Saturday, February 11, 2012

Momma It's Cold Outside

Winnipeg has a nickname here in Canada. New York is the Big Apple. New Orleans is the Big Easy. Winnipeg is Winterpeg. We crossed the border between Ontario and Manitoba and the temperature dropped! My. Oh. My. It's cold. But, what the heck, we're Canadians. We know how to dress for cold. We've got gloves, and toques and think warms coats. We've got what we need to keep warm on the coldest of days. The Weather Channel had told us to prepare for minus thirty weather, so we did.


Do you know how cold a wheelchair frame can get after being in minus thirty weather for only two seconds. The answer would be minus a bazillion. The first time I transferred out of the car and into the chair I thought the thing had been electrified. It was so cold it felt hot. Searing pain gripped my hips and legs and I thought I'd been put in the electric chair and had the switch thrown. Yikes. And yikes again.

I wear gloves to push my wheelchair. I state that with a bit of exhaustion - maybe the most often asked question I have about wheelchair use is why I wear gloves - people get shoes, why are gloves a leap of imagination. Anyways, whining aside, I can only push a few feet before my hands are completely frozen. My gloves are made for pushing, not warmth, and whereas I can push myself a fair distance typically, here in Winterpeg from here to there where the distance is actually from |here to there| without my fingers going blue.

So, it's going to be a quiet week here in Winterpeg. The lectures start Monday and run for four days. The rest of this weekend and next weekend are going to be determined by how close we can get to a building and how long it takes to get into it. At least that's our plan for now. My guess is that what will happen is what happens when people face new and seemingly huge barriers - all embracing cold being one of them - we will adapt. We will find ways to do what we want to do.

At least that's what I hope happens.

Because right now, at the thought of going out, even my chair shivers!


Belinda said...

Brrrr. I can't even imagine. The only good thing about cold is that it burns more calories. I try to think of that every time I'm freezing. :)

Tamara said...

And, I've been whining to myself that our temps are in the twenties (F). I feel all warm and cozy now. Thanks, Dave.

dave on blackberrt said...

Belinda are you suggesting something here?

Beth said...

Um, I don't know if you're seeking suggestions, but I have some, so I'll share. I know it wouldn't help now, but ideas never hurt, huh?

It's been a while since I've had to deal with a particularly cold wheelchair frame, but the basic goal is to put as many layers between you and it as you can. I'd ended up a horse blanket at a white elephant/dirty santa gift exchange and I somehow figured a way to easily put that on the chair before I got in. Either that or had my chair "wear" it. So more layers for you or a coat for the chair (even if it's blankets and pins) is probably the best shot.

Warm gloves you can push a wheelchair in? A couple of winters ago, I came across some Hot Headz brand "Glomitts" at a farm/ranch store. They're like fingerless gloves that have a pouches attached that can wrap over your fingers to make them like mittens. They're made of really warm (and water-resistant) fleece and have textured grips on the palms. When it's really cold, I even wear thinnish gloves under them. If you'd often need a lot of dexterity in the cold, they probably aren't for you, but for everything else cold and wheelchairs (or even walkers), I think they're awesome. I know I sound like an ad and I totally understand if such a comment isn't acceptable, it's just... those glove/mittens are one of the purchases that I thought was so great, so useful that as soon as I used them, I thought, Why did I not have these before! They keep my fingers much warmer and that makes me happy, so I share. Maybe they or something akin will do the same for someone else.

Meanwhile... yeah, stay warm enough. Do not want your wheelchair to (cold-)burn you. Stay warm, certainly warm enough to be safe. I know we people with disabilities learn to adapt, but I certainly hope against painful mishaps! No one wants their equipment to turn against them, hm? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
if you are able to use the microwave-oven in the hotel I recommend you to buy a canola-cushion. It is a cottonfabric cushion filles with seeds (like cherrypids) and it saves the heat of the microwave oven. You could heat it up an put it on your wheelchair before using it. They are holdin the heat very well and you can use it like a hot water bottle.
I have two of those because I am always cold in winter. They are wonderfull and easy to use.

I think you can even get them via amazon.

And I send also warm thoughts to you and Joe


Dave Hingsburger said...

Beth and Julia - terrific ideas. Thank you so much. I love the idea of microwaving a cushion and those gloves sound perfect. Thanks!

Andrea S. said...

I used to have a roommate who uses a wheelchair, so I learned all sorts of little things from her about wheelchair use that most "walkies" like me never think about on our own.

The experience of transferring to a chair a bazillion degrees below freezing was not one of them!

Would it work to get extra large "wheelchair" gloves? Then get "keeping me warm" gloves, put those on first, then put the wheelchair gloves on over them? Or maybe figure out a way to combine this idea with Beth's suggestion above.

Frontal Lobotomy said...

I just found your blog & wanted to say hey! Having MS is only an added challenge to this crazy life, right? I can't even imagine going out in subzero weather! CO can get cold but not like you describe! Yikes! I'd consider moving south but I deal with summer heat even worse! I use a WC for distance & absolutely despise the cold & snow, I use a scooter for fun trips, a walker when I can...none are equipped with a plow! Stay warm & I'll come back asap!

CT said...

Dave, welcome to the ;Peg. I'm sorry she's being so cold on you, but you warm it up by being here.

Hope the week goes with unexpected smoothness.

CT said...

PS: I will send an email just in case something goes wrong and you could use an extra friendly soul.

Anonymous said...

The only good news is that you don't have to worry about your batteries dying in a Winnipeg minute from the cold. I've learned that even the freshest deep-cycle marines get really sluggish around -25 celsius. If I must go out in that weather, I plan little warm-up stops for the batteries 30 min to lose the freeze.

I always carry some emergency hand warmers -- big as playing cards. Twist it and you start a checmical reaction that feels really good on cold finger.

joanne said...

don't stick your tongue out on anything outdoors either :) being from northern was always a "test" to see if it was cold enough to remain there or not :) (the tongue, that is)