Winter joy

It’s strange the things you find to fill your days, the things you find yourself not just doing, but thinking about. Despite the fact that they say that those with MS, have huge issues with heat, I personally, also have huge issues with the cold. For some reason, this winter seems to be hitting me badly, which with a limited budget, means I find myself sitting freezing and too worried about the bills, to do anything about it. It’s rare for it to be this cold so early in the winter, we actually had our first snow the other night, something we don’t normally see before the middle of January. I know for a fact that the sudden change will be without a doubt making me feel it more accurately, but I am laired up with clothes and huddled under my sleeping bag all day long, and still freezing. At the moment, I am wearing my underwear, two pairs of socks, my trousers, a top, three thin cardigans, as thin layers are supposed to be better than thick, the sleeping bag open (safer for standing then having it zipped up) but scrunched into folds around my legs and feet and I am still cold. I don’t know why, but despite sitting in a draft free area, it is my back and my legs that are always the coldest. I have found myself reluctantly turning on the fire in the living room but counting the minutes in fear of the bills, then turning it off again within the hour, still feeling almost as cold as I was before I lit it. I know there has to be an answer, so I set too, thinking about what was needed and how to go about it.

We don’t have central heating, at least not in the way most people think of it. Ours is slightly odd to most but until this year, has been more than ample. We have one storage heater that is in the hallway and if you leave all the doors open, for normal people, it is more than sufficient to heat the entire house. I don’t have a thermometer any longer, but I used to check it closely and we normally have a temperature of 62 degrees throughout, of course, that bit higher in the hall. Over the last few years, we have improved and improved the insulation levels where ever possible and plugged every possible draft, so it should actually be warmer now than it was back then, it’s just I don’t feel it that way. Without a doubt, the worse my mobility has become, the colder I am finding each winter, so now that I hardly move at all, well-being cold isn’t really a surprise. Unfortunately, knowledge doesn’t keep you warm, but I am hopeful that having an active brain, just might.

Clearly, the problem is the fact that we have just one heat sources and that that heat source isn’t mobile. The problem was clear, I had to find a way of moving that heat to where I am sat here behind my desk. I built my desk many years ago, well built, makes it sound as though I started from scratch I didn’t, what I did was far more an alteration of purpose. I had two tables that were the perfect height to work at, both had a shelf half way down, so I removed one and placed them together in an “L” shape. Then I made a new top from pine for them that joined to two together in a way that means they can’t come apart. I then also out of pine, boxed them in along the longest side and what would be the top of the “L”, created a small shelf at the top of the “L” on the inside and waxed the entire thing to make it match the pine throughout the house. My desk along with some bookshelves sits within an alcove at the back of our living room that is raised by about 8 inches, above the rest of the room, forming a workspace that is still part of the room, but separate in feeling. So there is my problem, how to heat this area and keep the heat here, despite the fact that ceiling is 15 feet above me, and there isn’t a wall to stop the heat leaving.

The answer is actually very simple and almost free. So far I have spent only £11 and I’m hopeful I will be wonderfully warm in the very near future. I have bought one of those space blankets, not to wear, but to line the inside of the box-shaped by my desk and the wall and within which I sit. This once stapled in place, will stop as much heat as possible from escaping, they claim to capture 70% of the heat, so hears hoping that is correct. Next, I have bought a large metal tin/box, which will hold a couple of bricks and some sand to fill any gaps. I already own one of those food warmers you might have seen in restaurants which have a couple of tea light candles placed within to keep the food warm. I intend to place the tin and it’s contents on top of the storage heater at night so that it pick up and stores any escaping heat. During the day, I am going to light the tea lights and place them, with the tin on top, on the shelf under the base leg of “L” shaped desk, the candles will help to add more heat, while it radiates its stored heat, into my isolated area. Voila, free heat for the rest of the winter.

