June 16, 2015

A Stroke Turned Me into a Lizard

I used to be a warm-blooded mammal who could regulate her body temperature - sweating when hot and generating body heat when cold.  A stroke turned me into a cold-blooded lizard whose body temperature is controlled by my environment.  There are many centers that control body temperature so I will never know what is out of whack.

In late May and early June temperatures fluctuated between 40 degrees (F) at night to 80 degrees during the day.  This is not normal spring weather for New Jersey.  If I forgot to switch from air conditioning (AC) to heat at bed time I would wake up shivering.  I was covered by an extra blanket, but the cold air around my head was enough to lower my body temperature.  When I got up to turn on the heat, my house was 62 degrees.  My Scottish ancestors lived 700 miles from the Artic Circle so I used to have a body that was genetically engineered for cold weather.  When it got to 80 degrees my body overreacted.  Sweat started pouring from my temple on the hemiplegic (paralyzed) side of my face, but not on the sound side.  I wiped off the sweat repeatedly so people would not see sweat streaming down my face.  My hemiplegic foot became red and hot.
It is scary to know my body could not cope with these drastic 24 hour fluctuations.

Bottom Line: Poor temperature control is another invisible deficit I have to manage.

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