Trust me, I am not a reminder service, nor am I a medical professional, but with the soaring heat of summer, it may not be a bad idea for a few reminders to help keep your life a little safer:
- If you are taking Sinemet, pay close attention to direct sun exposure. Make sure to wear sunscreen and protection from the rays, so as not to burn.
- Check your medications for sun exposure side effects and talk to your neurologist and dermatologist about any moles, rashes, burns or bumps that are irregular, uneven, painful, changing color, or simply suspicious.
- Some of us with Parkinson’s have the challenge of self-regulating our body temperature. It is so vitally important to keep cool and to monitor if the sun is having any impact on you.
- Keep hydrated! I had a friend who was only drinking a little more than 4 ounces a day. When I found out how little he was drinking and he came back to hydration, my wife and I were amazed to see voice improvement, better cognition, better balance, and I dare say, a healthier look to his skin.
- If you have a pet or child, never leave them in a closed car without cool air blowing and water access.
- Don’t forget that many surfaces like concrete, blacktop, decking surfaces, and even wood can get blazing hot, making it very uncomfortable for paws and bare feet. If you have poor circulation or neuropathy, this could be very important.
- Be aware of your surroundings and your comfort always. Keeping aware will avoid some of those sun hazards.
- People with Parkinson’s are notorious for being deficient in vitamin D. Sunlight is great to help replenish your vitamin D level but pay close attention to too much direct exposure. Choose your time of day outside wisely and monitor your local weather for the safest time to walk your dog or go to the garden.
- Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!
- Be sure to remember to always crack open at least one car window so you don’t return to a blistering seat and stifling air!
Use good, safe, solid, logic about being in the sun at its least intensity and keep cool!
I paid the price for trying to save some time on the return from my vacation to Seattle. In the hope of maximizing my schedule, I elected to take a red-eye, only to return with a nasty flu bug that has cost me a week of productivity, discomfort, and general health. Even worse, my best friend and bride, Angela, suffered a more severe version of stomach flu, thus disturbing her digestion and resulting in a close call with severe dehydration. The dehydration led us to an urgent care facility. It was not a night to relish.
I avoid emergency rooms, clinics, hospitals, or any place that houses needles or scalpels. Needless to say, when my spouse began experiencing stomach cramps, backache, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, I knew it was time to punt and call on the medical community. Angela no longer could hold fluid down without severe cramping and/or nausea or vomiting. After 2 days of no sustenance and minimal liquids, this was getting more and more worrisome. We both worried about the other’s malaise and colorless face. We tried to take care of one another in our stupors but neither of us barely had the energy to do anything but sleep and even that was a challenge, at times.
It was Friday night at 7PM when we arrived at the emergency care facility. There was a calm before the storm in the waiting room, for screaming children, bleeding noses, and paramedics would be by to join us shortly. There was no wait at the counter, as we explained why we were there. We would explain at least 3 more times later to the doctor, nurses, and staff. Following the paperwork, waiting in the lounge, and watching a news story on an at large serial killer, I was anxious to see my wife experience some relief from her constant stomach and body aches.
After what seemed to be an eternity, we were called in and Angela received a gurney and sheet thinner than a tissue. She was unable to get comfortable and the staff did little to try. The gown was neither flattering nor thermally functional. Following several warnings to anyone who would listen, we explained that Angela’s veins even when hydrated were a challenge to locate, but with 2 days of severe dehydration, connecting with any fresh hemoglobin would take a detective with remarkable talent. After 3 nurses, 1 lab tech, and a doctor, Angela had bruises, needle holes, but no IV fluid bags that she needed so badly. Two hours of tension, frustration, and being in a hostile environment was enough for us.
We elected to scrap the IV, give Angela a dissolving anti-nausea pill so that she might take her own fluids at home, and get her resting comfortably back in her own bed. The pill broke the cycle and she soon was able to retain fluids and mended quickly. She still has the bruises from the needles that did her little good. The bruises are slowly fading–the memory is still quite vivid.