Saturday, February 18, 2017

Blizzard fatigue

Sorry, no photos today. For some reason I have an aversion to photographing huge accumulations of snow. I have a mountain in my front yard that blocks the view, if we get some nice sunny weather I am going sledding on it.

It's been a long exhausting week, three blizzards in 6 days, one of which set snowfall records in some places. People who were here for White Juan in February 2004 say it doesn't top that, but I think the three blizzards (starting Thursday night, Sunday night and Wednesday night) in 6 days probably does. Environment Canada says there is 77cm of snow on the ground now in Kentville, but they got less snow during the big storm (36cm) than Wolfville (54cm), so I think we probably have more on the ground now. My snowplough guy came 4 times to clear my driveway, he ran out of space on my property to shove the snow so then he started piling it across the street in front of another house he ploughs for. Somewhere under the 250cm of hard packed snow is a sidewalk, don't think that will be getting cleared anytime soon! No one uses the sidewalk on my street in wintertime anyway, too steep and slippery. There's not a lot of car traffic so people just walk in the road, people living on busier nearby streets come to my street to walk down the hill on the road because their sidewalks are just as bad but the car traffic heavier.

In addition to heavy snowfall there have been high winds, these blizzards are called Nor'easters and they don't mess around. They are storms that come up the east coast and then hit a cold front north of us and curl around and wallop us from behind with high winds and heavy snow, ice pellets or rain, depending on location. Halifax and the South Shore usually get snow followed by rain, turning that city into a disaster of snow drifts, ice and thick slush. In Cape Breton they get les suetes: really strong southeast winds.

In the winter of 2015, two years ago, we had an unrelenting series of Nor'easters that left us in the same spot we are in now and delayed spring by over a month. There was still snow on the ground in May which is unusual, it's usually all gone by early April. It started in February and didn't quit until mid-April, the snow kept accumulating because there were never any thaws to melt it. So now we are looking at these storms and all the snow piled everywhere and wondering if we're in for another winter like that. But the good news is that we have a week of relatively warm weather ahead of us, even the possibility of rain showers. It will put a bit of a dint in the accumulation but even better it is a good sign that this winter won't be a repeat of 2015 when there was no thawing at all.

Before the last blizzard I started getting chest tightness and dizziness while shovelling. I managed to get things more or less tidied up before quitting, but after the third storm the chest tightness and dizziness returned when I tried to dig out my car, so I stopped. A few friends that I told this too freaked out and told me to go to Emerge immediately. I resisted. Someone accused me of being in denial. I was sure that was not it, if anything I'm more of a hypochondriac than a denier. I recalled my last time going to Emerge for what appeared to be a heart problem and how it turned out to be for nothing, plus I ended up with complications due to a botched angiogram (nicked my femoral artery). Yesterday I remembered that I had blogged about that whole episode (scattered through February and March 2010 if you want to look it up yourself) so I went back and read the relevant posts. Among other things I read the final diagnosis for that episode and realized that it was the same thing this time. I looked it up on the internet just to be sure and it is. Something called LPR or "silent reflux," a form of acid reflux without the classic heartburn sensations that mimics a heart attack almost exactly. Among the warning signs is coughing and hoarseness, which I have had lately but considered minor and irrelevant. So it turns out that there is a good reason to keep a blog: medical records!

My snow plough guy has 4 kids under 7, they all came down with stomach flu at once. Then he and his wife got it and his mother-in-law too because they were staying with her while their house was being renovated. And on top of that he was busy around the clock with ploughing snow for a week. He's almost a zombie now. I didn't know how I was going to get my car dug out with the chest issue but he brought along a neighbour to dig out my car. I have students living next door to me, one of them had offered last year to do anything I wanted by way of help and I would have asked him to do it except I didn't know his phone number and there was no path into his house that didn't involve floundering through 100cm drifts. He reminded me of his promise when I met him on the street yesterday, almost offended that I hadn't called him. I must get his phone number.


Rain Trueax said...

Anxiety and panic attacks might be what you experienced. They are not nothing but it helps when a person realizes what they are.

I do not envy the snow. We are heading into spring down here and I am soooo ready. Just the slightly longer days helps some

Annie said...

No, not panic/anxiety. Had this before, it's definitely LPR. But you're right, it helps when you know what is happening.

We are used to long winters here and the worst season for us is spring. When I lived on the Wet Coast spring was quite wonderful, but here not so much. Muddy, grey leafless trees, cold rain, dirty old snow hanging on too long.

Wisewebwoman said...

Jeez our winters look tropical by comparison. I will stop whining now.

Glad to.hear it's not your heart and I remember your posts from before.

Safe hunkering until The Thaw


Rain Trueax said...

Does Prilosec help with the silent reflux? I pretty much use it all the time because if I don't, I get acid reflux. Gas can also cause me to feel weird and it seems many things that did not used to now cause gas. Aging is such fun :) Of course, considering the alternative...

Annie said...

I have no idea Rain, haven't tried it. I imagine that what works for acid reflux also works for LPR, but I don't know. I will try dietary control for now as I am leery of longterm use of those kind of drugs. Dietary changes worked for me before, I just didn't keep it up because the symptoms went away and I thought I was out of the woods on that one. Apparently not.

Annie said...

Don't you get our storms too Wisewebwoman? Well we have melting now and possible rain in the forecast. Rain is a two-edged sword, we get to trade snow for ice...