We have been so blessed this summer. Our temperatures have been so unusually mild for a summer season. It has been such a blessing for Chaz. He has been able to be outside quite a bit more and stay longer out there and enjoy it thanks to these great temperatures. Many do not understand the difficulty amputees have with the heat. So I am going to share with you a bit of our struggles.
Before Chaz's injuries, he was a hot-natured person. He passed this trait onto Deryn. Both run a core temp that hovers around 100 degrees. Boy is that fun! I have had to file statements at school for Deryn. If she runs around the gym and gets hot she goes over the 101 and they want to send her home from school.
Guess what?! Girl Scout Camp has a TSA like check in when you go in and drop off too. The girls had to take off their shoes and everything. I ran into the core temp problem at Girl Scout camp this year. Deryn was 100.4, they panicked. The lady then says, "But she looks fine." I explained it all to her. From now on I am supposed to provide a doctors' note for them too. Got to love having high core temp babies. Oh well, moving on.....
Chaz and the other amputees have quite a bit of difficulty in the heat. Their poor bodies have been rewired because of their injuries. What we don't realize is what all that the rewriting does so much to their system. Chaz still runs his core temp at around 100, but thanks to his amputations, he gets so hot and even dehydrated way faster than you and I can imagine.
We keep the air set at 69 degrees in the house for him. The girls and I can layer up, but he cannot layer down. I confess I am cold!! I seriously can be found wearing sweat pants and a jacket in our home when it very well could be 90 degrees or higher outside. At night I sleep with two blankets at a minimum.
When it gets hot like it has the past few days, you get to hear me yell shut the down too many times to count as the girls and their friends run in and out of the house. Right now I have three fans blowing straight on Chaz's desk (because you all know that's where he is 90% of his day). Then I have all of the ceiling fans on and two additional floor fans blowing air around the house just to keep him comfortable.
Next comes hydration. I make him consume so much water that he complains when I fill up his bottle again. I always load it up with ice so that way it will tempt him even more to drink it. I make sure to have nice cool things on hand like watermelon and other fresh, cool fruits and veggies for him as well. I'm so sneaky aren't I?!
Why do I do all of this? Well it takes years for our amputees circulatory systems to readjust to the amputations. While we're waiting for that adjustment, the heat makes them miserable. Way more miserable than you and I could ever be. Our amputees dehydrate faster than anything I have ever seen. I have seen dehydration a several times before, but when one of our amputees begins the downward spiral they almost always have to get an IV to get back to themselves. Chaz has already been there done that three times since discharging and let me assure you it is not pretty. So I take the extra precautions to keep him far away from the downward spiral.
What can you do? Really simple help keep them cool. If you are at an outdoor event encourage and help them seek air conditioning. If that is not available find a fan or other cooling aid. Offer them some water, not soda, not a sports drink, water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't pass out. Most importantly if you have an outdoor event during the summer heat and invite a Wounded Hero to attend, do not get offended when they decide to either not come or leave early. There is usually a good reason behind it.