From snow showers right into heat exhaustion

Well after a surprising burst of snow showers May 15 and 16 here in Caroga Lake, I now have to contend with too much sun and heat!?

Most people won’t find any problem with temperatures in the 80s this week and approaching 90 degrees, but then my MS has this tricky warming dynamic that can turn me to mush in minutes just as it did Monday.?

After a nice long stroll around the neighborhood and time in the sun, I made the mistake of taking a hot bath before bed and proceeded to dissolve into incoherency.?It only takes minutes for the heat to overwhelm me, but hours of cool wash cloths were needed to bring my speech back where anyone could understand me.

I’m back to my normal, understandable (at least in my estimation) self this morning – I’m writing this Tuesday, the 24th – and feel much better. I just need to be careful and use preventive water spritzing and very careful sun exposure, to avoid another bout of heat exhaustion. (Another of MS’s aspects includes the inability to sweat).?Saturday, the Caroga Lake flower sale (once again, I’m writing this a few days before the event) will be where I refill my window boxes and hanging plants.

This year it benefits the Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Company – a wonderful group who once had to come and help me back when I was heat exhausted years ago at our camp-home on North Shore Road.?I’ve noticed over the past few years I’ve become more sensitive to my favorite activity, sunbathing. I used to be able to sit out for one to two hours at a time then come in the house and lay down to take some pressure off of my butt and cool down.

But I’ve also noticed that when I’m asked if I want to be sprayed for a quick cool down, I’m more apt to say no than yes. I’m beginning to become less aware of the fact that I’m getting overheated and my aides can tell by simply looking in my eyes (they start to cross). I think what bothers me the most is the fact that I miss spending hours in the sun.?What I think I’m not remembering is that my bath time with my jacuzzi jets is usually much less during the warm months than in winter. I love to be in the water, that includes shower time, bath time and most importantly lake time. I’m in my manual chair when I’m in the lake but my aide Jeff, has suggested he carry me in his arms, so my legs get the full benefit of the water. I agree with him and can’t wait to get started. I hope you all enjoy the summer and the sunshine. Let’s all hope for a great summer and don’t forget to apply your sunscreen!

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake, in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website You can also follow her on Facebook under Kathryn Phillips-Spira, where her weekly columns will also be posted.

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