It’s Too Damned Hot

Kage Baker, I am fairly sure, would be pissed off at me right now. I am not rising to the varied challenges of my life. I am not pulling myself up by my boot-straps – in fact, I’m not even putting on boots. I’m just wandering about listlessly barefoot, in my pajamas.

The heat has gotten to me badly, Dear Readers. Mind you, it’s much better these last couple of days; merely in the 80’s. But it was killing hot last week, and it’s supposed to be killing hot next week. And the humidity keeps rising, while never granting us the relief of a thunderstorm. Lots of dry lightning, sure – which is setting portions of the West Coast alight hither and yon – but no storm. I could survive a storm. I’m not so sure about this relentless damned damp heat.

Kage would tell me to adapt. Fight back! Adjust the environment! Wear few and light clothes, drink cold drinks, sit in the paths of fans! Take cool showers!

I’ve done all those things. They do help – at least, they keep me alive – but they don’t make me feel well enough to be productive. And the relentless heat keeps knocking me out. It’s worse than last year … Sleep has become my most frequent reaction to this weather, and I’ve spent most the last week as an unconscious lump. I dream of suffocation, and of wandering around strange buildings looking for bathrooms and my pills: then wake to discover I can’t catch my breath, I’m nauseated and dizzy and my chest hurts … and I have to go to the bathroom on top of everything else!

So I stagger into the bathroom, caroming off doors frames and walking like a drunken crab: and there I am greeted with the local croca-cat. Just two cold green eyes and accusatory radar-dish ears rising out of the basin, disapproving of all the noise, fuss and bother I bring. And she likes it even less when I wash my hands …

The heat is my enemy. Our house has A/C in the living room, and fans everywhere else; I can stay pretty cool and functional, as long as I never ever step outside when the temperature gets above 80 … but with every day of heat, the house loses a little ground. All the while, I am desperately seeking a new normal, some set of circumstances under which I can survive this heat – but the only thing that helps is just to huddle here between the A/C and the fans, glugging cold drinks and trying not to move too much.

It’s not the discomfort. Honestly, I’m not that much of a wimp. I’m a native Californio, I know how to survive heat. It’s that my heart is having tantrums. When it gets hot … I am perpetually short of breath. Arrhythmias blossom like fluttering pigeons in my chest. I’m dizzy. I’m nauseated. I’m exhausted. And every couple of hours, I absolutely must sleep, bad dreams and SOB and all.

The head of my order of the cardiac-impaired (he’s my go-to advice guy on handling this from the patient side: you wouldn’t believe what’s wrong with him!) tells me that if I get sleepy, I should sleep. No argument – the narcolepsies are on my side, in their weird, inconvenient way. Apparently it’s a way for the confused heart to reboot itself. And I don’t seem to be in any real danger, as long as I take my meds and rest.

The problem is that I don’t like resting 20 hours out of every 24. On the other hand … if I ignore the signals or something kicks up worse, Kimberly is perfectly willing to throw a net over me and drag me off to the ER. So in the interests of at least being bored and exhausted in my own home, I am behaving.

I’m just not accomplishing much. But I will. I am learning how. And it’s a little cooler. Kage might disapprove of my lethargy, but she did find out what it was to be unable to keep one’s eyes open … as long as I keep trying, her phantom scowl will retreat and let me sleep.

Anyway, Dear Readers, that’s how it is with me. I’m at home, hiding from my own heart. It sounds romantic as all get out, but it’s not.

Nonetheless: as John Carter said, I still live! And I shall persevere.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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2 Responses to It’s Too Damned Hot

  1. kathy allen says:

    Heat stinks. Especially if you have heart problems. Wish you could relocate temporarily to Half Moon Bay or Monterey, where a huge fog bank twirls mysteriously just beyond the shore. You have to reach for a jacket that isn’t there, since it was 104 when you left lovely Livermore.

    Be good to yourself, dear friend!


    • Kate says:

      I have plans to do a sort of Northern tour in late July and August. I shall be coming up for a wedding, and then I’ll probably lie around and get in the way for a few days. And a trip to Monterey may be just what I need. Then head up to Seattle to play with some semi-grandbabies in the lovely grey coolth up there.


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