As it is officially ‘scorchio’ here and in the UK, I thought it would be good to write about how we’re coping with high temperatures after a stroke. In truth, we’ve got a lot to learn and I’ve noticed that the heat is really draining, Even though Mac is making good progress, the heat is highlighting the effects of the stroke a lot. The tiredness and physical exhaustion are to be expected, but we’ve never experienced them like this before.
There comes a point in the day when Mac just has to stop and rest. I’ve taken to having a 20 minute yoga nidra nap in the afternoons too, something I used to do last summer and I can highly recommend. I think you feel tired anyway with the heat and I wish I could lounge around like the animals all day but that’s tricky when there’s work to do.
It’s so hot at the moment and I know I live in Spain and it is summer so shouldn’t expect anything else but it feels challenging this time to deal with the heat. As I write, I’m sitting in my office, it’s 6.30 am and already 20 degrees. I was on a call yesterday at 5 pm and the temperature was showing 39. There is a massive chunk of the day from about 2 pm until 10 pm when it’s just too hot to be outside (or do anything much!)
Lately, we’ve been up and working at about 6 am which is crazy if you consider we’re trying to slow down and work less.
I really don’t like this about the summer here it feels like such a waste to be indoors and I also feel guilty because, growing up in the North East of England, whenever the sun came out we had to go outside and ‘make the most of it’ because you never knew when it would appear again! And I still feel like that now even though you really can’t be outside all day every day here.
Early mornings are a great way of coping with high temperatures after a stroke
Summer is not my favourite season, except for the mornings, I do love the cool and quiet of early summer mornings which is why we’re both happy to be up and about before dawn especially when the moon is as she is right now, still pretty full and looking amazing dropping behind the mountains as we go for our morning walk.
Lately, we’ve been up and working at about 6 am which is crazy if you consider we’re trying to slow down and work less. But by 1 pm or earlier sometimes my husband is finished, either naturally or he physically can’t do anything else. Our afternoons are pretty free (for lounging around like the animals) I have to say that while we both might be in front of the computer at 6amish, we’re not there the whole morning!
This morning, for example, we’re going to the pool. On Wednesday we spent a couple of hours in the woods having coffee and collecting sticks and we do the local market on a Tuesday morning which takes a couple of hours. So doing some work and also other activities in the morning is essential for dealing with heat and stroke recovery, afternoons are not for running around. I’d forgotten but the medication makes Mac tired anyway, so of course, it makes sense that the high temperatures will intensify those effects.
These past couple of weeks have also been punctuated with dentists and doctor’s visits again draining anyway but more so when it’s hot. It’s not something we’re used to either. Having not seen a doctor or a dentist in over 15 years, Mac is now seeing them all on a regular basis and if I’m honest it’s a nightmare when all you want to do is take things slow and easy, I hate having to run around for appointments. Because he hasn’t seen a dentist in so long, what we thought was a simple gum infection, actually requires a deep clean done in two stages, three extractions, and a filling. Plus regular checkups over the next year or so.
Trying to take it easy
On top of that, we have to get approval from the doctor and more blood tests because of the medication he’s on, specifically the blood thinners. So, recovery from stroke, as we’re learning, is not just “take it easy, do your exercises and eat well,” it’s a whole new way of life. Appointments for this and that, blood taken here and there, and follow-ups and trips to the chemist, my diary has never been so full.
It’s also the after-effects of these trips and visits too that take their toll. Sometimes we’ve had to write off the whole day as we did after our first dentist’s visit. On Wednesday after seeing the nurse to get blood taken for testing, we went to the woods to collect some sticks for winter and have a coffee. Nico came with us and he was grumpy after playing Minecraft until goodness knows what time and not having much sleep which didn’t help in the relaxation department!
The sun was already beating down by 9 am and one of the ‘sticks’ was actually a whole tree and took the three of us a long time to saw it up (I still won’t let the chainsaw come out) It felt like hard work, not the relaxing morning we’d planned and I dunno maybe it wasn’t sensible to do physical work after having blood taken? Mac did say he was half expecting some juice and a biscuit afterward as the nurse didn’t seem to want to stop!
Patience and going with the flow
Something else to learn is patience. It should be easy, right to slow down, and just let things take as long as they need to, just go with the flow and not rush? But actually, this is the thing we’re finding hardest of all, even though the heat is forcing us to stop and slow down, I still find myself fighting it and feeling guilty. Feeling guilty for doing too much, and then feeling guilty when I do stop and rest. Maybe it’s because there’s such a lot to think about and do, I’m worried about missing something or letting people down, or forgetting something important.
On a positive note, my food management has been a bit better this week, which I’ll talk about in the next blog. I am still struggling with making salads interesting though which is something I want to get better at because, as I’ve discovered, a spicy chili when it’s 38 degrees outside is not the best thing to eat at dinner!
To summarise, I am learning that stroke recovery in hot weather needs a bit more careful thought and planning beyond drinking plenty of water and trying to stay cool.
- The pills and the heat are mainly making things feel harder and my husband is getting tired more quickly than he had been.
- Early morning walks are lovely and trying to get as much done in the morning as we can, means that it’s okay to lounge around in the afternoon, which is just as well because often there is no energy for anything else!
- I need to up my salad game so we can enjoy dinner without melting.
What are your top tips for staying cool and if you’re helping someone with stroke recovery in hot weather, what are your experiences?