The Best Place to Live in the Winter

The best place to live in the winter is something that I have looked into for years. Being from South Dakota made me think that any place warm sounded good. In the 1980s, the diagnosis was osteoarthritis in my knees. I had my first arthritis surgery. My knees always feel so painful, I wrap them up when going outdoors for a long time.

Deep freeze

Winters here are like living in the deep freeze. That and air conditioning in the summer makes me remember that I'm in the deep freeze indoors and out. My parents were snowbirds and lived down in Florida for years. They tried other places, but Florida was their winter home. I was able to experience Florida for a couple of weeks over many winters. Periodically my kids came too. I loved the fishing down there. Grouper was on the menu. We caught so many things, it was amazing. My favorite saying was "I'm going to sell seashells on the seashore".

I loved to travel. The Black Hills was my favorite local place to be. I went out there periodically for work and took blood pressure during the annual motorcycle rally. My husband and I lived and worked there for a few years. I always wanted to go back. The temperature is only 10 degrees warmer there than it is here. Winters there were so beautiful. That scenery is worth living in the hills of South Dakota during the winter.

I hadn’t flown for awhile. It was strange, and as we took off it was difficult to breathe. Using my portable pulse oximeter, it read that my oxygen level was 79%. That wasn’t good. Using my Pro Air rescue inhaler brought my oxygen back up to 95% or so.

No scents and feeling good

It was November 2010. My mom was turning 80 and it was her birthday. The families were getting together in Arizona. Oh my, it didn’t get better than this! I could breathe. Most of us stayed in a motel. I had a green room, which was perfect. When you want unscented cleaning products used, ask for a green room. I wanted to walk and explore! We checked out the hotel. My older son leased a car, so we headed over to my brother's place. It was great, and the food - my, they must have been cooking for a week!

Everyone was so considerate, no one wore anything scented. We only had five days, which included Thanksgiving. This was amazing! I could walk and breathe! My osteoporosis and fibro pains were gone. Muscles and joints felt loose. I could have danced! Maybe I did lol. We walked the tourist areas and the stores that weren’t too smelly.

Close call

The only “event” that I had was walking out into the hallway from my motel room. Two hotel housekeepers were talking. When I stepped into the hall, I must have scared them. One sprayed a cleaning agent right into my space. I figure that I must have surprised them into working, hence the spray.

Thankfully my youngest child, who was in his 30s, was with me. He helped me out of the motel and into my other son’s car. Everyone wanted to take me to the ER. I told them to take me to the house and I’d treat myself and see how I do. Thank God for inhalers and emergency needs, such as nebulizers and allergy items. Rescue inhalers and EpiPens are #1. The nebulizer and more soon followed.

Wrapping up the trip

Everyone was so worried that they frequently came and checked on me. Soon, I was sitting around the pool with the others. I was moving slowly, but as long as I could be seen, everyone relaxed. My sister-in-law insisted that I stay there for the rest of the time.

When it was time to leave, I had to take a last walk around the area. I was sad to be leaving. Then I remembered to check my oxygen levels again. It was normal on the ground and dropped to 79% again once we were in the air. Rescue inhaler! Check! That 79% seemed to be a standard number for me.

From Arizona to Florida

My doctor was so impressed and excited. I felt so good and it lingered! I was ready to pack my bags. My doctor was ready to write me an order to go to Arizona. Seriously. My husband and I discussed it. I didn’t want to go by myself to test it for 30 days. I wouldn't be able to bring my four pups. "Ah well", we thought, "maybe when we retire."

My next place to travel was Florida. As we took off, I immediately used my Pro Air inhaler. The rest of the flight was uneventful. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I regretted that deep inhalation of air that was my tradition as I stepped onto the Fort Myers tarmac.

I remember losing my air as I breathed in that hot humid air. Coughing took over. Thankfully there was a driver waiting to take me over to Cape Coral. It was a struggle to breathe. I spent a lot of downtime relaxing and turned up the air conditioning which made everyone cold. I needed that to breathe.

Home is the best place to be

So where is the best place to be in the winter? Home. Looking out the windows, there are big snowflakes falling. They are so pretty. Because of allergies and more, I’m basically homebound. I go out for doctor appointments.

Allergies trigger my COPD. We adjust the inside temperatures in the house as needed. As a doctor once told me, I need cool air from the neck up and a sauna from the neck down. Actually, this applies to summer as well, as we run our air conditioners. I wear a cardigan always.

Changes

I always say that we are the weather people. Even a couple of days before they happen, we feel weather changes coming. The barometric pressure or other things that can wreak havoc on a body are acting up - what do I do?

Breathe.

Pursed-lip breathing is so important when we have breathing problems. I cope. Sometimes cry, but not often. Date night is a good event and I watch a TV show with my hubby and snuggle with our puppies. My husband can still do some of the things that he enjoys and work periodically too. We are both slowing down and struggle with health. What can we do? My husband says we’ll take care of each other wherever we are.

What makes my world go round

Thinking of driving on busy streets doesn’t appeal to either of us. I seldom drive anymore as it is and this is a small town. Staying here, our kids and grandkids can come to see us. That’s what makes my world go round. Our furbabies keep us more active, more content, and provide lots of smiles. On my down days, they are snugglers. My hubby likes them too.

As others travel or go someplace, we just need to remember that we are all only a plane ride away. Searching, we couldn’t find the right place on the map or internet.

We decided that home is where the heart is.

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