Gonna be a DOOZY…

An MS’er tackles a NOR’easter that could turn into a blizzard

I was going to start 2014 off healthy, I swear, I really was! But in the days leading up to the new year, the weather folks started talking about Hercules-a massive NOR’easter about to attack my area. And EVERYONE, even super healthy people, know that the only way you can weather a storm is with the three C’s- chocolate, chips and candy.

What is a healthy, fit, svelte MS’er, stuck in a not so fit, not so svelte, not so healthy body to do? You have to be storm ready.

The only appropriate thing seems to be to plan on re-starting my ‘get fit’ plan after the storm. Actually, Farmer’s Almanac says it is going to be a stormy winter. Best to start the plan in April. Or maybe May.


Seriously friends, holidays, storm planning, brain fog, fatigue and possible power outages have made it necessary for me to release today’s blog one day early. And while I don’t exactly know what Hercules will bring, it seems likely that it will look like the blizzard of 2013, which I have already written about.

So for this week, please allow me to re-post what was originally titled Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days.

For the record, a second blizzard is upon us and I STILL haven’t bought vinyl toilet seat covers!


Could Be Minutes, Could Be Days

An MS’er tackles a blizzard

In my world, cold is better than hot (as long as cold includes a nice cup of scalding hot tea,) and snow is better than humidity. Seems I remember in the past, losing hot water and having to take an ice cold shower before heading off to work. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t hell.

More recently and AMSEML (after MS entered my life,) I lost hot water again and attempted the cold shower. It was summer and so while I was not looking forward to it, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. It was.

The icy water was not refreshing. It felt more like sharp edged icicles stabbing me all over. It hurt so much that I wasn’t able to breathe. I kept telling myself to breathe, what was wrong with me that I wasn’t breathing? It was too much and I burst from my shower covered in soap.


Flash forward to storm prep for the blizzard of 2013- the storm that was to arrive only two weeks after a previously predicted snow storm never showed up. I love winter and had eagerly awaited this one, the winter the Farmers’ Almanac promised would be cold and snowy.

The reality is that what I love about the season is being toasty warm and drinking tea while watching the lovely snow fall from my window. I didn’t doubt the blizzard predictions and even enjoyed monitoring them on the nightly news. But no one, no matter how prepared you are, seriously appreciates what a lack of power means on a 20 degree day, at least for more than a few hours.


I bought the batteries and bottled water. I watched the weather reports. As the wind kicked up late in the afternoon before the blizzard, I plugged in my electric blanket to warm my bed up before the expected power outages. Just before nine it happened; the power was gone and so was the immediate future of further electrically generated heat. Since I had pre-warmed my bed, and was exhausted as always, I drifted off to sleep.

Morning and frigid air came quickly. When I awoke, I buried deep under my covers and rested there for another hour. I tried to flood my brain with positive self talk.

You knew power outages were likely.

It’s not like you are going to die from the cold, you’re still inside.

So it will suck for a bit, so what, that’s life.

There’s no way to know how long this will last. It could be minutes, it could be days.

Get up and get moving, you’ll have to at some point.


When I accepted that cold or no cold, I couldn’t justify lying in bed all day, I crawled from my cocoon and began to layer up. Me, the girl who has never, ever worn hats since rapidly removing the ones my mom insisted I wear on my walk to grade school, (removing the hat as soon as our house was out of sight-hopefully enough time has passed that I won’t be grounded for admitting this,) put on a hat.

It was a miracle I even found a hat in my house. (I think it must have come in the pretty scarf/glove/hat Christmas gift set several holidays before, the scarf and gloves I do use).

I layered on anything I could possibly think of; undershirt, turtleneck, sweater, sweatshirt, sweatpants, three pairs of socks. Where oh where did my leg warmers from the eighties go?


I layered up so much that I looked and walked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

Then I realized I had to pee.

My vow to all those reading these words is to never, ever again silently make fun of people who have those soft, vinyl padded toilet seat covers. I may even buy one, if only to use during cold weather power outages.


Once I recovered from that shock, I wobbled my padded self and my blankets to where I could be productive in spite of the circumstances, the sofa. Wrapped in my Boston Bruins thermal blankie (still one of the best Christmas gifts eva!), I tried to decide how to spend the arctic day. I was determined not to use the blizzard as an excuse to fall off my “get fit” plan.

I could exercise. But no, I needed to save the treasured batteries on the Wii Fit board and there was no tv anyway. How about outside to shovel? No point, the snow was still coming down and there would be no way to warm up when I was done. I could just move around my house but hauling all those blankets and layers seemed dangerous.

