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In my last MS blog "Flexible, Adaptable, Accessible Gardening I talked about the importance of using cooling devices. In fact I used an example of when I did not and it was 95 degrees when I was picking lettuce from my raised lettuce bed. It really whipped me and took me a couple hours to be able to get up walking again.
It's essential to have a sunny area for your garden. But with MS you have to be careful and I wasn't that day. Not only was I out in the hot sun working but I also was using insufficient cooling devices. I had mentioned in my blog that I had ordered new cooling devices but they hadn't arrived yet.
Well I have received some of the new cooling devices I ordered and wanted to give a report. I received my cooling wristband, hat insert and neck cooler. These cooling devices use gel packs which fit into fabrics for the area to be cooled. The day after I received them I went out to pick my lettuce later in the day
And it was too hot there again (95). But I realized it was a perfect opportunity to try out my new cooling devices. As I had put the gel packs into my freezer the night before they were ready to be inserted. So with my hat, wrists, and neck cooling devices I ventured to my raised lettuce bed and picked my greens very comfortably in 95 degree heat. As I didn't want to push it I came right inside and brought the greens into the kitchen to put them in the cold water to be washed. Then I rested but found I was still quite warm from the activity and it took time to cool down.
The next day I went out again and tried out the same procedures of the cold packs and did more gardening until my legs became quite stiff and uncomfortable but I did make it back up the few steps and sat down on the seat of my wheeled walker and pushed myself backwards into the house. Turned on the air conditioner in my bedroom and tried to cool down a little . Lesson learned don't push it .
The next day I received my vest which is a very simple inexpensive version of a cooling vest. Essentially I put in 4 gel packs into a very lightweight simple vest. I put the gel packs into the freezer and the following day when it was hot I went out to see how much more I could accomplish with the Vest also. It was definitely more effective ! The temperature was over 100 degrees in my garden and I could stay there longer than I had on the previous times. And I found an additional bonus with it. I left the Vest on when I went into my bedroom with the air conditioner and I found that I cooled down very very rapidly.
Then I began to think about how men can take off their shirts and spray themselves water and cool down so much faster than women can because we don't take off our shirts in public. So I thought well let me give it a try in private. So this time when I went into my bedroom with the with the air conditioner on I took off my shirt and bra misted myself with a little to water and voila it was very cooling.
It seems that men have another advantage when they are gardening besides their big muscles. All they have to do is take off their shirts spray themselves with a little water and they can cool down right then and there. Another thing that men automatically seem to do is put on very loose clothing. I have a lot of nice form fitting tee shirts but when I'm out working I have gone strictly to the real light colored loose ones because I just don't get as hot in them.
To summarize: I find that the use of the gel insert in my hat works great. The wristbands with the gel insert are comfortable but they are limited in cooling effectiveness. The neck collar with the gel pack is definitely effective but it's bulky. I really don't like wearing it. But it it has a good use. It did help me cool down faster. But the best cooler of all was the Vest. And the two that I tend to use most of the time are the Vest and the insert for my hat. I have also decided to buy a more expensive Vest next year to use out of my garden.
I know this is kind of late in the season to talk about cooling devices. Actually unusually late but it has been an unusually cool summer in upstate NY until mid to late August. So if you don't need these now think of next year and be prepared. For those with a longer warm weather season or if you go south these
might still help this year.
Below are shots of me donning and wearing my ice packs and checking things out in the garden. I'm using a wheelchair because it seems that my Fall remission is here. Will call my Neuro if I don't pull out in a couple of days. I've got to get back into the garden.
Then Down The Bridge-Ramp checking out more of the garden to the deck. Where my chaise with the great view under the shady pines is
This is what these cooling trappings are all for. The Garden. This is my family's and mine wonderful shared hobby!
As I mentioned in my earlier blog I used the internet to search for cooling devices. I ended up on the USA Techguide at http://www.usatechguide.org/techguide.php?vmode=1&catid=187 I purchased my gel cooling wrist, head and neck bands from Steele Body Cooling Comfort Systems at www.steelevest.com My Vest I bought from Trrex cooling apparel at http://www.trrex.com
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