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“Temperature Disregulation.” “Climate Change” and the CPS survivor

May 30, 2012

Straight from the wordsmiths at WebMD, we can learn that “Pain also increases in the presence of temperature changes, most often cold temperatures” when CPS is involved. Well, I and the rest fo us at the Alliance can assure you that heat is probably worse. All through April and May, the weather has been fractious: sunny and up into the 80s on one day, rainy and in the 40s the next. Yet even as we were whipsawed through the changes, there were still days which felt *good*: clear, low 70s, a slight breeze. Those are the days when I can go outside, and try to do a bit of gardening, always one of my great loves. Unfortunately, I am so weak after my November hospitalization that “gardening” consisted of me planting seeds in planters, pulling up a few weeds, and directing Jake as to what to do. Through it all, however, was the dreadful knowledge that the siege was approaching.Summer is a siege for us: too hot and too humid to move, even in our air-conditioned rooms. Going outside? You might as well stick us in the fiery furnace with Shadrach. Mesach, and Abednego.The angel doesn’t seem to include us for protection, unfortunately

Yesterday was Memorial Day. the traditional start of Summer here in the US. Here in central New Jersey, the temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit, and 54% humidity. The entire week is forecast to contain more of the same …. perhaps dropping down to a cooling “high 70s” by the weekend.The misery has begun, and it will probably endure until October.

For CPS survivors, there are no “Winter” or “Summer.” There are only “The Freezing” and “The Roasting.” This is the result of what  is called “temperature disregulation” in the medical texts. What it means is that CPS survivors no longer have the ability to adjust to changes in external temperature.Our bodies cannot adapt to cold below 62 Fahrenheit, or above 76 Fahrenheit. It’s a very narrow band. What happens when we are placed into tghose situations? Our pain goes up proportionately, based on the deviance from our “comfort zone.” The sensations of freezing cold grows unbearable. The humid heat makes affects me the way it affected Katherine Hepburn in “The African Queen. there’s a sense of being driven crazy because there is no escape. It’s a familiar problem to us; just look at this discussion on the Facebook CPS page.

There are two prominent effects of the heat; the first is that perspiration remains trapped against the body. It never seems to evaporate, because the changes in body temperature that would dispel it never occur. The second is that the heat exacerbates spasticity. All the muscles on my stroked, CPS-side contract, clenching like a fist. It’s especially prominent in the long muscles of my arm, the triceps and biceps, and the leg muscles, the quadriceps and the glutes. It’s like an unending charley hose. Brittany in our Facebook CPS group told us yesterday that residents of the UK and Commonwealth nations call it a “dead leg,” a “granddaddy’, or a “chopper.” In Australia it is also known as a “corky.”

So now it will be even more agony until the few weeks in the autumn when the temperature breaks for about six weeks before the freezing and the blizzards start again. Climate change is going to be very hard on CPS patients. The extremes of cold and heat will cause perpetual misery. If you can’t afford electricity to power your air conditioners or your space heaters, you will not be able to escape it, either. Will there be a band of “Temperate Zone” weather left? Small geographical regions, protected by their beneficent placement by oceans or protected by mountains? It’s beginning to be obvious that none of the countries that are the big emitters of greenhouse gases are going to change their ways., because there is too much money invested in the system as it is. But how are we, as individuals, able to prepare for a meteoroligical future that is going to be both as unpredictable, and as destructive, as Godzilla?


One Comment leave one →
  1. Teresa Garcia permalink
    January 26, 2014 2:04 AM

    I have an upper limit of exactly 76 degrees F also. Matches to the degree. I hadn’t determined a lower limit but your 62 sounds about right.

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