I hate when I am made to feel it is embarrassed and ashamed that I have a disability. And German’s current energy policy has me feeling like my medical needs are something of which I should me ashamed. And that’s bullshit. It’s a policy failure.
I have ankylosing spondylitis (an inflammatory condition in my spine) along with a cluster of other autoimmune issues like allergies, migraines and dermatitis. If my symptoms flare I can’t walk and the treatments are unpleasant. Methotrexate, steroids, specialty biologics injections.
I live in chilly Montana as the cold is better for my condition than the heat. But when I travel I am confronted with heat, humidity and pollution which exacerbate my symptoms. Sometimes significantly. It has caused great anguish through its impact on family gatherings.
I find myself in Frankfurt for a mix of personal and professional reasons. The Airbnb I rented for the month was on of only a handful that offered aid conditioning at all. And one of only three that was a personal apartment and not a hotel service using Airbnb.
So I booked it even though I noticed it was on a main road in the neighborhood of Sachsenhausen. The host assured me it was quiet and most of the apartments looked out on a garden in the back.
Alas the bedroom was on the main road so I was unable to ventilate the apartment by keeping the bedroom windows open as the exhaust and debris from the roadway left my eyes red, itchy and I woke up with hives several times.
I bought a small fan at the local store and kept the bedroom door open and had the fan blow cooler air from the back windows overlooking the garden. I was still struggling with ventilation as the car exhaust and fumes meant the bedroom had to be sealed. Even then I paid $50 for a cleaner weekly to clean up the pollen, debris and dust that would get in from leaving open the window
I’d leave all the windows open on the good side, keep the apartment sealed and dark during the day, and have three weeks of extremely shitty sleep on my Whoop to prove it. But overall this worked well until it got hot enough to warrant air conditioning usage.
Sadly summer is rounding the corner and a few days in the low 80s (or 27-28 C for you Europeans) was too hot for my spine to tolerate comfortably. I was struggling enough with keeping the bedroom cool with the fan and back open window so I decided to run the air conditioner. It was old, noisy and hadn’t had its filters changed in a while. I made do.
The neighbors complained. Twice. Once through the Airbnb owner and the second time by knocking multiple times on my door. I had to explain to them embarrassing levels of medical detail to assure them this wasn’t preferred temperature or taste but a medical necessity. I hadn’t expected to show off my vials of injectables to be taken seriously but thanks guys.
This weekend it is expected to be in the mid eighties so I thought rather than fight off my neighbors and get another bad night of sleep with a dirty air conditioner and noisy roadway I’d check myself into a hotel. I’d been having a significant flare of all my symptoms which had required emergency doses of steroids, two unexpected infections (I take immunosuppressants) with two different antibiotics, and quite a bit of other remedies.
Well I guess the final boss of Europe’s poor energy policy was about to land it’s final blow on me. The hotel I checked into for some relief won’t turn its air conditioning below 72 or 22 C. It has to be much warmer to get it to my preferred temperature of 17 while I was experiencing this flared fever state. That apparently wasn’t an option.
So I guess I’m going to check one more hotel to see if they will allow me to cool my prior to my preferred temperature or I’ll prepare for another fight with my neighbors over running the air conditioning overnight again. Wish me luck. Build more nuclear power. Install solar arrays.