How Dry I Am: Winter with Sjogren's Syndrome
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Those good old western movies I watched as a child, or maybe it was the war movies, have left their influence. That old song, usually sung by a drunken sot, “How dry I am, How dry I am, nobody knows, how dry I am.” Come to think of it, that’s pretty nonsensical because they aren’t dry at all. Now as for me, I know about dry.
Even in the midst of winter, the dryness of eyes, mouth and nose extends to many other areas of the body. We inhale cold freezing air and it does its aeration all the way to the lungs. There are so many times that I, like you, just want to say “Bollocks!” to all the precautions. I want to live my life. Isn’t it bad enough I have to do it with pain in my sitter, pain in my knees, pain in my ankles, etc as well as extreme changes in my skin. I slather on sunscreen, even in the winter if I’m going to do more than make a quick dash to the car.
That was certainly the case when I hung lights on our fence around our house and was determined to decorate the bushes and trees with festive lights, as well. I wore sunscreen on any exposed part of me, wore a hat, long underwear and gloves but didn’t realize how much frigid air was going into my dry eyes, entering my nostrils and even my mouth. As a result I ended up in, well, “a fix.”
The result was my ears and neck were just fine but my eyes were swollen, red and inflamed, painfully. I’ve had a virus in my throat and it apparently spread to my eyes. When I went to the ophthalmologist, I couldn’t even read the top line of the eye chart. One forgets how very important those parts of our life function are, like vision. The inside of my nose was also scalded from the wind, and swollen. I had frequent, light nose bleeds. I lost my voice, which usually makes my husband ecstatic but the whole package was so pathetic, he felt badly for me.
I share all of this with all of you because I share almost everything and to warn you, if you are dry, not necessarily diagnosed with Sjogren’s, but perhaps dry from a medication or rheumatoid disease, beware.
The repair of damaged tissues is slow in coming. There are many eye drops along the way, which are usually a part of my daily life but more so now. I bought a humidifier for our bedroom because we keep a small oil encapsulated heater going at night and rain or not, it gets dry in here. I, also, read the other day that humidifiers keep you from getting wrinkles. Too late, for that bit of knowledge but good to know.
I urge all of you to cover up, use your eye drops, watch the wind as well as ceiling fans and put off that errand if you can. We all need to be aware of the effect of the wind and cold on our skin and there are many wonderful creams out there. I once read that the actress Doris Day frequently slathers on Vaseline, all over her body and sleeps that way. Not a bad idea. Hope it’s true. I like to envision Doris with her long jammies, her gloves and white socks all cuddled up.
In the meantime, “How dry I am, How dry I am,” indeed I know how dry I am. Take care in this winter weather.
Video: Tips for Sjogren's Syndrome- Now With Captions!
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