Posts Tagged 'Heat'

Hot & Bothered

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in over a week. There’s been a lot going on, some of which I hope to catch you up on.

Partly, I’ve been busy with “the business of being disabled”: Doing my recertification for Medicaid as a working disabled person; getting a note from my doctor explaining why I can’t perform jury duty; and lots of stuff regarding my powerchair(s), which I don’t think is prudent to post at this time, except for this: Right now, only my indoor chair is working. My outdoor chair which I have blogged repeatedly about my many difficulties with is, of course, dead, and my backup chair is currently not running, either. Because my only working chair is not compatible with my van’s lift, I’m even more stranded than usual.

I also need to work a certain number of hours a month, so I’ve been trying to do a bit of paid writing, which is sometimes fun, but is also usually stressful and draining, particularly because it’s so hard for me to meet deadlines. (I haven’t even written my post for the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Eek.)

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered blogging and paid writing are pretty much mutually exclusive. I only have so much brain and energy for writing at a time. (If you would like me to devote more time to blogging, therefore, please note that I do have a donation button! ‘Nuff said.) I’ve written scores of partial blogs that haven’t been completed.

There is also the fact of the heat. We’re experiencing a serious heat wave. Because I live in New England, I’m also enjoying the typical summer humidity. For example, one night, it felt “cool” in comparison to how it’s been, so I checked the thermometer, and it was 90 degrees, but the humidity was only 57 percent. I say “only” because often the humidity is at least 75 percent. (Recently I checked it at 87 percent.)

I get automated email alerts whenever any serious weather is threatening. Here’s an excerpt from a recent alert:

HOT WEATHER ALONG WITH OPPRESSIVE HUMIDITY ARRIVES TODAY AND CONTINUES INTO SATURDAY…

HEAT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT…

* HAZARDS…EXCESSIVE HEAT WITH HIGH TEMPERATURES BETWEEN 95 AND
100.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES…UP TO 102.

* IMPACTS… EXCESSIVE HEAT MAY LEAD TO HEAT ILLNESSES FOR CHILDREN… THE ELDERLY AND THOSE PERFORMING STRENUOUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES DURING THE HEAT OF THE DAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL COMBINE TO CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE. … DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS…STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENT… STAY OUT OF THE SUN…

KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. …

ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 9 1 1.

One thing you might have noticed is that THEY ALWAYS WRITE EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS, TO INCREASE  YOUR  SENSE OF ALARM AT THE IMPENDING DOOM WEATHER. It helps to set the cheery tone that goes along with “heat stroke.”

There are also some assumptions in these alerts, such as that one has access to air conditioning. Well, no. Many people can’t afford to buy window units or to pay the electric bills that go along with them. Others, such as moi, cannot have window units because they accrue mold, which is impossible to completely eradicate. Mold gives me migraines, so that’s not a terrific option.

I bought a portable/indoor unit a few years ago, and it’s beyond useless. It still reeks and makes me sick, due to my MCS. It also doesn’t actually work, inasmuch as it actually increases the room temperature. I know this because it has a temperature readout, and I can see it climb, confirming what my flushed, sweaty skin is telling me.

When I used to watch TV or listen to the radio, I remember advisories telling people to go to air-conditioned malls or movie theaters. A friend in the city tells me there are now “cooling centers.” Of course, neither my friend nor I could go to any of these places, because we have MCS, and public spaces are not safe or accessible environments for us. (Even if I wanted to attempt to go somewhere, it would be difficult with the combined inability to drive and no powerchair that can go in the van.)

Well, I figured, I would just ride it out. Unlike Barnum, I can sweat, I don’t have a fur coat, and I do have a good fan that has been cleaned of all dust and mold. However, I did receive a warning call from the electric company’s computer, “Rita,” that due to the heat wave, we might have a power outage. Rita always calls me before any weather event that might cause an outage, because I am on their list of people who are medically reliant on electricity. Rita tells me I should take steps to evacuate if I need to. Since the whole reason that outages are so dangerous is that I can’t evacuate (which caused me such trauma during the ice storm two years ago), this is not very helpful.

So, I just hoped an outage wouldn’t occur. . . . Silly, silly me. I’ll write about that in my next post.

I’m also trying to pull together a post on suggestions for how to help your dog stay safe in the heat. Hopefully I can post it before winter. I’ll make sure to WRITE THE WHOLE THING IN CAPS, so that you will find it sufficiently alarming.

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget (who had the sense to get in the wading pool on days like this), and Barnum (who just lies in the coolest corners and mopes)


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