Last winter I developed problems with the nerves in my thighs. It was just at the front when it began, but this winter it has spread and now it covers from the tips of my toes, right up to my hips, and no longer just at the front. At first, it was just this odd feeling of parts of my thigh were colder than any other part of my body. Then came the morning when it felt just like frostbite, despite the fact that the temperature inside the house was well into the low 70’s and I was already wearing winter clothing. As I had some of those grain filled sacks that you microwave for two minutes, a safe replacement for the now old-fashioned hot water bottle, I had been sitting with two of them on my lap as well. But the cold became more and more painful until I found myself sitting here in tears talking to my doctor on the phone. I don’t know what I thought he was going to do for me, clearly nothing at that second, but he did write me a prescription for yet another drug to augment the tablets I was already on for neuralgia. It was also that call that led to my once more visiting my Neurologist. By now, I’m sure it’s clear where this is going as to be worse this winter than I was the one before, neither of them has come up with a drug that will help me. They have tried, but I realised quite quickly that like almost everything else with my health, I was once again really on my own.
It has been a real case of trying what I could to find a way to relieve it, or at least, to keep it at bay, to my surprise I had some luck. I discovered quite quickly that if I could stop the nerves from starting to tell me they were heading for frostbite, that I could keep it a level that was bearable. I decided that I was going to ignore the room temperature and pretend that I was sitting outside and what I would need to stay warm. I was sure that layering had to be the answer, as that would allow me to add or take away depending on that day’s success rate. The first thing I had to do was to buy myself some clothes. Nothing I had from my working days was of any use to me. They harked back to the days when I varied between a size 8 and 10, no use at all to my now size 20 body, the result of so many years without exercise of any sort. No, I wasn’t overeating, that was something I have always been careful of and housebound or not, I didn’t want to gain weight, but I did. It was something I had become really lazy about since I had become housebound. I had basically spent my life in a nightdress and dressing gown. Well, when you go nowhere and no one visits, what is the point of getting dressed. It was just before I started to have visits from the district nurse and my carers that I changed into wearing day clothes, but they were really simple, some might have said that was little difference as what I had bought were actually a cross over between night and day wear, possibly what my mother would have called “lounging pajamas”, but my nerves now meant I needed more. First of all, I had to buy myself a really nice thick blanket which I could wrap around myself while I sat here. I added socks and thick trousers, and a selection of tops.
There were several times last winter that I found myself, despite the thermometer saying the house was in the low 70’s, I was in tears from the pain in my legs. Despite my long flowing cardigans and my layers of anything I could put on, all topped off with my blanket, I simply couldn’t win. It was on one of those days that I phoned my GP, he changed some of my meds and added another which was supposed to help control the nerves madness, but nothing changed. It was then that I was referred back to my neurologist. Of course, it was the wrong time of year by then so your guess would have been as good as mine if the new tablets would help or not. Yes, they helped with some of the other nerve pain but the cold who knew. I do now.
They don’t. Oh boy, do they not work, I am in fact, now in a far worse state than I was last year. The cold has decided that my thighs just weren’t quite a big enough area, no it was about to take over my entire legs and my feet for good measure, plus an area near the top of my back. I had over the summer months started to wear and enjoy wearing long dresses, nothing fancy just maxi length casual clothes, which were really easy to layer up, yes I had planned ahead, well I thought I had. My winter wardrobe allowed me to have long socks with leggings, underwear, a silky underdress, with a warm overdress, both full-length and a full-length cardigan. I still had my blanket to hand, in fact, I had found myself wrapping around myself during the summer in the mornings, and ditching it and anything else I could as the heat grew and last summer it grew. Anyway, I digress, I was confident that I was ready for what winter could throw at me and what my nerves could create. By mid-December, I was already using all that I had and I was beginning to worry, I was right to. But where did I go next?
The solution, if it existed in my mind was thermal leggings, yes, they existed and I found myself as I have often lately, looking at an array beyond my expectations, with just as wildly ranging prices, write-ups, and reviews. To keep it simple, my advice is don’t buy thermals, buy fleece lined ones. Out of the ones I have tried they are by far the best and to my surprise the best are the thinnest ones to look at. They appear just like 70 denier black tights I used to wear, but without the feet. To me, they are the oddest things I have ever bought, tights that are fluffy on the inside, who would have ever guessed such a thing could be made? On there own they weren’t enough but with ordinary leggings over then, I had to be onto a winner. I also added a thermal tee-shirt and wonderful thick socks which like my fluffy tights, have a tog rating. I’m getting old, I thought tog ratings only came with duvets, what next? When I laid my clothes out on Saturday to put on after my shower, it looked as though I was packing for a weekend away, not to simple wear all at one time, in the house, not the North Pole as my carer laughingly said.
Last night, I found myself once more wrapped up on the settee in my blanket, with the fire on and a heated wheat-bag inside my blanket on top of my feet, to which I had added a third pair of socks. The cold was once more intense and even with all that on, all I could think about was just how cold I was. When I went to bed, I was hopeful that all would be well, as I planned to have my electric blanket on low for the whole night. An hour after going to bed, I was still awake and although the backs of my legs were fine, lying there flat on the electric blanket, the front was unfortunately cold, there was nothing to hold the heat on them other than the duvet. I landed up with leggings and socks on, plus my dressing gown laid on top of the bed, to lock the heat in. How long before I’m fully dressed, even in bed?