I am a December baby, which means that it is quite possible that my Irish father helped to conceive me on that most drunken of all holidays, St. Patrick’s Day. Alcoholic sperm is as good a reason as any to explain why my body seems to have been made using all the wrong parts.
Have you ever watched the episode of Mythbusters where Tory, Kari, and Grant make goats faint just by scaring them? That’s what I have. Have you ever wondered why Greg, the Yellow Wiggle, left the band? He has orthostatic intolerance. Also what I have. Officially, it’s called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Unofficially, it’s a right pain in the ass. In short, every time you stand up, your heart rate and blood pressure have to rebalance. Mine don’t always play nice together, so my heart rate soars and my blood pressure drops. When this happens, I must go horizontal (and usually unconscious) for the time it takes my body to stabilize. Fun, huh? I would be remiss if I didn’t shout to the heavens that I actually have a very, very mild case and that I am very lucky. Hear that God? Very lucky!
To explain how it feels, imagine being drunk. Not passing out, taking naked pictures of yourself drunk, but that pleasantly woozy feeling where all you want is a slice of pizza and a warm bed. Now, take away the alcohol (and pizza), but triple the need to lie down (flat as a board, not reclining in any way). Add in a little loss of fine-motor skills and a dash of heat and proceed to lose the next two hours of your day. Now know what it feels like to have what I refer to as, “an episode.”
The reason I bring this up today is that heat made my condition more prevalent. The hotter it is, the harder it is for my body to regulate itself. It is expected to reach 99 degrees for the next few days. In this type of weather, I obey the warnings and advisories posted for old people and stay the hell indoors. However, due to doctor’s orders, I am temporarily barred from any form of cardiovascular movement and cannot engage in any activity that will elevate my heart rate. Basically, I am stuck indoors with both kids trying to stay calm. Anyone else see a problem with that?
Obviously, my first line of defense is the DVD player. However, my kids have a saturation point when it comes to movies. Next comes the Activity Jar, but honestly they are so over each other that whatever comes out has to be separate activities or I’ll have to pick teeth up off the floor. Neither kid enjoys shopping so walking the mall is out. Unless I can cajole other families into joining us at a play place, it just boils down to my kids fighting with each other (again), only I’ve paid for the privilege of them doing so in public. We’ve seen Cars 2. In short, I’m SOL.
Luckily, my kids know that I don’t do well in heat. My son very sweetly brings me my blood pressure monitor in bed. My daughter is always admonishing me to “be careful.” They both know that this is only a short-lived captivity and that tomorrow is always another chance to go to a camp, or for daddy to come home early and liberate them, or for them to find a new movie they haven’t seen on Apple TV. Just like the heat, this too shall pass. But until then, no Wiggles.