Hottest day of the year
It was the day that people with Multiple Sclerosis dread, total wipe-out by heat on Thursday25 June, the hottest day of the year. All motivation left my body as if by magic and my energy reserves evaporated. I felt as if I was walking through treacle. Life on that super-hot day was an endurance test. Uhthoff’s phenomenon was always imminent.
The BBC weather forecast
It predicted record temperatures for Thursday. The two previous days had been hot but I found shady places or stayed indoors. On Thursday 25 June this was not an option for me I had to travel by public transport to Watford hospital for a Pre-Operation Assessment.
Hottest day of year
At 12.30 Thursday lunchtime I set off. I had plenty of water with me, a hat with a broad brim for extra shade and I was wearing very light clothes. As soon as I stepped out of the house the heat hit me like a sledgehammer. I rode The Trike down to the station. Within 10 minutes I could feel my temperature rising.
Surprise, surprise the train carriage was air-conditioned and beautifully cool. All too soon I was in Watford and I now a 25 minute ride across town to reach the hospital. It was only then that I realised the shear intensity of the heat.
The shade was warmer than the sunshine
Heat was reflecting off the buildings, shimmering up from the pavement and the air did not move. There was no escape. Even the lights at every pelican crossing changed to red as I approached. Twice I poured cold water over my head and hair but the respite only lasted for a few minutes
I arrived for the Pre-Operation Assessment at 2 pm. The door was open and everyone inside look hot. At the reception desk there were two fans blowing the air but only onto the staff. I sat in the waiting room but I knew it was too hot for me. I frequently splashed cold water over my neck face and hair but again the relief was short lived.
The waiting room is not designed for a really hot day. No air conditioning, no fans to move the air, thin walls and carpet on the floor. At least there was no thermometer.
Over an hour after I arrived
I was called through for my assessment. The first person to see me, a ward sister, spent all her time complaining about the heat. I think if I had compined that my body-temperature control mechanism was faulty I don’t think she would have been very sympathetic.
At regular intervals the sister barked instructions at me if it was more than 15 days until the operation. There was no chance I could remember them so I asked her to write everything down.
I left the hospital the hospital at 4
Still no cooler outside I returned to the station and the trains cancelled left right and centre, total chaos because of the heat. There was a pathetic attempt to rain, the rain drops evaporated as soon as they hit the ground.
Arrived home at 6
I had a very small supper and then went upstairs for a shower. Slowly I made the water colder and colder, boy did I feel better. I then crawled onto the bed and slept for over 10 hours straight through. If that is the only way to get a good night’s sleep then you can keep it.
The next day the temperature was 20° C cooler, bliss and even more bliss. I put away my shorts hid my pale legs in a pair of jeans but I felt so much happier