I insisted I would at least eat healthy and hydrate properly. I had even prepared for that- buying produce and rinsing it before the storm so that I could make myself a salad and eat fruit so as not to falter on my plan.

But that wasn’t happening. Everything was so frosty there was no way I was sinking my teeth into an ice cold apple or orange or even attempting to put together a salad. And the water was ice cold too. I did manage a banana for breakfast but that was the end of eating healthy.


After that I went to the snacks; easy to open, not cold to bite into. One may wonder why I had snacks in the house in the first place. Remember, there was a blizzard coming and my ‘get fit’ plan is taking the baby steps route.

Still trying to be somewhat productive, I thought I would use my laptop battery to get some writing done. But no, between MS and the freezing air, my fingers were not inclined to cooperate.


What I missed most was that scalding cup of tea I so treasure. So much so, that when due to a dangerously low amount of wax I needed to blow out one candle, I fell into a dangerously euphoric state. Picking up the glass covered candle, I realized how hot it was.

As I tightly grasped the bottle with both hands, I almost felt it was a mug of tea I was holding. I popped out of my reverie before I gulped the wax itself and made the best of the situation by cuddling the bottle against my face, neck, hands and arms until its warmth was gone.


Soon the MS aches ramped up and the cold went from being unpleasant to excruciating. At some point it turned dark again and I shuffled back to my cocoon of bedding, hat and all.

I was luckier than most. By the next morning, the power was back, 36 hours after it went out; much, much better than what some folks were dealing with.

Here is what the storm taught me. The best of intentions can often go awry if something bigger than you has other plans. Like say, God, or storm fronts, or multiple sclerosis.


Sometimes you just have to give in and wait out what is holding you back, even if it could be minutes or could be days.

Controlled cold is better than uncontrolled heat. Controlled heat is better than uncontrolled cold. And, in spite of this frigid, miserable Saturday, I stand by uncontrolled cold being better than uncontrolled heat. This way, I can still whine in August.

And lastly, what I learned most, I need to start looking for vinyl toilet seat covers…..



8 thoughts on “Gonna be a DOOZY…

  1. I so enjoyed reading “goona be a doozy”. I just returned to California yesterday after several days in Chicago for my cousins memorial service. She wrote a blog, and your humor is very much like hers. Thank you for that. Since being dx’d 3 yrs ago I had not been in extreme cold. I had trouble with my leg the minute I went outside. So I guess heat isn’t the only thing that affects my MS , cold dose too! Thank you again for giving me a smile today.

    • Thank you so much Beth! I am so glad you got a chance to check out my blog and glad that it gave you a smile! How can I find your cousin’s blog? I would love to check it out. Thank you again for visiting and please come back again soon. Hope you feel back to normal now that you are home.

  2. LOL! Another great blog entry Yvonne! I pray this storm is much milder than predicted & you get to have your tea whenever your heart desires! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Susan! The tea is huge for me. I think I can deal with almost anything as long as I have my tea. Man, I REALLY am turning into my grandmother!

  3. Yvonne, last year’s storm post worked for this year, except we didn’t lose power. How that did not happen is a great thrilling mystery to me but I do suspect the snow was not heavy enough to break a line. I, too, loved the hot cups of tea and looking out on the storm swirling around my house in N. Truro. I, too, have such aching body parts that I just want to sleep. But, I did put on those layers of clothes and go outside yesterday. It was beautiful and violent and amazing. I pushed my shovel to clear a 3 foot drift from our front door and wondered, “How am I going to do this? I have no strength.” Just at that moment, the plow came and Rex jumped out and shoveled my walk. He said he wasn’t suppose to shovel for people but, “hey, it’s a blizzard.” We got my car and my partner’s car out the snow bank and I went back inside, tired out, but thrilled that I had been out in it. Hot tea and homemade, no sugar, apple pie was my dinner. I was in bed by 8:45, and slept very well.

    I so identify with your ‘plan’ to get healthy and the ‘storm plan’. After years in Florida, and many hurricane seasons, we had so much crap food from the Dollar Store accumulated that it made me sick to look at it. Gallons of water in the garage that I’m sure were full of pcps or pcbs, or whatever that chemical that leaches from plastic bottles is. I will take a Nor-easter over a hurricane any day. There is something about snow that feels safer than floods and driving rain and high twisting winds. The word ‘snow’ even sounds soft to me.

    • Totally agree with you Janis on all of the above. Thrilled that we didn’t lose power an d since we didn’t, I consider this storm a fun blast of winter. Got outside early today to shovel out and was helped greatly by a neighbor. People are awesome and it still looks pretty. We’ll have to see what the next storm brings but if it is like this one, I’ll take it!

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