Posted by Pattie on 8/13/2002 10:55:00 AM


I hate summer, or rather summer hates me. Okay, I'm a reasonably intelligent person and I am an extremely educated person (I have the debt to prove that one) and so I know intellectually that summer isn't an entity that hates or loves. But I don't care. Summer hates me. The temperature has been around 30 (celsius) for the past few days. (Follow the conversion: 30/5 = 6 x 9 = 54 + 32 = 86 degrees Fahrenheit.) Okay that doesn't seem like a heat wave in most of the world, but in Victoria no one has an air conditioner. The high 80s outside means my 3rd story apartment is in the mid-90s with no goddamn air conditioner. On top of it all, my neighbor likes to smoke on her balcony, so I often can't breathe when I have the windows open. My apartment sits on the northwest side and all the afternoon sun comes pouring in with no shade. When we moved into this apartment last November, we didn't realize how much sun a northwest apartment gets in a Canadian city. It is difficult for this southern girl to realize how long the days are in the summer time and how far north the sun travels.

If you think me unreasonable, I suggest you look up the symptoms for lupus. When I get too much sun, I get rashes, my joints ache and I feel feverish. It's like having the flu all summer long. In truth, there are people with lupus who have far worse symptoms from sun exposure. The worse thing that has ever happened to me is a few summers ago I got a nasty rash from being in the pool late in the afternoon (the sun was low, but it was reflecting off the water, apparently pretty intensely) and my blood ANA count shot up. This indicated a big immune reaction, but it didn't damage any organs and it went away once I started swimming after dark.

I moved to the westcoast of Canada to get away from the sun and the heat. In truth there is much less sun here in the summertime than elsewhere in Canada. Fog rolls in, it is cloudy for part of the day, etc. But we keep having these four or five days in a row of bright, sunny, hot days. Then I suffer another three or four days recovering. I didn't want to move again. I wanted to settle into our beautiful apartment for a few years until we were ready to buy a house or something, but I don't see how I can take another summer in this apartment. I need no afternoon sun and a dark space during the day. I need air conditioning. Today I'm going to get that at the U. Vic. library. Thank goddess for lap top computers.

I have to admit that I hate having a chronic illness. Sometimes I'm cool with it, you know, it's just one of those things you take care of in life, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. But when I feel overwhelmed by the heat and sun, when I feel sick with the flu, I get paranoid. I feel persecuted and punished. What did I ever do to the sun anyway for it to hate me so? The first book of any note written for lupus patients was The Sun Is My Enemy by Henrietta Aladjem. I've never read the book, but I do understand the title.

The good news is that it's only 41 more days to Autumn Equinox and shorter days.