Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Good Grief Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

An Unprecedented Heat Wave and my Brain

This is the temperature on the shady part of my deck yesterday, at 5 am this morning it was already 80 degrees out. This heat dome we are under has never been seen here before in Canada. Most often people refer to Canada being “ the Cold North”, we are anything but cold this year. Our winter was mild, little to no rain in many parts of British Columbia. Our Forests are like tinder boxes. For those of you who know me , you know how much I love being out in the forest, but I won’t be going anytime soon, it’s too dangerous, one small spark could create a fire, and if a fire erupted you could end up trapped. This heat requires monitoring my system, plenty of fluids, early morning, like know at five a.m., the rest of the day, my apartment blacked out, being still, no cooking, unless it’s early am, then it’s outside on the bbq, getting the meal for a number of days ready, mostly though it’s eating salad or ice cream.
Even though I am being vigilant, I am and my system is feeling the strain, not sleeping, more like napping for an hour or two at a time, heat headaches, headaches from the noise of air conditioners running constantly, the effects of the air conditioner on my respiratory system,. All of these things create, brain fatigue, exhaustion, and then brain fog. I am having a lot of trouble yesterday and today, my ability to have thoughts be clear and fluid, mostly non existent, can’t focus, keep losing sight of what day or week I am in. My head / Brain does not feel right, I know yesterday or maybe the day before I had another series of lighting strikes in my brain, the electrical storm in my brain was so intense it brought me to my knees, another Tia, perhaps brought on by my system trying to navigate the immense stress from the heat, my vision is effected today, very weak, well another round to get through, I will be lying low, even more so than what is more my norm know. It’s like even though you know, you do all the things, extra water, don’t stress your system , don’t be in the sun, your system still somehow feels the effects of the situation, and this situation is the heat, like we have never seen.
I worry about those who are not able to recognize the impact this weather may have on their system. I never really thought about it much until I found myself struggling cognitively yesterday more than I have for the last little while. But the heat is making my brain tired, and when you think about it, it makes sense that it would impact my dementia, the heat creates inflammation and swelling in our bodies, causes us to retain extra fluids, so more inflammation means my system works harder and my brain is the centre of it all.
I am still trying to go for a bike ride or walk but very early in the morning, but only every other day. My main focus is spent trying to keep my plants alive and my garden, I’m not sure if I will be successful, 112 or more degrees is a lot for them, but I am trying, I have rigged up extra watering units, have an umbrella trying to provide some shade, I wish I had one of two more but they are stressed and showing the heat fatigue as well, and it’s supposed to get hotter each day for a number of days to come. We are running at least 20 degrees higher than normal, and we are still only in June, Normally July and August are our warm months, but even then these temperatures are not seen.
I hope people living with dementia, or those caring for people who are ill, elderly or somehow just frail and children and animals are understanding that even if they are doing and protecting them from the direct heat, the effects of this type of heat can and will be felt, appetite changes, sleeping patterns, mood, behaviour, cognition, so please be ware and do extra checks provide light snacks instead of meals to ensure nutrition is taken in, and water, popsicles, a bucket of cool water for your feet, nap and sleep as your system needs. I am feeling grateful that I still have the ability to recognize when my system is being effected, and not being left to someone else to decide if it is or not. I have seen it often that people think just because you stay out of the sun, or indoors out of the heat, that you can’t feel it’s effects, but that’s not true, our systems do, so I’m grateful that I don’t have to hope that someone would be willing to take that into consideration.

Hydrating my plants

By WWW.Chrissy's

I am an advocate for people with dementia in Canada and globally, having been diagnosed with younger onset dementia myself a few years ago.

One reply on “An Unprecedented Heat Wave and my Brain”

Hi Chrissy, Hope you are doing better. If that was a TIA, then I am sure it was scary. I used to have those before I had a stroke. I hope the weather cools down. I know how hard it is to keep plants alive when the sun burns them. I have a patio umbrella over my plants and it seems to help as well as frequent watering.

Take care!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s