What I Didn’t Do on My Forced Summer Holiday Due to the UK Heat Wave

Columnist John Connor takes a couple weeks off during record high temperatures

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by John Connor |

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No, it wasn’t my good wife, Jane, suddenly insisting we just had to take a break.

Spontaneity is no longer a question for me. We can only go somewhere that has both a hoist and a profiling bed. Never mind a Molift and a shower chair. It’s not like we could put the Molift in the back of the van, as securing it would be practically impossible. In an accident it would kill me, then possibly Jane as well. That would most definitely put her in a foul mood.

It’s a shame, because we live on the border of southern Greater London, so it’s only a few hours drive to the channel ports and Europe. And with my Motability vehicle, after a simple phone call, I have complete breakdown coverage for the lot. What I haven’t got, since Brexit, would probably be a blue badge for parking.

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Nor could I actually get out of our now independent country without an intense struggle, since Brexit set us “free.” Hour upon hour of waiting in intense heat necessitates a suitable disability-adapted mega-motor home to “chillax” in, with superb air conditioning and an intense entertainment center. Jane would also have to spend an immense amount of time getting a heavy goods license to actually drive it. And, oh yes, we’d need about $2 million to pay for it.

Anyway, how could we afford the dreaded diesel to make it run? And without my blue badge, where would we park?

So that was out.

Now I’ve given the game away. Intense heat has just hit the whole of Europe. We in southern U.K. were destined to break 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the very first time. Eighty degrees was a daily regular, and there was no way my multiple sclerosis (MS) would’ve allowed me to work in our new climate. So I had to take the last two weeks off.

Luckily, I can go on holiday in my own home. Unusual for the U.K., we have a pool in our back garden. It came with the house and has cost a fortune to maintain — especially since I’d been my own pool boy until MS struck me down. It costs a lot more to have it done professionally, which is annoying because they’re so much better at it than I ever was. Grrrr.

uk heat wave | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | John sits in a hoist chair hovering above a swimming pool. He's wearing a life jacket and sunglasses

As my wife titled it, “Fat Boy Swim.” (Photo by Jane Davies)

It’s a heated pool, so it’s obviously very poor form in terms of our carbon footprint. But because I can’t go anywhere easily, we’re saving enormously in that area. We won’t be saving, however, on what will prove to be a ginormous gas bill. Boo-hoo, serves us right, etc. I agree. Being a liberal is so annoying.

Getting me into the pool safely is now a two-person job, as I may have put on a bit of weight. I weighed 18 stone (252 pounds) last year, when I was last ill in the hospital.

This year, I was actually supposed to be in the hospital on what turned out to be our hottest day since meteorologists began keeping records. We hit 101 degrees in my direct environment on July 19. Heathrow Airport broke the 104-degree barrier, eventually reaching 104.4. Sensibly, I pulled out.

Instead of getting into the pool on our hottest day, lethargy enveloped me. I lay in bed with a fan running over me at full pelt, dozing and waking on the occasions when cold drinks and compresses arrived from my family. It’s the only time in my life that I spent a day like an exhausted house cat.

Then, two days later, I did go to the hospital for a day of tests for a clinical trial I’ve been fighting to get into. At the end of it was an MRI, and because they have to use a hospital hoist, they got to measure my weight. It was 19.999 stone (280 pounds). That’s two extra stone in just a year! I reckon it’s now really a three-person job to get me into the pool.

So for breakfast this morning, I’ve consumed just one orange and six cherries. Luckily, the heat has caused a glut of cherries, blueberries, and strawberries.

I guess my breakfast is sorted for this month.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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