Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baby It’s Cold Outside

According to my phone this morning the temperature was hovering at a balmy nine degrees and a cyclonic wind pushed the “real feel” way below zero. My last therapy appointment was today at 11:00 a.m. I dreaded going outside and would have loved to burrow under the covers and drink coffee. But, dang, I couldn’t miss my last appointment.

At least I was geared up for it to be my last one. I was a little concerned since Monday as I entered the school to watch my granddaughter play basketball, I tripped on the threshold. My right shoe came off and I landed splat on the floor a short nanosecond later. Holy cow, to add insult to injury, I landed on the very arm I had been working on in therapy.

After the initial pain and agony, I spent some quality hours on a heat pad. I downed some ibuprofen and didn’t feel too bad on Tuesday, my day off from therapy. By this morning, I was ready to give it a whirl.

Which brings me back to the weather. I layered my clothing and put on my heaviest coat before I headed out the door. When I got to Peak Performance the parking lot was much emptier than I’d ever seen it. Sure enough, they had a lot of cancellations. After my therapy, I headed for home. It was too darned cold to do anything else.

Cold weathers seems to breed misery. There’s nothing that says “Big Chill” like frozen water pipes or a car that won’t start. I remember the days when we drove an old vehicle, and Jim would get up every few hours to start it up so that we would be able to go to work.

Every summer we complain about how hot it is outside, but when winter hits, we decide that the heat of summer wasn’t so bad after all. There’s nothing like getting hit with an icy north wind to make you long for the dog days of summer.

This frigid winter weather can be hazardous to life and limb. The weather advisory on my phone warned of frostbite and hypothermia. During a cold snap in November, two homeless men died in our town. I can’t even imagine how frightening it would be to be homeless when wind chills are expected to be twenty below zero.

This type of temperatures are also dangerous for people with dementia. Seventy percent of people with dementia wander. While this is a concern in decent weather, severely cold weather presents a real and imminent danger. Even dressed for the weather, time outside must be limited. Too often people with dementia wander off without a coat, hat, and gloves.

Cold weather isn’t too bad in a well insulated house. I remember when we lived in a mobile home water froze overnight in a cup I had left in the sink. We’d crank the heat up as high as it would go, but the furnace couldn’t compete with the wind whistling around poorly installed windows and doors.

I feel for people who live in older homes that are not well insulated. Another time we lived in an older home and the propane lines froze. We sent the kids to their grandma and grandpa’s house while we tried to get the furnace working again and keep the water from freezing. I remember us huddling under a blanket using a hair dryer to generate heat. If that happened now, I’d probably just check into a hotel until the spring thaw.

I shouldn’t complain too much about the cold while I’m warm and cozy. I know that not everyone can keep warm in this type of weather and that bothers me.

Yes, baby, it’s cold outside, but better days are coming. I guess the cheery thought is—spring is only seventy-one days away.

Copyright © January 2015 by L.S. Fisher
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