One of the most common symptoms for MS sufferers is heat intolerance — http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=show&pageid=743 — and we spend the hottest part of summer staying indoors and running the air conditioner full blast to the extent that everyone else is wearing woollen jumpers.  So here it is April, and coming into the cooler weather of autumn is such a relief.

Alan is a paraplegic (motorbike accident, years ago) and lives in the tropics of Far North Queensland.  He commented that when he attends meetings with multiple sclerosis sufferers, “It’s like sitting in a refrigerator.”

The MS Fact Sheets and other sites give lots of helpful advice on keeping cool.  Not just air-conditioning, but they advise try to cool the body inside as well as out, by drinking iced drinks, sucking on a block of ice.  Wearing a cooling bandanna thing that they sell, around the neck (soak in cold water first, it stays cold and damp for a long while.) Schedule your day so that you don’t go outside the house in the heat of the day.  And so on.

http://ms.about.com/od/livingwellwithms/a/heat_tips.htm

I am convinced that this drastic setback Don is having at the moment is partly due to heat.  We had planned to spend the day in Newcastle, two hours drive, looking at houses.  (Yes, we HAVE to do something about our house with the stairs!)  When they forecast a top of 35 degrees (95 Fahrenheit) I considered not going, but I tend to set things in concrete and then go ahead and do them regardless, so I convinced myself that the car is air-conditioned, we would not spend much time getting in and out, and it is always hotter where we live than Newcastle in any case.

It was after our return that evening that Don had his second fall in two days, worse this time, and the ambos had to come again.  And the next day he was in hospital, barely able to lift a foot.

Maybe it is unrelated to the heat.  After all, the disabling effects of heat on MS are not permanent; once the person cools down the symptoms disappear, and that did not happen to Don this time.  I was going to call this blog entry “Blaming Myself” but maybe that is not correct and I am being too hard on myself.