A Winter’s Tale

Joshua really feels the cold : whether it is because his circulation is poor, or that he does not move about enough I am not sure. But his hands and feet are like ice blocks often , even if his core body temperature is high. Joshua now has a ‘lockdown belly’ that he did not used to have, but that extra layer does not seem to afford him any protection. It does not help of course that he will not tolerate a woolly hat, or a hat of any description, and they say that we lose a lot of heat through the top of our heads. He is not even keen for anyone else to wear a hat either and will grab it off your head, when he sees one, and throw it away. Joshua will not tolerate mittens either and we have experimented with various types, but inevitably one will be removed and thrown away early on in any outing. I do not have the patience to feed his fingers into a pair of gloves, only for him to shake or peel them off. So if we are heading out in the cold, I often put him some thermal underwear on under his trousers and several layers on top. We have invested in a heavy, warm coat too, so we do all we can.

But despite these precautionary measures, Joshua’s hands and feet still quickly turn to ice. Particularly if he is outdoors, in his wheelchair for any length of time, this can aggravate his coldness. We have found that it is not enough to warm him up by bringing him indoors into a toasty environment, his extremities remain icy. At its worst, he has to have a warm bath to re-gain his body temperature and that can be the only remedy. This is totally alien to me as I always have hot hands and feet, so I try to share some of my warmth with him by holding hands, but it does not really work. Joshua often wakes up during the early hours of the morning and I think many times it is because he gets .cold. More often than not if I snuggle him and allow him to warm his icy feet on my hot feet, then he will soon return to sleep.

It means that if it is wintry weather, like it was yesterday, that Joshua hardly steps foot outside. We went out for some errands in the afternoon and it was windy and sleeting. So my husband would drive to the shop that we needed, park outside, and I would run inside while the men waited in the car, with the engine and heater running. We did the same thing at three places. Finally we arrived at one of his favourite cafes, so Joshua was willing to brave the elements for this late lunch treat. We parked opposite and made a dash for it, with him exclaiming ‘ooooohhh!’ as the icy sleet hit his face. We made it to the warm cafe, where we received an equally warm welcome. All of the staff know him there and make a fuss and reciprocate with his endless thumbs ups. But he also tried very hard to get the attention of a couple enjoying their soup on the table next to ours.. Of course he won them both over, they gave him a thumbs up too, engaged in conversation and as they left, she said to him ‘ It has been an absolute pleasure to meet you, young man!’ Well if that didn’t warm my heart, then nothing would.

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