Women in winter coat and knit hat walking on icy pavement

A bleak(ish) midwinter: MS and cold weather

Who needs a barometer when you have MS?

I find the cold makes everything sore – my joints, my feet, my skin, even my brain (what’s left of it). It’s painful. I’m bemused, because I also have extreme heat intolerance.

In the summer, I swelter. I melt like a Funny Feet ice cream. I have mini-fans stashed everywhere, one of which emits a fine spray of water. This makes my already unruly hair frizzier than usual and my face blend from pillar-box red to sun-bleached terracotta.

In short, I look pretty scary.

Radiator rave

Now we are in winter, I have a different problem. I consulted with my MS nurses who have sadly confirmed that it’s possible to be both heat and cold intolerant with MS. Great. Something to do with the brain’s inability to regulate temperature.

When I get home from work in the winter, I put the heating on and the chattering teeth of my son (aka The Teenager) stop momentarily. Yet within an hour, I have the kitchen door wide open, and welcome the Arctic breeze despite his indignant protestations.

The radiators go on. They go off. They go back on again. It’s an endless merry-go-round. Hot, cold, hot, cold, freezing, boiling.

Hygge home

Ever the trend-setter, I have embraced the Hygge mentality, the newly-fashionable Danish trend of hand-knitted blankets, flickering candles and a generally cosy atmosphere. Unfortunately for The Teenager, the candles are often the primary source of heat as I yet again turn the radiators off.

Is it possible to find a happy medium when you share a house with people who don’t have MS, no matter what the season?

Is there any sensation more fantastic, when faced with a flush or heat intolerance, than rolling onto the other, blissfully cool side of the bed?

Probably not.

The art of layering

I am thankful my de-icer has only been used three or four times this winter, even though I start work obscenely early.

I wear four layers of clothing, cunningly discarding a layer with each hour of work until I’m left with my t-shirt and it’s coffee time.

The pain of heat and cold intolerance will linger and it can be brutal but I will take it on my (frozen) chin.