Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Having Heat Hate

Summertime sucks the most.

It's hot, it's bright, and everyone wants to do everything outside, in the bright heat. And staying home isn't always a respite; the temperature climbs even in our shady, mountain forest, and when it gets hot out here, it gets humid, aaaand we don't have air conditioning.

For me, a heat wave is a guaranteed migraine. I try to beat the heat with frozen washcloths, a spray bottle of ice water, cool showers, wetting down my hair, drinking tons of water and iced tea, slurping on popsicles, and most importantly, by having a fan pointed straight at me at all times.

As for getting out and enjoying the summer, that's not really something I do. I barely tolerate the summer, at best, and in return, summer tends to try to kick my ass as hard as it can. But I am forced to go outside sometimes, into the bright, white-hot, summer sun, and for those occasions, I prepare, prepare, prepare. Often by making lists. Oh, look, I've made a rather rambly list for you. You are very welcome.

In The Summertime, I:

1. Carry with me at all times: Water, extra water, sunscreen, sunglasses, an umbrella, a hat, and an extra hat. It can be burdensome to have all this baggage, but when I need something, I Need It, so the heavy bag (or two) is worth it.

2. Wear loose, lightweight clothing because my body is totally intolerant of constricting, non-breathable fabrics when it's above 75. I've burst into tears of migraining, confused rage in public because I was wearing the wrong bra on a hot day, so this is something I have to be very careful about.

3. Limit my exposure. I can't spend hours in the sun without the next week or two being compromised, so I arrive late, or leave early, or both if I have to. I miss a lot of the summer fun, and it makes me sad sometimes, but my health has to come first.

4. Count on recuperation time. If I want to make it to that family barbecue, I have to plan to do nothing for at least a day following, and up to five. The dishes will pile up, the dirty laundry will gain sentience, and clutter seems to breed on its own until I'm able to climb back out of the hole and then I have to clean what I've missed cleaning and end up back in that same hole again. This cycle happens in winter, too, but it's much more extreme in the heat. All I can do is expect it and plan for it.

5. Say no, a lot. It's just not worth it to brave the elements, quite often. I can see these people in a few months, when it's not as difficult for me to be out of the house. Perspective is important when it feels like everyone is having fun without you.

This post was written for the July 2012 Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival, hosted by Diana at Somebody Heal Me.