Geography lesson

Having lived in Denver, Colorado for a number of years, I became used to the ready availability of a variety of goods and services, things I didn’t have to wait to acquire, services made available almost immediately.  The only real disadvantage to living in Denver was the fact that there is only the one airport to use for long-range travel – however, that one airport is Denver International Airport, one of the largest and busiest hubs in the world.

Another lovely advantage is the Denver Mattress Company, a large manufacturing concern that turns out some of the most comfortable beds a body can find on the market today.  A few years ago I made a major purchase, one I had saved months and months for, of a Doctor’s Choice bed from Denver Mattress.  It was oh-so-comfortable.  No more waking to sleeping limbs or back aches.  Aside from the occasional trip to the loo, I could sleep all the way through the night.  What bliss.

So imagine my heartbreak when I discovered that moving my wonderful bed to Ireland was going to cost us a ton of money.  You see, the way they measure these things is not by weight alone but also by dimension.  The size of my bed precluded me from being able to afford to move it!  I was devastated; it was, for me, the most frustrating element of our move.

Upon arriving in Ireland I also discovered that the bed sizes (like so many other things) are completely different here.  A twin-sized bed in the States is a double in Ireland; queen-sized is king; king-sized is super king – and all the dimensions are just different enough to render our bed linens completely useless.  Since we were searching for a furnished home to rent it was only natural that the furnishings included beds.  The condition of the beds in the homes at which we looked were a major consideration for me.  I finally came to the conclusion that I was going to have to settle for whatever was there in the house and just live with it.

It’s been 3 months now and my back is killing me.  I can’t go any longer without a decent mattress.  So I went to the one and only mattress showroom I could find in Galway in search of a good night’s sleep.  I found one mattress that seemed to have everything I wanted – not those foam things, they hold heat and make me all sweaty (yuk), and not all coil spring because they eventually sproing and end up poking you in unpleasant places all night, and not pillow-topped because those pits the buttons create make it quite uncomfortable  – in the right size and for a reasonable price.  (I saved some € because I don’t have to replace the base of the bed.)  I called the landlord and asked permission to replace his mattress and he has no problem with it as long as I leave it when/if we move.  Obviously I can’t move it back to the States so I think that’s a no-brainer.

The woman who helped me warned me not to take too long deciding because there were only two left in stock.  They have to truck them in from Dublin – that didn’t surprise me, it’s usually the case with large ticket items here – and it will cost me € to have it delivered and more € to have them haul the old mattress away.  I chose to speak to Claude about it instead of just ordering on the spot… Big mistake.  A call to the retailer revealed that the 2 in stock are now gone and it’s going to be mid-February before they have more in.  I guess that isn’t so bad… Wait!  There’s only one coming in, it might be spoken for already, it takes at least a week to get it on the truck, the truck only delivers to Galway twice per week…  Now I’m looking at early March before this mattress comes in!

Oh mercy, my poor aching back!

We went to a lecture last week on what a puzzle MS is and the efforts being made to solve it.  One element to the occurrence of MS is geographically related.  There is this longitudinal band around the earth in which the frequency is higher for the people who are likely to suffer from the condition.  Denver and Ireland fall right smack in that band.  As a US Caucasian with European ancestral roots, I’m just the ideal candidate.  One of the things the doctor conducting the lecture pointed out is that vitamin D is being researched as having some sort of beneficial effect on slowing the demyelinzation of the nerves, which is the main reason MS is debilitating.  In other words, the coating around the nerves (myelin) breaks down and the path of communication between that nerve and the central nervous system breaks down, and the introduction of more vitamin D may slow this process.  Vitamin D is not very prevalent in many food sources, which is why cereal companies add it to boxed cereals and milk producers add it to milk products.  It is also found in fatty fish.  You can also, as most people know, get it from being exposed to the sun.

This is where the problem lies.  Most people in Ireland, England & Scotland don’t see much sun.  (However, Denver and Las Vegas have a great number of sunny days so I’m not sure what I was doing wrong while I was living in those places.)  According to one of the researchers at the lecture, 20 minutes of sun on exposed, non-sunscreened skin can provide one’s daily dose.  According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements fact sheet on vitamin D, under cloudy skies you can get about 60% of the sun required for that daily dose.  The acupuncturist I saw said that many people in Ireland suffer from “the damp.”  She meant that it gets into your system and you have to make concerted efforts to clear it up or it adversely affects your health.  I can believe that.  I’ve purchased a vitamin D supplement, am hoping the medical card comes through soon so I can take advantage of new breakthroughs in drug therapies being made available in Ireland, and I have every intention of sitting in the sun whenever it peeks its head out from behind the clouds.

The upshot to all this blathering is that I am becoming more acutely aware of our geographical isolation here in western Ireland and in how many different ways it has changed our everyday lives.  I guess that’s the price you pay for peace of mind.  And peace and quiet.

Oh, and for this:



























— Cindy


2 responses to “Geography lesson

  1. Hi Cindy,
    Too bad about the mattress. I do have a foam tempurpedic mattress, and it can be toasty warm (which I actually like…Mark…not so much) We solved the problem with getting a 2-3″ feather pillow top. It doesn’t have the annoying pits and buttons. It was very affordable. Have you looked into a mattress topper. It might save a bundle and something you could put ontop of the landlords mattress with and roll up and bring home someday. It’s very very comfy, not hot, not cold.
    On another topic, I have an acquaintance whom also has MS. He’s had it for decades. He believes in going the holistic route for treatment (although, if it was me, I’d be trying for anything new that research is recommending.) He prefers to ride a bicycle, almost everywhere, not only for exercise, but for ease of getting anywhere fast, as he is really limited by in his mobility. Walking is really a problem for him.
    By the way, I’m still very envious of you having this incredible opportunity to live abroad. Great pics. I also enjoy Claude’s writings too. I would not like cold showers, and doubt I would ever get used to that!

  2. Hi Mary,
    I looked at purchasing a nice pillow top but it costs about €250 and the mattress itself is still just essentially a box. A whole new mattress is €340. But thanks for the suggestions!
    Until I get my medical card I have to stick with holistics and dietary supplements. Another suggestion the doctor made was resistance exercises. Biking would fall under that category but I have a very hard time with it. My seat is incredibly uncomfortable (a problem we have tried to remedy over & over again) and my balance is not very good. The weather is very unpredictable and the roads here can become extremely narrow, so I am reluctant to rely on my bike as my main form of transport. My feet and the bus seem to be the most reliable for the time being.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s