I Accept That I Will Never Be The Elsa In This Story

Pink flower in the snow

This week has been all about the cold - coping with the cold; not coping with the cold; admiring the cold (so sparkly!); fearing that the cold was trying to kill me (so slippery!); hoping nobody was watching while I tried to crow bar our frozen bin lid open.

I am not good with the cold. I say that to people and they scoff that they don't have that problem because they know about thermal gloves.

I know about thermal gloves. I also know about fleece-lined snow boots and fleece-lined hats and fleece-lined tights and fleece-lined coats. But, sadly, I don't have a fleece-lined epidermis, so none of those things solve my problem.

What I have is Raynaud's phenomenon, which is... yeah... being not very good with the cold. Having fingers and toes and sometimes other extremities which go so red and white and purple and blue it's like carrying around your own little personal sunset. Not the good kind of sunset which makes you take a photograph. A bad kind which causes you lots of pain and which you try to photograph because your doctor's told you it would be helpful, but your fingers don't really work and your camera keeps trying to colour correct it back to something resembling a normal, human skin tone so you end up with twenty pictures of lavender sausages.

Anyway, I've had bad years and I've had good years. It went away entirely during my pregnancies. But this year has been awful. They say it gets worse when you're stressed. Can't see how that's relevant.

This year, my hands have been purple by the middle of the morning and too stiff and sore to scroll Instagram hold a book most evenings; it even hurts to breathe. So I spoke to the doctor even though it involved talking on a phone, had some blood tests and got a prescription which sounds like the thin lipped auntie in a story about plucky Victorian orphans. Miss Nifedipine Gulch, high lace collars and no tolerance for nonsense.

And what a revelation it has been! 

For the first time ever, I took my kids out in the snow and quite enjoyed myself. I mean, I didn't go so far as actually touching the stuff, but I didn't want to hack my feet off with an icicle just to stop them from hurting.

In the afternoon, I found it so toasty in our twenty degrees living room, my toes got sweaty and I had to take my slippers off.

It's bliss. Slightly flushed, bleeding gummed, tingly fingertipped bliss. 

Of course, there's still a risk of nasty side effects emerging, but I'm hopeful I'll be fine as my fingers can actually cross themselves for luck.

NOTE: I'm not suggesting everyone with cold fingers heads to their doctor. This is heavy duty angina medication and they won't prescribe it unless it's really needed. I'm hoping not to use it every year.

* * *

On the subject of medical miracles, my sister - a nurse who sometimes works on the covid ward in a particularly infected part of the country - had her vaccine this week.

This is good news on a personal level, obviously, because we all want to know our loved ones are safe. 

But also it made it real. Somebody I actually know has had the vaccine. It's not just a story on the news and a photograph of someone having an injection. It's happening. I'm starting to believe it. I'm feeling a tiny glimmer of hope (about lockdown; not the general state of the world).