Thursday, June 29, 2006

Too Darn Hot

"According to the latest Report
Ev'ry average girl you know
Much prefers her lovely doggie to court
When the temperature is low,
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot,
Mister Adam
For his madam.
Is not,
'Cause it's too, too
Too darn hot,
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot."

---from "Kiss Me, Kate"

The past week or so, it's just been TOO DARN HOT!!!!!

But Monday was the absolute worst...according to one station, it was over 100 degrees. So I, not wanting to end up in the hospital if I could possibly avoid it, decided to do something about it.

I'll back up for a moment and say: I've been feeling very, very sick lately. And an unexpected heat-wave that started last week was NOT helping matters at all. A few days ago, I was actually trapped on my stairs for half an hour, unable to get up and walk down or up. I couldn't keep even liquids down, and the pain in my face was unbearable. Saturday was awful, and Sunday was even worse. I watched the Weather Channel on Saturday night, horrified by the prediction of a 103-degree Monday.

Now, I do have air conditioners, but this is an old house. Even with air conditioners and fans, there's no way I could combat a 103-degree day.

That's when I decided to take the advice of some of my fellow MS-ers from my support group: I booked a hotel room for the day.

Check-in was 4PM, but after explaining the situation to the front desk clerk, they graciously allowed us to check in at 1:00, thereby avoiding the worst of the heat. Jonathan went to the room ahead of us, and turned the air conditioner on full-blast. I packed an overnight back for all of us, and headed out to brave the heat.

It was so hot, even at just a little past noon, that I could feel the heat in waves, crushing me. I nearly fell over, and had to be helped into the car. Stunned, all I could say was, "It's so HOT!"

By the time we arrived at the hotel, the room was nice and icy-cool. The kids looked upon it as an adventure, and looked forward to the promise of swimming in the hotel's pool the next morning before check-out. The room we procured was on the second floor, but right next to the elevator. It was also right next to the vending machines. A perfect room for someone with MS.

Jonathan had to work for a few hours that evening, so the kids and I settled in and made the most of it. We watched kids' shows on the TV. We ate vending-machine cookies and drank Sierra Mists, putting extras in the nice-sized fridge provided in the room. At dinner time, I ordered from a pizzeria we'd never eaten from before...and we were pleasantly surprised. The pizza and breadsticks were delicious, and the Ceasar salad I ordered for Jonathan to eat when he returned was surprisingly large for the small price. I am disappointed that there isn't one closer to our home, that we could order delivery from more often.

To wind down the evening, Wren played her Game Boy while Phoenix read the first few chapters of Terry Brooks' "The Elfstones of Shannara," and Eden played on the floor in front of an episode of SpongeBob. I myself brought along my well-read and much-loved copy of Carole Nelson Douglas' "Six of Swords." I pulled a chair up in front of the air conditioner and just enjoyed myself, feeling closer to "normal" than I have in weeks.

It wasn't total bliss, however. When it came time for sleeping (and my much-anticipated Monday viewing of "Hell's Kitchen"; I am a big Gordon Ramsey fan), Eden decided to rebel in a BIG way. At first, she just jumped on the bed she was sharing with her sister. Then she began to throw a huge temper tantrum, screaming and kicking for a good 45 minutes, making me appreciate another quality to that particular room: no neighbor was booked on one side, and the elevator was on the other. She may have been loud, but thankfully, we were the only people who knew it.

No sooner did Eden and Wren finally fall asleep, than did Phoenix had a problem. He'd brought along his sleeping bag, intending to sleep on the floor...but it was too uncomfortable. He tried, the poor thing, but it couldn't be done. I then saw that the girls were only taking up maybe a third of the bed they were in, so Phoenix jumped in and slept at their feet. It was adorable.

When Jonathan returned, we watched TV and ate salads, completely comfortable in the cool room....which, by that time, was far cooler than our house has ever been. He went to sleep easily...sadly, I was not so lucky. The pain I've been struggling with would not let go of me, even in this much-cooler environment. So I stayed up all night, as I have pretty much every night for the past two weeks. Hot damn, am I tired...

The next morning we partook of the free continental breakfast...which was very nice: English muffins, banana-nut muffins, Cheerios for the girls, and fresh fruit.

Shortly afterwards, we hit the pool. My plan had been to go out there with Jonathan and the kids, and if Eden threw a fit, to take her back to the room. I had no plans to be out there for more than a few minutes or to get into the pool...but I discovered yet another bonus to this hotel: early in the morning, half of the pool is completely in the shade! The water was icy cold. I actually got into the pool, the first time I've been able to swim out of doors in probably 7 or 8 years. As for Eden, she LOVED swimming! Completely fearless, that one. She tried to worm out of Jonathan's arms and take off on her own! She didn't want to get out of the pool, but it was time to change clothes and check-out.

I waited in the lobby while Jonathan went to the car and got the air-conditioning going. It was just starting to heat up outside when we left, but it only got to maybe 85 on Tuesday...a big difference from Monday, and absolutely workable in our old house.

I don't know why I was so resistant to this idea for so long. All last summer, people in my support group would tell me about going to a hotel on hotter days, and how much of a difference a day out of the house made. It was such a small thing, and yet, it DID make a huge difference. I felt so much better leaving than I did going in.

I learned a few things from this experience: one, it's not necessary for me to sweat and suffer on very hot days. The hotel we stayed at was very nice and relatively inexpensive...and certainly, VERY inexpensive when compared to the alternative: three days in the hospital for steroids. I need to work on this guilt I have about "wasting" money like that. I always feel guilty if we spend money on me, because we already have to spend so MUCH money on me, that spending any more just bothers me. Jonathan is forever telling me to get over it, and now I know it's in my best interests to listen to him on this.

I also learned what I needed to bring next time, for there will be a next time (we've decided that any day that is over a certain degree will be a Hotel Day). I needed to bring better food and drinks for me and the kids, now that I know there is a fridge there. That's not to say I won't let them indulge in the candy machine; that's part of the fun. I'm also looking into a local delivery service that delivers food from various restaurants to hotels and the like. The idea of being in the hotel and munching on some good Chinese food appeals to me. I also need to bring more toys and so on for the kids, as they did get a little bored. I'm also looking into cooling clothing, because I didn't really realize how staying in the house all the time because of the heat was making me so depressed. A swimsuit for myself will also be in my bag next time (wearing a wet bra is no fun). I really loved swimming; I felt so much lighter in the water, and it was so much easier to move. And finally, we will definately bring some water-wings and swim toys next time! Especially for Fearless Eden.

I guess the lesson in this little experiment was this: it's ok to do things like this for myself. It makes me healthier and everyone in the family happier. It's a win-win situation.

Heat be damned, I WILL NOT be trapped in my house this summer! I will go to hotels. I will swim. I will buy cooling clothing and enjoy myself. And I will NOT feel guilty about it.

Every cloud has a silver lining, they say. I'm learning now that every sunbeam has one, too....

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At 12:32 PM, Blogger Ron Southern said...

I don't know why you don't bore me to death with your long stories, but mostly you don't! Passing through, again.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger mdmhvonpa said...

excellent plan! We have Sesame Place within a 20 minute drive so that is where we usually end up on overly hot days. Costs a bit but if you go there more than twice a summer, you save a lot with season passes.


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