Spinal cord injuries come with many side effects; one includes the inability to regulate one’s temperature. For me, regulating my body temperature can be really difficult and often I have to either rug up (in Winter) or strip off (in Summer).
A typical Brisbane Summer in Australia can see temperatures soar above 30 plus degrees with a very high humidity. Due to my injury, my body is unable to sweat to keep cool which means I overheat easily. To manage this, I keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and often have my support workers put ice in my drinks.
I am lucky enough to have air-conditioning in my house, so I keep this running during the hottest part of the day and avoid going outside. If I have been out during the day, I pre-set my air-conditioning to turn on before I arrive home, so I can cool down.
When I was first adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury, I overheated one day and needed to cool down, so I decided to travel up and down the aisles of my local Woolworths (supermarket) to cool down. A mate of mine recently said to me I should have gone into the bottle shop and gone into their cool room.
During Winter I am the complete opposite and get cold very quickly and my body struggles to keep warm. I fill up my drink bottle with boiling hot water and usually have 3-4 layers of clothing on, including thermal undershirts, scarves and a beanie. I have a heat lamp in my bathroom so I can stay warm after my shower. I also use heat packs and place these in the bed to warm it up before I hop in or have around my neck during the day. (Please note: I don't put these directly on my skin in case it's TOO hot, that would cause a burn!)