I haven’t stopped there, as once I thought of that one, I also came up with a way of getting hot food on the two days that I don’t have help to cook my lunch. I know we don’t think of storage heater as giving out enough food to cook, but they do give out enough to warm. Yesterday, I warmed up to eating temperature a sachet of lentils and salmon and a tin of soup, both safely and to a temperature that made me feel good inside. It doesn’t take much work, just putting a dish with the closed sachet inside, a mug and the tin all on top of the heater, with a hood of tin foil to trap even more heat. After an hour, I shook the tin to mix the heat through, and an hour later, carried it all still sealed and safely on my lap to my desk, where I served up and ate my lunch. As it gets nowhere near boiling there is no danger of the can bursting, but it’s hot enough to be both pleasant and warming. Both the cooker and the microwave are dangerous for me to use these days, not to mention the danger of carrying hot food around the house, and on top of all of that, this is free.

Yes, I am feeling somewhat smug about my ideas, as you get so used to feeling totally useless, that coming up with something that is easy to do and so practical, has been a personal boost. It also proves that despite being a physical wreck and outwardly a gibbering idiot, my brain is still active within its stupid shell. I’m still trying to work out what there is about all of it that Adam doesn’t like, as any time I have mentioned what I am doing, he is distinctly silent about it, in a way that says he doesn’t like it. When I ask him, he still says nothing but hasn’t shown approval towards any of it, in any way what so ever. I’m just hopeful that once I find some warmth again, I will stop hiding in my bed and will feel just that bit more able to do things again. Being this cold has the effect of making me want to stay silent, still and even preferably asleep.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 12/11/2014 – Frustration

I know it is totally my own fault and climbing onto my stool and the the worktop, were clearly something I shouldn’t have done on Monday, but my body is really making me pay for it. I don’t know why I was so determined to fix those stupid curtains, it’s not like it hadn’t already waited several months to be fixed, but I was just seeing red and was determined that one from the list of small……

24 thoughts on “Winter joy

  1. Ingenious Pam, reminds me of stories of caveman times of them finding ways to eat and keep warm. What a brilliant idea, candles give off quite a heat especially if trapped in a corner safely like you have done. BRILLIANT, you must feel really chuffed. 🌷 👍 xx

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  2. Your ideas are brilliant.
    I too am very cold. I bought snow skiing clothing which I wear in my house with a hat too! Snow skiing socks too. And it is not even but 50 degrees here. I think if it snowed I would not function at all. Mine is a muscle disease and when I get cold I can’t get unfold. I’ve been contemplating a heating blanket. I hope you are warm soon with your new plan!

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  3. I sure hope it works. I hate being cold. (I say as I’m curled up under a blanket with a sweater and thick socks on). I’m sure if it all works out that Adam will come around. I think he’s just a little protective of you. Much like Stuart is of me.

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    • They are so funny when we find a way of living for ourselves. It is almost as though unless it’s Adam’s idea, or he isn’t personally being proactive in my care, he feels left out. He does so much for me now that I think he sees it as his job to make things right for me, if I do it, well he sulks.

      We have to love them though for being that way, as it’s just them showing their love for us ☺

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  4. Hi Pamela,

    I can totally empathise with your temperature tolerance problems.

    I agree that most MSers seem to suffer from the heat, as do I. But I find I am probably more intolerant of the cold.

    Basically, I am uncomfortable unless it is JUST right. Clearly my inner thermostat is broken; I can be hot when everyone else in the house is cold and, conversely, I can be cold when everyone else is hot. Bloody MS!

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    • I have said for a long time that I am a delicate orchid, I need to be cared for and keep just at the right temperature to thrive. Well, maybe not thrive, but alive. I never used to be bothered what time of year it was, but now, it’s Autumn and Spring that I now find the easiest. As you said Bloody MS!!

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  5. I suffer the opposite, I can’t stand being hot and it actually makes my pain worse and can cause me to pass out. I love my good old fashioned ice bags. Did you know you can fill them with hot water also? That could help you stay warm. It acts just like a hot water bottle, either of which might feel nice on your back.
    I am sure your husband is just worried about safety. Your idea is a great one though. What about heating bricks in the oven like they used to do? Some warmed bricks may radiate heat to your space blanket for hours. Not sure, just an idea…
    As always, I love reading your blog! Stay warm and cozy!

