Winter is flu and cold season, but did you know it’s also Tin Man Syndrome season? Each winter I catch this particular case around late November. I must admit it’s a made-up syndrome created by yours truly, but it’s real to me and some of my closest friends are bothered by it, too.
If you’ve ever watched the movie classic The Wizard of Oz, you may be familiar with the Tin Man. The Tin Man had many issues, including how his whole body stiffened when wet and/or cold. No matter what he did, when he got cold or wet his muscles stiffened to the point he was not able to move.
My Tin Man Syndrome is not quite as bad as the Tin Man’s, but when I get cold or wet, it takes me hours to warm up. It’s an awful feeling! Have you ever been cold on the inside? It’s sometimes overwhelming. I’m sure my Tin Man Syndrome has a lot to do with my poor circulation due to my disability, but I still manage to push through.
There are things people with this syndrome can do to maintain their health and spirits this cold time of the year.
I find my heating pad to be my best friend when the syndrome is upon me. There’s something about the warmth penetrating through to my muscles that relaxes them. Hot beverages also tend to help me warm up. If you have tea, coffee or soup you can slurp, it really helps. For my straw drinkers, an ice cube in your hot beverage to cool it down so you won’t burn your tongue when sipping. For those 21 and older, a glass of wine will warm you up; I find the darker the wine, the quicker the warming process. Granted, long johns are not best fashion statement but they will keep you warm. Plus, no one has to know you have them on. Warm, fuzzy socks also help me, because my feet are first to go cold. Also, you can never go wrong with a hot bath or shower.
Finally, the absolute best way to head off Tin Man is to exercise daily. I’m happy to report I will be starting physical therapy this month. I’m looking forward to learning stretching techniques, taking few steps on my walker, and learning routines to warm up my muscles. I’m also looking forward to learning how to Dab!
If you are affected by the Tin Man Syndrome, try and not let Old Man Winter be a blight this year. Stay warm and remember: Spring is right around the corner.