Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The BEST Place to Live (If You Have MS)

I got a question the other day about where would be the best place to relocate to if you have multiple sclerosis. So I put on my thinkin’ cap—and contrary to what my sisters say, it is not tall and pointy—and started narrowing down options. First, obviously, you’ll want to nix anywhere that’s both hot and humid, the MS double sledgehammer (or in WWE parlance, the flying forearm smash combined with the spinning headlock elbow drop), so let’s avoid that. Actually, let’s also include on the no-go list areas that just get plain hot. I mean, hot is still hot. (Sorry Qatar.) So how about the mountains? Um, too snowy and icy. Seriously, if you have any walking issues, snow on the ground will make going anywhere outside a bit like prepping to tackle K2. And let’s not even talk about all the hot tub parties you’d likely have to take a pass on, as hot tubs are the testicular claw of illegal wrestling moves for many of us. Now I guess that means we’ll have to lop off any place in the world where it snows. Ah then, what about an area that is cool but not snowy, like the Pacific Northwest or Scotland? No, no, that won’t work. I probably don’t have to remind you that MSers need more Vitamin D. Plus depression is a big problem with MS and days of rain can enhance those bummed out feelings. Think getting pinned by a split-legged corkscrew moonsault. Yeah, I know, ugh. I hate when I get moonsaulted. Hmm.

Aha! Maybe a sunny area along the coast that is dry. It can’t get too hot by the ocean, can it? Like 113 degrees in Los Angeles last year or 115 degrees in Melbourne, Australia, the year before. Oy vey. And besides, you need to have a fat wallet to get a pad in those locations, something most of us don’t have. Oh, oh, I think I’ve got it. A deserted island with the ideal temperature year round and cool ocean breezes and the perfect amount of sun! Yes! Wait, no. You’d have no access to medical care or Cheetos, two non-starters in my book. So does that mean there is not an MS utopia we should all move to? Honestly, you are probably already there.
The best area to live—by far—is where you have the strongest social network of family and friends. Having folks you can count on to lend a hand when you hit a rough patch—physically or mentally—will help you get up faster from the mat, even after an El Kabong. (Note: according to Wikipedia, El Kabong, although it sounds a lot like a nasty relapse, “simply involves breaking a guitar over an opponent’s head. The name is a reference to Quick Draw McGraw who would say this phrase prior to hitting someone with a guitar.” Come to think of it, that sounds exactly like a relapse, so it turns out I’ve been El Kabonged more than a few times!)

Originally published April 29th, 2011.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

ha, ha - or here in AZ where it's been known to hit 120+ (but it's a dry heat).

life well Lived said...

I'd add one more requirement. I want a place I can die. Heck if I am moving again.

I have to confess my ideal place was on your list of no goes, but I can take the rain. Rain keeps me cool. That's part of why I have long aspired to retire to Portland.

Of course the things worth living for keep me tied, comfortably for the time being, in Maryland. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind when the days of 100s come in July in August. I say 100's because the average of the temp and humidity is over 100 on some of the nastier ones.

Niko said...

Up North in Canada eh! Okay so there's way too much snow and it can go down to -40 with the windshield in the winter, but I like the cold!
Ideally I'd like some place like British Columbia, or Oregon... I need lush green forests and cool days; rain doesn't bother me.
Ultimately though, even if I decide to live with my boyfriend in California for a few years, I will probably come back to Quebec because it is my home and our family surrounds us. I think that is the most important. (....and free health care).

Dave Bexfield said...

Dang, I dig all those places! Portland, Arizona (especially up north), BC, Quebec, even Maryland (where I was born).

deweyhafta said...

Do you remember Quick Draw's sidekick who called him Sen᷉or Qweeks Draw?

You didn't mention Hawaii. I was there once, doesn't get hot, doesn't get cold. I didn't notice whether or not they have Cheetos, but I think they might. The right kind of medical care could be an issue.

I live in southwestern Colorado in the mountains. It rarely gets over 90 here in the summer. In the winter I get a fair amount of snow, but I am getting used to it. When I bought this property, I looked around and said, “This is where I would like to die”. I don't plan on dropping dead anytime soon, I just don't want to move again. Medical care isn't the greatest here, but I travel to Denver twice a year to see my neurologist.

