Today is the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere. Having grown up in New England means that I am used to cold winters and hot summers. Weather is an example of an environmental factor that plays a role in my CP symptoms. When it snows, it’s usually supposed to be a wonderful, energizing event. Especially around the holiday season, snow adds to the excitement of the season. Many people dream of white Christmases. However, for me snow makes it more difficult to move around in both my walker and power wheelchair. I can easily get stuck in the snow.
The difficulty isn’t just getting trapped. My cerebral palsy makes my muscles become stiffer when the temperature drops, making it harder for me to function. I don’t usually enjoy being outside in the cold long because it worsens my spasticity. I enjoy warm showers and my heated blanket after being out in the cold. For me, this also makes it more difficult to complete routine tasks. Everyday tasks take more energy when it’s cold outside. Energy is something that I have to work hard to conserve, even in ideal weather. In the summer, extremely hot temperatures have the same effect on my spasticity as the cold. This is why I am not fond of spending days at the beach. Too long outside when it’s hot and humid leads to me feeling spastic. The same is true for cold winter days.
Sometimes I believe I only need snow tires and a warmer coat. But, even if I did, there would always be something else to stop me from going out in the snow. All the warm clothes in the world cannot take away the neurological damage that has caused me to have spastic CP. In the winter, if I don’t want to go out to enjoy the snow, please don’t take it personally. I’ll simply enjoy a winter wonderland from indoors.
Rice, Doyle. “The Shortest Day of the Year Is Tuesday. Here’s What to Know about the Winter Solstice.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 21 Dec. 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/12/20/winter-solstice-december-2022/8968412002/.