Monday, September 27, 2010

HOT, Hot, hot!

It was 109 degrees in beautiful Southern California today! I have been dreading this weather all year. I thought maybe the wonderfully cool summer was a prequel to an autumn closer to that of the autumn felt by the North Eastern US. But I was W-R-O-N-G wrong!!! I had already switched my boring summer wardrobe with my delightful winter clothes. Hello soft cashmere, leather boots and turtlenecks, good bye drab cotton t-shirts and leggings. I had my heart set for savory soups and delicious stews and roasts, enough with the fish, chicken and rabbit food!

I knew the heat was coming. One of the symptoms of POTS is temperature intolerance. I've often described the way I feel in the heat, to the scene in Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets, when Harry takes Pollyjuice Potion and his body goes through a very uncomfortable transformation. I feel like my blood is bubbling, a strange fatigue and tingling sensation takes over my limbs, my heart rate rises, I get very dizzy, my temperature rises a couple degrees and I feel very panicky. When I feel that way, I need to find a cool place and cool off immediately. If I don't I end up on the ground and my body shuts down. This is always followed by a trip to the hospital. Oxygen, an IV and a day or two in bed will usually get me back to my old self. But this is obviously something I want to avoid. Nothing like a public display in front of my students, parents and colleagues to make me look incompetent.

I'm very blessed to have an air conditioned classroom. But there are other hurdles to jump outside the classroom, and that was what I dreaded most. Usually I'm a worrier, but I'm finally learning that worrying gets me nowhere, and I need to trust that God has this all under control, even if it ends up being my worse case scenario. I'm also learning to look ahead and plan for the things that might cause me trouble. Finally I'm learning it's OK to ask for help.

One of my concerns was patriotic observance. It's a wonderful time where the whole school assembles together to pledge the flag, sing a patriotic song, make school announcements and say the school pledge. It's a very moving and special time of the school day. It usually lasts ten to fifteen minutes. On a hot day, it's one of my most difficult times. I'm very fortunate to have the support of the first grade team, who have offered to help me out if I ever need it. So I felt confident that this time of the day would be covered, and sure enough my kindergarten team mate took over my class during that time.

I was also concerned about lunch time, picking up my students after lunch means walking in the heat. It doesn't sound so difficult until you consider that walking with five year olds is and adventure in itself! The chances of at least one student falling down is very high, add a pushing or poking student to the mix, along with someone taking cuts, and a simple two minute walk turns into a stressful ten minute escapade! I asked my kindergarten team mate to give me a hand again, and she was kind enough to help. I followed lunch with indoor P.E., and my students were very well behaved!

I finished the day indoors in the wonderfully air conditioned classroom. It's time to go home, nothing dangerous there, WRONG! Walking to my car in 110 degrees can feel like a walk through the Sahara Desert without water. Then try getting into a car that has been sitting in the the hot sun all day, and it's as bad as it can get. I've had to pull over because my symptoms became too dangerous to drive with. I knew my drive was going to be tough, so I was fortunate enough that my daughter agreed to come to my rescue. She gets to my car ten minutes before I leave, and cools off the car before I get there. The only problem I had was that the longer cooler route to my car was hotter than I expected, and my ice vest was completely melted and warm by the time I got to my car.

A little preplanning along with some help from those around me, and living with POTS isn't so bad!


Psalm 139:17-18
How precious also are Your thoughts to me O God! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I am awake, I am still with You.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, you blow me away. You are three years older than I am, sicker than I am, and still find the capacity to herd squirrels all day! I've been ill for three years--dropped out of medical school, quit homeschooling my daughters, spend a lot of days in bed with my laptop--and just this August committed to something again. I volunteer for three hours one morning a week in an ELL classroom for homeless kids. After a week of driving my girls to their various classes, practices, and lessons, that short stint in a classroom leaves me crying with fatigue, fat ankles, and a migraine.

    But, yeah, that heat is a killer--no matter how much help from friends you have! I live in AZ where we've had temps around 110 for about 4 months now and if I have to go in and out of the heat more than like twice (quick trips from the car to the store, not long schleps with 30 5yos!), I know I will be in bed with blinding headaches and nausea.

    My hat is off to you for what you still manage to accomplish despite a body that fights you at every turn!