My Recipe For Holiday Hibernation
Do you ever feel jealous that bears get to hibernate through the holidays? They go sauntering into their caves, easy as they please to nap through the lousy weather, shopping, forced cheer, and tense situations. When's the last time somebody told a bear to go vegan for her acne, infertility, or AS? Never. It never happens because bears have it handled!
Hey, most of the holidays are in winter
According to Britannica.com, "hibernation is a state of greatly reduced metabolic activity and lower body temperature adopted by certain mammals as an adaptation to adverse winter conditions." This magic doesn't happen all by itself. Hibernators prepare their bodies and caves to make it through. "Before entering the hibernation stage, animals generally store fat to help them survive the long winter." Butterflies and other insects also have their own version of hibernation.
The last caterpillars of the season go into chrysalis and stay there until spring. They pick someplace on a branch, shrub, or even the side of a house to latch on and wait. Butterfly raising is my one truly absurd hobby. I'll give you the details of and motivations for this deviant behavior another time. For now, just know that I give my caterpillars a series name and a flight or release name. The 2019 caterpillars were designated Harriet 20 Tubman Von Juneteenth Tharpe and sequentially numbered. You can see the Harriet I here.
I've always admired Jackie Robinson for his aggressive style of play. He was well known for stealing home, so it was a natural name for this little scamp that surprised me in my office!
He went missing as a caterpillar in 2018. The dog seemed a little too curious about them and she was all about eating things, but there was nothing to do about it. He'd crawled about a foot from where I last saw him to overwinter on a table leg in my office. Mr. Jack 42 Robinson came out into the world on June 28th, 2019. He was just flying around in my office when I opened the door. It was the most surprised I've been in years! You can see that handsome devil's release into our garden through this link.
1. Hibernation is relatively straight forward
Jackie and bears manage hibernation by preparing their caves or chrysalis, shutting the door, keeping a few air holes, and getting on with their business.
2. Prepare your cave
Decide carefully about how and where to spend the holidays. Ideally, this should include a trusted squad capable of helping you thrive.
3. Shut the door
Limit your exposures to stress, triggers, and arguing. This may include deleting social media from your phone or tablet until the holidays have passed. Consider giving yourself an early bedtime. Make a list of safe shows, movies, music, and other activities to see you through. Try to limit shopping as much as possible.
4. Make air holesTry something new, something without baggage. Make a pact to text a trusted friend for support. Try to go for a walk or get a bit of exercise. Remember that the holidays won't last forever. It's going to be okay.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?