British Columbia sounds nice to me. As do a lot of other places. But I'm not going to move again, even if I get cured of MS. Hell, I've got 5 acres here that I really need to walk around on again.

Do any of you people reading this remember Quick Draw McGraw?

Anonymous said...

Dave, I challenge you to find much wrong with Denver, Colorado. Over 300 days a year of sunshine, negligible humidity, and minimal snow in the metro area on average make it hard to beat for someone with MS. Oh, and did I mention that it's absolutely beautiful here?

Anonymous said...

Hey - I live in Northern Colorado. It's way too hot in the summer, here. Otherwise I love it here. I'm thinking of spending summers in BC, Seattle, SF, Novia Scotia? I've thought about this option a lot. Bigger cities work better for transportation and adapted rec options.

Dave Bexfield said...

Love, love Colorado. Like New Mexico, most of it is a mile high (or more) with low humidity. Down in NM we get slightly warmer summers on average and a little warmer winters. But Denver has more extreme days. Albuquerque only hit 100 twice last year (but we had few cool days) while Denver hit triple digits 13 times. You had a record toasty 2012! Let's cross fingers this summer is cooler.

sue said...

Hi I just wanted to say that I've had MS will long time but it's just been the last 5 to 10 years that it seems to be a harder for me to deal with the climate change I live in New York and with this heat and humidity I can't even leave my house, it's like the heat immobilizes me so I'm looking into getting a cooling vest hopefully that'll help, many years ago that the best place for people like us would be San Diego supposedly they have good weather all year round never been there but if I can get there I will I don't have a big family and I hardly see them anyway, I went to Vail Colorado like two years ago for the MS can do program and it was just great I even swam close by the snow topped mountains it was just awesome!!

Dave Bexfield said...

San Diego has some great beer, too. That makes moving there a double bonus (if you can afford it).

StoutMia said...

I've been looking to move out of Miami since I've been diagnosed 7 years ago. Yes, it is blazingly hot and humid here, cutting my outdoor activities to 10 minutes at a time. And most of my family, friends, and significant other is here. But people use the a/c quite a lot here go swimming and the rain does cool things off for a while, even if it makes it humid for the remaining week.
When I've been to places north of here, people use the heaters, which I find just as bad as the sun, if not worse (no shade). It's fine if you are in control of the thermostat, but what if you are in a building (store, restaurant, office) and they have the thermostat set to 82 degrees F. That's too hot for me!!! I have to leave the building or pass out.
I think we are more than screwed when it comes to weather and our health!

Dave Bexfield said...

StoutMia, remember that even Superman has to deal with kryptonite. Channel your inner superpowers... and crank the A/C!

Anonymous said...

I have primary progressive MS. Surprisingly a great weather environment is San Jose, Costa Rica. Moderate climate year-round and fairly decent in the Santa Ana area.

The major downfall is lack of transportation if you are in a wheelchair. At that point it basically becomes unlivable. But if you are ambulatory it's pretty nice.

Great Pacific beaches are an hour and a half way, the Gulf is about two hours away.

Cost-of-living is rising but it is on par with the US.

Dave Bexfield said...

I've been to Costa Rica, but never to San Jose. The weather is indeed temperate and mild since the city is over 3,800 feet in elevation. The lack of disability friendly transportation doesn't surprise me, though.

Joanne said...

I live in New York now (2015). My daughter wants to go to graduate school in Portland. I've had MS since 2006.. I am concerned about moving so far away from family but I need a change BADLY!! Lol!!! I think Portland is beautiful. I'm hoping it's not as EXPENSIVE as New York. Portland seems like the perfect weather for me. I can't take the heat at all.

Dave Bexfield said...

Joanne, I was just in Portland and it sure is a cool town. And it is cheaper than NYC, but not as inexpensive as you might think. The only trick? Rain and walking aids don't work well, slippery! Plus you can't hold an umbrella, ha.

AliciaMHodnett said...

I'd like to know what you think about Houston, TX. I am looking for a job and I need to consider health. Vancouver/Portland is beautiful but I'd like more sun, less misty rain. Sacramento CA was okay. For me, Philly and the DC Metro area were okay, but I am looking for an area to grow with MS or not. I've never lived in Houston or Denver. Between the two which would be a good move?

