As I mentioned, I had to venture out in the cold (really cold) weather yesterday to visit that nun. My husband warmed the car and I donned layers – turtle neck, sweater, very warm coat, and mittens. I didn’t want to feel too bulky, but I also didn’t want to freeze if we didn’t get a close parking space. I own tons of fleece-lined leather gloves – some with the tags still attached; unfortunately, I can no longer wear them. I can’t use my immovable right hand to get a glove on my left, and I can’t uncurl my right fingers enough to get them into the glove. Solution? Mittens! Yet, even with them, I can’t uncurl my right hand – the mitten just serves as a warm cover.
The car was comfortably warm and we picked up our two friends for the visit. I had to play navigator for the ride, which meant I had to really concentrate on directions. We don’t have a GPS or smart phone, so we (I) had to rely on a combination of Google maps and directions from the home’s website. Oddly enough, my husband used to live in the area, and I was familiar with it as well. It had just been a long time and we needed guidance. Even with several detours and a few wrong turns, we found it. My husband drove us right to the front entrance, and got my wheelchair for my girlfriend to push. Because I was so cold, I was huddled up and that is a huge mistake. By the time we found Sister and exchanged hugs all around, I was suffering some spasms.
However, I shrugged it off and began to enjoy the visit. Because we were short on chairs, I stayed in the (not well padded or supportive) wheelchair. Another huge mistake. After two hours of non-stop chatter and catching up, we began our exit. Of course I needed to visit the facilities and that’s when I realized how stiff I had become. I could barely get out of the chair, and my legs refused to follow my commands. Of course, there was a chorus of, “Are you all right?” “Here let me help you.” and “What happened?” How do I explain my mangled neuro system and the wicked tricks it plays? I laughed off the concerns, took care of business, and accepted help with my coat.
We took a long trek to meet Sister’s friends and then my husband went for the car. Even with just a short time in the cold weather, I was cramping up again. I thought I’d be fine for the forty-five minute ride, except that it lasted for two hours!! Somewhere we made a wrong turn, and in typical Y chromosome fashion, he refused to admit we were lost. Now, I’m hunched up in annoyance and anxiety. Finally, I made him stop so I could ask for directions. After a few more wrong turns, we were on the expressway – at rush hour. My poor friends – one had family coming for dinner, and the other had a 6:30 appointment. Eventually, we delivered them safely amid my profuse apologies, and headed to our house.
Once I went to dislodge myself from the car back into the frigid zone, I couldn’t move. My husband helped me into the house and I just dropped on the chair. It’s just so hard to explain that 1) a disease that needs avoidance from heat can also render one near paralyzed from very cold weather; 2) sitting for long periods of time causes immobility; and 3) even the most enjoyable experience can often result in total exhaustion. That’s why I usually just suffer in silence and laugh off the concern from others. Nobody would really understand.