One Minute He's Hot; the Next He's Cold

The thermostat in my house is currently registering at 77o ferneiheit.  With all the activity I’ve been involved in today, I’m now sitting here melting at my computer. Meanwhile Lynn alternates between being hot and cold but mainly stays cold.

Before the days of MS, Lynn’s body temperature ran hot. It could be the middle of winter and he would be outside in shorts and a T-shirt cooking on the grill.  We used to joke that one day he would spontaneously combust into flames because he just radiated heat.   That changed shortly after his diagnosis.  He gradually became less tolerant of heat.  Instead of setting the temperature indoors to a chilly 70, he would be satisfied to allow me to set it at a more comfortable level where it was no longer necessary for me to bundle in a blanket and wear gloves to watch TV.  Then he went from being warm to the touch to being cold.
Lynn developed a urinary tract infection that was mistreated for a couple of months resulting in his becoming very ill.  His body was not able to fight off the infection and he became weaker and weaker.  As his health declined, he became cold. At times it was necessary for me to wrap him in blankets, put fleece lined footwear on him, cover his hands in gloves, and heat up sandbags to lie over his hands and against his body.  He was freezing all the time.
Eventually, he had to be admitted to the hospital and while there, he aspirated and developed pneumonia.  It wasn’t caught at first, because he had no fever.  He was very lethargic; sleeping all the time. His blood pressure was low as was his pulse, and his body temperature simply did not register.  For almost two days the staff just attributed the temperature difficulties to equipment.  Finally, one of the care partners got a rectal thermometer because she felt something just was not right.  Rectally, his body temperature should have been a degree higher than orally; however, his body temperature still did not register.   When they finally were able to get a reading, his body temperature was 90rectally!  He was immediately put into the ICU and a heat blanket used for hours to gradually bring his body temperature back to normal.
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2 thoughts on “One Minute He's Hot; the Next He's Cold”

  1. Donna – this must be so uncomfortable for both of you. Yet another wonderful problem brought to you by MS but without any effective means to address medically.
    Your story from the hospital is somewhat horrifying. His temp didn’t register? Why wasn’t this a cause for concern and further inquiry?
    Skip (my wife) has the opposite problem from Lynn. She is hot most of the time and I joke that there is no temperature setting where both of us are comfortable. I bundle up a lot inside, both winter and summer.

    1. Unfortunately, I think that because it was lower, they just assumed it was a defective thermometer. He was sleeping a lot with his mouth open and therefore, it was also possible that was why it was not registering. It wasn’t until one of the care partners wanted to be sure there was not a problem so she got a rectal temp that they realized, it was not the equipment. Thank goodness for her or he would have died.

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