Just a few years ago, we Vancouverites were naively chuffed to be told that global climate change would mean warmer, dryer summers.
Imagine! No more rained out picnics! No more soggy camping trips!
We didn’t think it would mean the whole place would burst into flame. It’s the worst forest fire season in nearly 60 years. Right now there are almost 600,000 hectares of BC on fire. And smoke from those fires is spreading throughout the province, filling our skies, chasing people from their homes, threatening power systems.
And they are really bumming out my retirement.
The smoky air is filled with tiny particles, and according to the Weather Channel’s Air Quality Alert,
Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.
Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
That’s me! I had asthma as a child, and it’s back again. I have my inhalers and take them as prescribed, but just walking around the block leaves me wheezing and gasping for air. I hide inside, but like the advisory says, those tiny particles easily get into our home. Plus, this place was designed to let air flow through it, there’s no air conditioning.
So although the first 3 weeks of my retirement meant regular trips to the gym, long leisurely walks, visits to Playland with the oldest grandchild (twice!), the last 3 weeks have meant days on the couch, reading, binge-watching TV and coughing, coughing, coughing.
I’m not going to make too big a deal about my problems, there are people who have far more serious health problems, and their troubles are real and even life-threatening.
In a week or so the smoke will blow away and my temporary disability will fade into the background again. But for now it’s a good reminder that my health has got to be my number one concern, and not ever to be taken for granted.