In this guest blog Joanne Chapman shares her top tips for MSers who may be worried about the snow arriving again during the Bank Holiday weekend over Easter. Do you have any top tips you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to find out more about writing a guest blog for MS-UK!
Third time lucky, not! Like me, you don’t want snow for Easter but the weather man says cold weather is on the way for the long weekend. It’s been called “the squirrel from the south” rather than a repeat of “beast from the east”, so it’s probably won’t cause the same chaos but the old girl guide in me is screaming “be prepared”.
What did I advise a few weeks back? Not much has changed with me. I’m still recovering from a relapse (MS for sh&t!) where my mobility and balance have been challenged. I’ve fallen several times (now looking at an personal alarm, and “No! it doesn’t order a pizza if I press it!”. I’d still be rich if I got paid to sleep as fatigue is so bad. My writing has been put on the back burner but the wintery weather has inspired me to write.
Shots of the snow chaos hit us all. Little man loves the white stuff. When snow really came down last time, our neighbours played out with little man. I was wanting it to be me but my mobility, balance and energy levels had other ideas. Little man’s daddy drove me us out at the weekend so I could see the snow for myself and little man could have fun with Daddy. One of the issues of bad weather plus my multiple sclerosis (MS) is lots of staying in. I didn’t realise until it happened how rubbish I would feel. If we do get more wintery weather, here are my tips for handling it for those in my boat, or anyone really...
You’ll probably stay in at home if mobility is challenged. It may be safer to sit inside and watch than participate. For little man, I stock up on craft kits, board games, films (I can recommend Peppa’s Cold Winter Day and Peanuts movie for little man) and books. Reading to little man is a great time filler. Ask others to buy children’s magazines. They usually have stories, colouring and sticker fun. Also make sure you have lots of food and drink supplies in to help with the staying in.
When travelling, I make sure I have food, drink, toilet stuff (she wee/incontinence pads, travel potty, toilet roll, baby wipes, carrier bag to put things in, gross but true!), things to entertain little man and help with going out in the cold weather (extra clothes, tissues - the cold brings out a runny nose! - and a blanket). We’ve been putting little man’s blanket on the radiator to place on him during car journeys.
As I’ve fallen a few times, the safest option is staying at home but it isn’t always viable. Slippy snow and ice is super scary for those who have fallen and use mobility aids (my walking stick doesn’t work well in snow!) I didn’t realise you can buy an ice grip for your stick. Other mobility aids like walkers, rollators, scooters or wheelchairs probably don’t work well in the wintery weather, so make sure it’s safe and charge your scooter! Remember you’re no Torvell or Dean! I also wear shoes I know that can help e.g. walking shoes or shoe grips.
Don't put pressure on yourself
It’s OK to feel like you can’t be bothered. But little man is so excited. He’s seen snow in the last few weeks and there was lots of “go outside Mummy”. It’s heart breaking when you have little energy to lift your bum off the sofa, let alone play in the snow. Give yourself a break, if you can. Check weather forecasts and save your energy if you need to go out. I’ve realised that asking for help is not a sign of weakness – so family and friends had fun in the snow with little man, giving me a chance to recharge.
Protect your mind
Asking for help helps you to rest but there is the realisation that you can’t play in the snow like yesteryear. Emotions come to a head. Grief. Anger. Frustration. Envy. Social media has a lot to answer for that. Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely to see what others are doing on their snowy days but it’s a reminder that you have limited mobility. I’ve cried a lot recently because I want to be the one to play in the snow with little man. In the interim, try not to be alone, hook up with others whether it’s friends who can come to you, speaking to social media contacts (I asked my local MS Society group for best shoe grips recommendations) and plan for brighter days (I’m thinking of summer holidays).
Be more hygge
In the interim, snuggle down, grab a blanket, hot chocolate and biscuits, which may not be great for the waist line but I’m still scoffing! Be like a Dane until the bad weather goes away. Oh we just changed the clocks, so Spring is on the way - honest!
Stay safe everyone! I’d love to know your tips?
You can let Joanne know your top tips, read more or follow Joanne on her blog or search for 'poorlyparents' on Facebook or @Mummywithmsjmhc on Twitter.