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    • The tin that I bought will be filled with bricks and once it’s sat on top of the storage heater, they will pick up the heat and will be brought through here to my space. I avoid the cooker and kettle, I burn myself all the time so it’s not a good idea, hence me being forced into finding other ways to find heat. Fingers crossed, in the next day or so, I will be lovely and toasty 🙂

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    • I do live in the UK and I have a storage heater and a gas fire, that’s it. I don’t know where you have heard about full systems for free? The closest I remember was a few years ago when they fitted the system and them put it onto your fuel bill over the next twenty years. We struggle with the bills we have, to pay any more is something we can’t afford, hence my trying to come up with a way of moving heat to where I need it. 🙂

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      • What are Boiler Grants?
        Free, and heavily subsidised replacement boilers are available via ECO, a Government Scheme which has been set up to help low-income households access home efficiency improvements to reduce the cost of heating their homes, and to reduce their carbon footprints. If you meet the benefits related criteria, and your current boiler is at least 5 years old (not condensing), you could qualify. It’s as simple as that.

        Boiler Grants are non-repayable, this means you do not have to pay any money back at any time. There are no complicated terms and conditions. If you qualify for a free boiler grant, you can have one installed along with new heating controls (where necessary). The amount of funding you get is determined by the efficiency of your home, so an energy assessment will be carried out free of charge. In some instances a small contribution may be required.
        I’m
        Free Boiler via Government

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      • Thank you for all the information, I am going to ask my husband to look into it for me. I did look at it myself, but from what I can tell, they would fit more storage heaters for us, which wouldn’t really help as we can’t afford to run more of them. We don’t have a boiler of any sort, just a small immersion for hot water, but we do have a mains gas supply. From what I read, they wouldn’t put the radiators in for us, just a boiler, but as I said, Adam will look further into it for us.

        Thanks again for all your help (((Hugs)))

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  6. Hello and good morning hope you are feeling as good as you read.I also feel the cold badly and have a robe which works quite well but some times I need more.It might take a bit of jiggling but I find a hottie gives me hours of warmth.It sits wherever in my lap or by my side.Ive assumed you spk to Adam before he leaves for work to fill it.I also have an elec.blanket with thermostat that’s economical to run.I love the bricks idea,how clever.I think we should be solving the problems of the world.What is the saying,necessity and the mother of invention??Its time for b/fast so I’m going to leave you.Take care,as always sending love.Nx

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    • Thanks Nancy, I’m hoping the brick in the tin works as it’s then a totally free source of heat as I have bags and bags of tealights in the cupboard. We used to use them a lot, then stopped so they’re just sitting there. As you say, it’s amazing what we can come up with, when we have too, especially when money is tight. In many ways, I’m just turning back time, we all used to have just one heat source and moving heat was always done by heating stones, plus we all used to cook on it too. Not that I think I could cook a meal on the storage heater from scratch, but it does heat things up. 🙂

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  7. Sleep. Blissful sleep. It’s often how I deal with many things when life is too hard. Bed is easy to make warm……that grumpy Adam, give him a poke and suggest ‘Penny for his thoughts?’ How else are you meant to know, right? Have you considered wheat bags? I have 4, & put 2 at a time in the microwave with a glass of water. Don’t overheat or they smell burnt. I can only hear or cool my lounge with the doors closed for avordability so I completely hear you there. I move from lounge room to bedroom depending on the time of day and where the sun is…..101; How to survive on a limited income. Lastly, have you thought of Botox for your lower limbs for mobility? I have had it twice as part of a trial in Australia. But I would like to think Britain should be well up on the benefits of Botox. Should ask your doctor. Cheers,H.
    P.S. This message is mostly for your eyes only.

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    • I doubt that Botox would help me as it’s not so much Spasticity as the fact that nerves suddenly shut off and my legs collapse without warning. One second I’m upright the next, I’m on the ground, but I’ll check it out. I do have a couple of wheat bags myself, they are great to a certain extent as just like hot water bottles, they heat one area, not all of me as I’m hoping my idea will. I’m just waiting for Adam to split a piece of the brick he found. I went for modern standard size for the box, he found huge and ancient. 😏

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    • I do actually have huge issues as I have frontal lob damage and memory issues. For some reason, I am able to write fluently but when I talk, I’m not the same person. I stutter and stammer and forget all the time what I am saying and even talking about. Thankfully, writing is a very different process. I have time to think and to rewrite before anyone see it. 🙂

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