>It’s HOT, too hot. I found out the hard way that when my nurse told me that staying hydrated will make all the difference in how I feel, she really meant it. Back in the beginning of this heat wave a few weeks ago, I had a particularly busy day, errands to run a doctors appointment, etc. I don’t have a car so I alternate between walking and riding the city bus and sometimes it’s necessary to walk several blocks between transfer points. I felt pretty good starting out the day, more energy than usual, and made ambitious plans. At the grocery store I proudly filled my cart with all sorts of healthy fresh foods,thinking how I am doing such a fantastic job of taking care of myself through this treatment. Yay me! What a good girl!
I don’t know if it was having been in the air conditioning that made outside feel like a giant open faced pizza oven or if the temperature had really risen that much but when I stepped outside I was blasted in face with what felt like an inferno. Because of my super self care shopping spree I had two large canvas bags stuffed to the top with groceries. Ok so it’s two blocks to the bus stop, no problem. That two blocks felt like walking uphill dragging a steam engine pumping heat at me. Ribavirin tends to make you feel short of breath, even without the heat and the load I was carrying. After two blocks my heart was pumping like the aforementioned steam engine, and I started to feel dizzy. The bus finally came and took me to the next transfer point where I helplessly watched my next bus pull off. Ok 20 minutes until the next bus. By now my brain must’ve been addled by lack of oxygen because I decided I might as well start walking until the bus came along. Somehow at the time it made sense to me that it was better to keep moving. “Nothing bad can happen if you keep moving” a desperate refrain from my younger days when my lifestyle was lived in a state of fight or flight. I walked a few blocks, occasionally stopping to rest, and finally surrendered at the bus stop, the one with a bench. By this point I could feel that my face was beet red, I was sticky with sweat, and my tongue was pretty much stuck to the roof of my mouth. I dug in the bag for something to drink, but of course, I hadn’t actually bought anything cold. I settled for a warm ensure, which never before or since has tasted so good. Now I was actually starting to feel chills, despite being hot, and my head was pounding.
I finally made it home, grabbed a huge jug of ice water and some ibuprofen and fell into bed and asleep. I slept for about 12 hours before waking up to realize I was still sick. It took several days, close to a week actually, before I started feeling “normal”, as normal as one can feel on treatment. I think the most difficult part of treatment for me has been accepting the limitations I now have.
The Moral of this story is, like it or not, many of us on treatment can’t do the things we are accustomed to doing. We have limited physical and, based on my poor judgment, mental capacities. One thing I have learned over the years of misadventure and return to sanity is that acceptance is the key to any hardship. Once we surrender to the way things are we become much more able to make adjustments, changes and accommodations which make life much less miserable. So now I’m sitting home in front of my fan, a HUGE bottle of water next to me. I’ve learned to limit my activities, especially in the heat…and I make my son do the grocery shopping with me. Maybe there is a cure for the summertime blues, if the livin is easy. 🙂 © 2010 Jennifer Hazard