have a great weekend and stay cool! Do you have a cooling vest? The MSAA offers it for free to those with MS, so it may be something worth looking into!

    • I haven’t tried a cooling vest. I sometimes use the thing you soak in water and put on your neck. It dries out too quickly.
      You held out a long time for the parking permit! I probably wouldn’t have gotten one without my husband’s encouragement.
      Thanks for the tip about the vest!

      • I held out purely and totally because I was too stubborn and did not want to admit how much I hurt ALL the time! Sometimes being stubborn does not help us at all!
        I have a cooling vest, but I have not used it yet. It is something to look into though as I am sure you can get this for free!! I am glad you have a supportive husband because we do all need that! Take care and best wishes!!

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