Anonymous said...

Looking to relocate to Florida. My wife has MS, prefer a cooler city, we are of retirement age....me 60, and she is 54.. Thanks

Dave Bexfield said...

Alicia, both Denver and Houston are fine cities, and I have spent considerable time in both. Houston is better for food, Denver is better for beer. But that has little to do with MS! Denver would be a bit cooler, but you'll have to navigate snow in the winter. And Anon, sorry but I have little experience with Florida. Summers will be toasty pretty much wherever you go.

Claudia Gale said...

II'm still confused. I guess there IS no place that's perfect. Unless, of course, you have family. That's a no brainer. If I had children or family, I'd move to Siberia.

I'm 61 and other than living for two years in Michigan (on the Lake) I have lived in New England all my life. Eight or 9 years in Maine...and the rest in Massachusetts. I have lived the last third of my life on Cape Cod and my MS has gotten appreciably worse. I spent almost all last summer inside, with the AC on. And while AC is GREAT....it costs me $20/day to run it. I LOVE the outdoors and am/was an avid perennial gardener. I love the ocean and the woods. Just being outside. Being my age, I want to enjoy EVERY LAST DAY....and staying indoors, with the AC on is NOT my idea of LIVING.

This winter was TERRIFIC! But last winter, we had 11 (eleven) feet of snow. I can still shovel snow, somewhat. But not when it snows a foot at a time....every couple of days. And now that my hormones have "shifted" (no more hot flashes)....I cannot deal with extreme cold any longer, either. Any extreme weather seems to flatten me... and not just physically.

Five years ago, I went to Albuquerque (twice) and LOVED it. The people were just SO incredibly NICE. And genuinely nice, unlike New Englanders (such as myself...haha). I was there in August, when the temps were over 100...but with the lack of humidity, I wasn't bothered at all.

However, I am worried that NM is one of the poorer states and that their medical system is not anywhere like it is in Boston. And of course....there is no ocean. There's really no water at all. And now, I am extremely worried about the drought that is affecting California and moving more Easterly. And while I could buy 2 houses in Albuquerque, for what I can get for my house, here on Cape Cod....I fear that water will soon become more expensive than oil. And perhaps not even attainable, in a few years....no matter the price.

I appreciate your comments about beer, Dave...but there are micro-breweries EVERYWHERE....and I would NEVER move somewhere just because of their beer. Though... all power to you! (but I WOULD move to Paris for their cheeses and pastries, frogs legs and snails...so I kinda get what you mean...)

I spent two weeks in Colorado, back in the 80's and while I loved the night sky....I did not care for the mentality of the people very much. I don't care for gun toting, "good ol' boys" that much. Too much of a snob, I guess. Also, I have seen a LOT of snow in Colorado, the last few winters (on the weather channel).

In any event....while I enjoyed reading everyone's responses....I still didn't get a very good answer, regarding where the best place is to move....when one has MS. This will be my last move....so I want it to be a good one (I have a burial plot in Sudbury, MA....but once I'm dead, I doubt I'll care much where I go.)

I'm afraid that the best place for me to move to is six feet under....anywhere!

"There's no place like home." I just don't know where it is.

Thanks for listening.

Dave Bexfield said...

Hey Claudia, my wife and I do love New Mexico, and now my mom lives here, Laura's dad lives here, a sister lives here, and more family will likely join them. We all relocated from the East Coast. The healthcare here in Albuquerque is pretty good, but it's not as robust as the bigger cities. Sorry it's not cut-and-dry to pick a destination. As for no family, if you have a deep friendship network, that's nearly as good. Great to meet you!

Unknown said...

Hi,
What about Arizona? I moved to Georgia from Michigan june 2016. I dont really like it here. Looking to relocate to Arizona when my daughter graduate from high school.

Dave Bexfield said...

AZ is a fine place to live with low humidity. I prefer the cooler north (Flagstaff) if that is an option.

Q Wash said...

Thank u. Georgia doesnt seem to accommodate people w ms. Or anyone that is disabled.

Dave Bexfield said...

Q, I will say that Savannah, being an old city, was a tricky town to navigate. And the elevators to the waterside were broken during our visit. But folks were extremely nice!