I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Heat is my number one enemy when it comes to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Even when I’m feeling good and not dealing with bad symptoms, all it takes is a little (or a lot, in the case of a few weeks ago) of heat to completely derail me. So wasn’t it just my luck that I moved out of New York City the week of a massive, seemingly neverending heatwave?
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When I first saw the forecast for the week, I’m not gonna lie, I panicked. As I said, heat is my biggest POTS trigger. I’m fearful of passing out now ever since I fainted last summer and hit my throat on my desk chair. And I get so lethargic. My feet swell and hurt. I got so dizzy when I change position, and my vision blacks out. If I’m lucky, I won’t faint.
So, yes, when I saw the weeklong 90-plus-degrees forecast, I panicked. Even worse? The fact that we’d have to take out our window AC uni the day before moving so that it could dry out. Needless to say, I needed a plan.
I knew there were items I needed to buy — and get them fast — so I headed right to Amazon.
First, I bought a new bag of LiquidIV because I only had two packets left. (Ah, more panic!) This time, I tried the strawberry flavor. I took one sip of it, and it instantly became my new favorite flavor, dethroning lemon-lime from my top spot.
Then, I needed a solution for the no-AC-in-most-of-our-apartment problem. So, I decided to buy a Chill Pal cooling towel to wear around my neck and shoulders while packing in the heat. I also figured I’d sleep with it draped across me our last night in the apartment without any AC. I had no idea how well it would work, but I knew it was better than nothing. I added it to my shopping cart with crossed fingers.
Finally, I bought some emergency instant cold packs to use in the U-Haul in case the AC didn’t work so well. I could also put them on my feet if they started hurting.
I got everything quickly and just in time for packing up the apartment a few days before our big move. But packing in the heat without AC was rough, especially the night before when we had to do the most work. The longer I worked, the more my feet started to hurt and swell. So, while I thought it might make me hotter, I decided to put on compression socks.
And it was a bit of a challenge because my feet and calves were more swollen than usual. I had to squish my feet into them and shimmy them up my leg an inch at a time. (Which made me break a sweat a little—lol, can anyone relate?!) But they made a noticeable difference in how I felt, and I was able to pack and clean for much longer than I would’ve been able to if I hadn’t worn them.
I also doused my cooling towel with water every hour and kept it draped over my shoulders as I worked. I was skeptical of how well this item would work, but it truly surprised me in the best way and became a total lifesaver! I can’t say enough how much I love it, and I don’t know how or why I went three years with POTS without having it.
All you have to do is wet the towel and as it dries, it gets cooler. It feels SO GOOD when your entire body is sweaty and overheated. Just be mindful that it may drip water over things if you don’t wring it out well enough. At one point I left a little trail of water droplets down our apartment hallway. But because I love this product so much for surviving the heat, I’d highly recommend it to my fellow POTSies. It also comes in a storage pouch so it’s easy to toss in your chronic illness day bag and take with you anywhere.
Flash forward to the next day: AKA the big moving day. The forecast projected a high of 95 degrees! I woke up early(ish) and filled a large water bottle with LiquidIV and put it in the freezer. I wore loose, light-colored clothing and took my cooling towel out to the moving truck with me. For the first hour or so, I guarded the truck and all our stuff while Mike and our friends hauled our furniture down the stairs.
For the remaining time of moving stuff out, I swapped with one of the guys and carried boxes down to the truck. It. Was. SO. Hot! And I was soaked with sweat. Every time I made it back up the two flights of stairs to our apartment, I chugged some of my LiquidIV that I kept in the freezer. When I finished the bottle, I promptly replenished it.
And somehow, after 4-5 hours of packing up our moving truck and cleaning out our apartment, I survived without fainting. (I only semi-blacked out once towards the end when I stood up too fast from bending over to pick up some cleaning supplies. But don’t worry! I did a fainting counter-maneuver and stabilized before I fully lost consciousness!)
I didn’t even need to use my emergency cold packs in the U-Haul because the AC worked well. So, at the end of the day, my planning paid off.
And while I was happy about that and glad to be moving closer to family, a part of me was still sad to leave the city. I truly loved our apartment — minus the endless construction noise on our street — and there were aspects of the city that I loved. Like all the food and shopping and the fact that there was always something going on, something to do.
But Mike and I are on to our next chapter in Upstate New York, staying with family until we figure out exactly where we want to stay next. Plus, we are planning our wedding for next year, my day job has been more draining than usual lately, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of problems related to my endometriosis (which I plan to share in a monster-length post soon!). So, needless to say, life has been busy and a tad overwhelming.
I hope to get back to a more regular writing schedule soon, but August is looking to be a very busy month. So…maybe September? I still have so much I want to share and lots of topics I want to cover.
As always, thanks so much for reading! Hopefully, everyone is enjoying their summer and doing their best to survive the heat. And if you’re moving this summer, my fingers are crossed for you that it’s not during a heatwave.