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Tips for Coasting Through a Winter Wonderland

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**UPDATE/HOT OFF THE PRESS:  Today (Thursday) we woke up to 18 more inches of snow here in Connecticut.  As beautiful as it is outside, it's also time to be smart and take extra safety precautions.  This last storm brought very heavy/wet snow so shoveling can be dangerous.  Please remember that if you absolutely HAVE to shovel please take breaks and pay attention to your breathing.  It's very cold outside too, so dress appropriately.  Even a trip out to the mailbox can be a big deal!  A slip and fall for a myeloma patient is never a good thing!

Check your prescriptions, if you are going to run out, call the pharmacy to reorder and ask if they can deliver it to you.  If you don't need to go out and drive, then stay in and be safe!

Now's absolutely the time to ask for a little help.  Please be careful.

Since I live in New England, I thought I would write a timely blog about the snowy winter we've been having and how patients and caregivers deal with it.   

I was born in Connecticut and fondly remember playing outside in the snow, rolling different size snowballs into giant snowmen, snowwomen and even snow doggies!  Making snowforts and having the best snowball fights and, of course, making the perfect snow angel without getting your handprint in the snow when getting up!  

Sliding in my parents' backyard was a neighborhood favorite.  We started in my yard and slid through two neighbors' yards and then finally (if you so dared) through the woods down "killer hill."   By the time we walked back up to the top to slide down again, it was time for a cup of hot cocoa!  What great memories!  If you are going to live in New England, then you'd better love the snow!

Today, while I still love living in New England and enjoying all four seasons, the winter does bring with it some challenges.  Mother Nature gave us a foot of snow right after Christmas, then another two feet last week, and today we are forecast to get 10 more inches!  As a caregiver, I know this can add to our responsibilities and worries.

 Are you able to drive your loved one/patient to their doctor's appointments?  Physical Therapy?  Pharmacy?  Grocery store? (The list goes on) . . .If you don't have front-wheel drive or better yet, four-wheel drive, this can be a bit tricky!  Here are a few ideas that may be helpful:     

  • Some cancer centers have volunteer drivers you can contact to arrange rides to/from the doctor's appointment. Call your local cancer center and ask!
  •  Some towns have a "Senior Bus." Call your Town Hall and ask if they can drive you to the doctors, therapists, pharmacy, grocery store.
  • Small "mom & pop" type pharmacies still offer delivery service. Check with them!
  • High school students need to fulfill a certain amount of community service hours to graduate. Call your local high schools and find out if there are responsible teenagers in your neighborhood that can help you. 
  • Other possible volunteers who may be able to help: Eagle Scouts, church members, neighbors and, of course, family and friends.
  • Shoveling! Need I say more? If you don't have someone plowing your driveway this year, find someone now! Slipping and falling if you are a myeloma patient is just not a good thing. If you've got kids in your neighborhood, ask them! They'd love to make a little spending money . . . or better yet, perhaps even save a bit for college!

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Neighborly help is always welcome.  Thanks, Chris!

You may find that people are always asking you "what can I do to help?"  Well, now may be the time to let them know.  It makes people feel good to help and it will lighten your load a bit, too!

During the last snowstorm we had, our neighbor's son-in-law stopped by to snowblow his driveway.  He saw Michael, me and our two children shoveling our driveway, and before we knew it - he was helping us too!  (Thanks, Chris!) Thanks, also, to our neighbor Gary for plowing out the end of the driveway all winter! 

Do you have some tips for dealing with the winter weather to share?   Please consider posting them here under "comments." We'd love to hear from you!

1 Comment

Great post, as usual Robin! I have a simple little tip to share: If someone asks if they can help, LET THEM!! I think we all have a much easier time giving than receiving, but there are times when it just makes sense to let others help us, and I think most people will not ask how they can help if they don't sincerely mean it, so we all just have to work at saying yes more often, rather than "no thanks, I've got it". Kind of gives new, literal meaning to the saying "Pride goes before a fall"!!
And if nobody asks to help, the idea of enlisting neighbor kids to help with outdoor tasks is great. You may still have to go over things a bit, but it can considerably cut down the time you spend doing it, and give a little clink to someone's piggy bank in the process!

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