Summer time can be a glorious time when the sun is shining so brightly and the blue skies have big fluffy clouds floating by (when it’s not raining). There is no cold white fluffy snow, ice or harsh wind to keep us pinned in the house. We are free to play, work or just savor the warmth of the season.
So tell me this: Why should we stay in the house? Everyone else is outside working in flower gardens, mowing the green grass, washing vehicles or just sitting in a lounge chair relaxing with a cold beverage.
Okay. You are right, we do live with pain but that doesn’t mean we stop living, or have we?
We find our spouses or significant others outside in the sunshine drinking up the rays of warmth while we shelter in the house. If one of us bravely venture out are we told that it is too hot to be outside or we should not be pulling weeds in the flower beds we created over the years so we and others can enjoy the full beauty? Are we urged to go back inside where it is cool?
Wait, stop the presses! I don’t want to go inside; I want to play outside too!
I understand that it is out of concern for our well-being that our family, friends and loved ones want what they think is best for us—to be inside and cool. However, when does their concern become too much? Look for some of us:
- Our medications can prevent us from being in the direct sun for long periods of time
- Get migraines from the heat and glare of direct sunlight
- Must be careful not to let our bodies become overheated and dehydrated.
All of these things can be avoided while enjoying the warm weather.
Indulge me and allow me to share an example. This holiday weekend, I found myself sitting in the house yearning to be outside. Now, I know that because of one of my pain medications, I have to be careful on really hot and humid days to prevent becoming over-heated. Naturally, on those really hot days I stay inside. This weekend was glorious—low humidity and not extremely hot.
My caregiver/life partner was working outdoors using the power washer to clean off the outdoor furniture. This may sound like work to some, but to me it sounded like fun. I slowly stuck my big toe out the door to test the heat….ok my toe is still there and hasn’t burst into flames. I decided that is was time to go for it so I opened the door to the outside world and stepped out. I felt as if I walked into another world—one of chirping birds, squirrels in chase up a big tree, barking dogs and playful children. Oh, what wonderful sounds to be heard.
Oh wait, did I hear something else? Yes, indeed. It was a voice telling me to “go back inside; it is hot outside today”. That was not my inner voice speaking to me was it? Oh, no…no! I do not want go back inside! I want to play in the water too! Can you picture a child pouting– that was me. I was ready. I had on a pair of shorts and t-shirt and ready to play in the water.
That voice was my partner/caregiver showing his concerned. In response, I shared with him that I know my limits and will be careful not to over-do. He already knows all of this but sometimes he needs a gentle reminder. This is a tag team home. No-one has assigned duties, sure there are things I do like the laundry and he does the mowing. We work together to keep things done, it has always been that way and I refuse to allow it to change because of my pain.
So we begin to work together, he starts out playing (I mean working) with the pressure washer to clean the winter grime off the chairs. After some time passes it is my turn. He looks at me and starts to say something but I stop him with a simple hush with my finger to my lips. I have him to adjust the pressure washer for me as my hands do not have the strength they once had and the fun (I mean work) begins. The water surges out of the tip of the pressure wand and away I go. I work on a chair to get it perfectly clean and he sits and watches my every move. I switch arms as I grow tired as he jumps up to come take the wand away from me. No…I am ok, just switching arms. You see he worries about me too much sometimes and that can become a glitch in this tag team.
I continue to play (I mean work) until I do start feeling that ache in the back & shoulders. Ok, time to tag out and let my team mate take over for a while. We do this several times as the afternoon goes by until we have cleaned almost all of the outside furniture. You see we didn’t get it all done because even though he doesn’t have chronic pain, he isn’t as young as he once was and he has some aches and pains that come with age (but don’t tell him I told you).
We worked as a team and we accomplished more than just one of us could have and made fun out of what would have been a big job for just one. Sure I was feeling some additional pain later in the evening but it was a good kind of pain. You know that kind of pain that lets us know we are still alive and active.
So the moral of my story is this. Please don’t let the sunshine and warmer temperatures keep you inside. Become a part of a tag team with your caregiver/partner, family member or friends. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you need a break but at the same time, don’t let your tag team partner take the fun away….stand firm that you want to play outside too.
Next weekend it is water play again to finish cleaning the rest of the outdoor furniture. Maybe after we get done with that job, we will fill up our grandson’s little pool and take a dip to cool off. What are your plans?