Coping With MS and Cold Weather
The snow is flying in and it is time to admit it. Winter is here in full force. I have never been a snow bunny and I don’t intend on becoming one. However, I have learned that the winter passes much more quickly and with much less stress, once I have my survival plan in place.
I know there are plenty of you out there who live in nice, warm places like Florida. Kudos to you or your ancestors, whoever it was that decided to live in a nice place where the snow doesn’t fly and swimming outside is totally possible on Christmas. I applaud you during these cold months and I dream of living someplace like yours someday.
As it is, I live in Ohio. Ohio winters, while not the worst in the country, are not for the faint of heart. I live near Cleveland. Lake effect snow is just a fact of life here. We have it all, arctic winds, slush, ice, sleet, multiple blizzards a year, etc.
I remember my college roommate, who came from California, asking me in March of that year if spring ever comes in Ohio. Spring does come, eventually. Ohio is just really great at making you appreciate it once it does arrive. Kind of like how a lost person in the desert appreciates a tall, cold glass of water.
But I digress. MS and cold weather don’t exactly go together, and my mission today is to tell you how I get through this frozen tundra of a season in one piece, with a smile on your face. There are three main things to concern yourself with: safety, comfort, and entertainment.
Keep Warm on the Go
Safety comes first. Winter comes with all the normal checklists of safety requirements that we all need to think about. People with MS need to take that list and add their own personal touches to each line item in order to feel secure.
For instance, my car has nice new tires for the snow, great windshield wipers, and a tune-up. It also has extra blankets in the back and hand warmers in the glove box. These things are great for anyone to have but I feel more attuned to having them since my legs like to go numb at the first sign of wind and I quickly lose my ability to understand my actual body temp.
Buy Appropriate Footwear
Ice is another big one for me nowadays. Before I had my first relapse – or would that be called a lapse? I don’t know – I could walk on ice like a pro. It is something we Ohio folk get quite good at. I have to admit that it was a point of pride for me to be able to wear my favorite high heels out on the iciest of nights and walk with confidence across an unsalted parking lot to a great restaurant. I am not capable of this anymore. I have had to get creative with my footwear.
Men, you are very fortunate in this regard because they make even the nicest dress shoes for you with tread for winter wear, so that you can look great without falling down. Women are not as fortunate. I have had to reevaluate every pair that I own. This is a big deal for me because I love shoes and I refuse to let stupid MS get in the way of me owning every gorgeous pair that I can afford.
My solution for this quandary is simple – boots. Boots are so wonderful. You can get boots in every size, shape or look. It is not too hard to find a beautiful pair of boots, with heels and tread no less, that will still look super stylish and sexy for a night out on the town. I have boots for every situation and need. My favorites on the coldest of days are those fuzzy shearling boots that everyone wears nowadays. They can look frumpy if worn too often, but I love sliding my toes into those cozy, furry boots. It is like walking on a cloud and that is a feeling that I will always enjoy for as long as I still have feeling in my toes. They are the ultimate in comfort.
Next page: two more tips for coping with MS and cold weather.