“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” – Doctor Who
In the last couple of weeks the weather’s done that thing again: it’s moved from too hot to too cold in one smooth leap. It did it the other way round at the beginning of the summer. Apparently my body is now only comfortable in a miniscule range of temperatures, which, excitingly, changes with the seasons just to ensure that it can never be the right temperature.
This means that when the weather’s cold, I need my room to be heated to above 21˚C and often significantly warmer than that, in order to feel comfortable. In the summer, on the other hand, I really need it to be below 20˚C for me to feel comfy. Air conditioning isn’t common in the UK, not in people’s homes, so the last few summers have been too hot for me, like, all the time. And when I say “comfortable”, that really is having an impact on how I function.
In the winter… well, it’s easy to say, “Just layer! Wear more clothes!” But it’s more complicated than that, because putting clothes on and taking them off takes a surprising amount of energy. I do wear more clothes, in fact, and it helps, but I just can’t with taking things on and off all day long, especially when it’s things like jumpers and extra legwear. The first couple of winters I was ill and realised my cold tolerance had disappeared, I bought lots of layers and thermal clothing. They’re now mostly useless to me.
And this is where the electric heater comes in, because everyone else in the house likes it much cooler than I do! My sister, who also has ME/CFS, can’t deal with heat at all and is constantly trying to make her room cooler. Our mum is somewhere in between the two of us. So about halfway through last winter, she extracted an electric heater from the garage (where it has lived since one terrible winter when the heating broke down and we couldn’t afford to fix it).
The heater now lives in my room. It’s on wheels, so it’s relatively easy for me to move around if I need to. It means that I can always have my room as warm as I need it. Sometimes I only need to put it on for ten minutes a couple of times in a day, other times it’ll be on and off all day long. But the bottom line is that it keeps me warm and that keeps me functioning and means I can do things like writing this blog post.
May your pile of good things continue to grow!