Dancing in the Rain

I love dancing in the rain.

Dancing in the rain

I think it started when I first watched Dirty Dancing or maybe Singing in the Rain. Either way, something about when it’s raining enough to notice but not enough to get soaked in rain, is really beautiful. There is something comforting about the rain when it’s sprinkling or lightly dribbling. People often describe it as the perfect weather for staying indoors and snuggling under blankets while watching movies.

For me, dancing maxes the beauty and tranquility of the rain. Rain is like music that has a life of its own. It can be somber, but dancing in it brings me joy. When I can’t dance in it, I find myself imagining that I’m in my own music video with the rain as my backdrop.

But then comes a sickle cell crisis to interrupt my music video and bring me back to reality.

Triggering a crisis

Being outside in the rain can trigger sickle cell crises. It makes sense, you get wet and then you get cold and that involves a pretty sudden temperature change. Those are all reasons why getting rained on might trigger a pain episode.

Out of my control

I remember walking to an event for undergrad orientation and being all covered up except my ankles and the arm that was holding the umbrella. The next day, I had a sickle cell crisis just in the wrist of the arm that was exposed. It was frustrating because I felt I had taken all the appropriate precautions, using an umbrella and dressing warm, but it didn’t matter. That didn’t stop me though.

Uncertainty

I’ve danced in the rain a lot since then. But today, I was moving boxes from my apartment to my car and it was raining. The boxes were kind of heavy so not too long after I was done, I felt my whole body ache. It might just be muscle cramps from overdoing it, but maybe I triggered a sickle cell crisis.

I’ll probably never know for sure. I used to really pride myself on knowing what pains were caused by sickle cell pain and what wasn't. But now, as I learn more about health and illness as a medical student, the more I wonder. Maybe I do understand my body enough to know when something is wrong and can suspect when it’s not sickle cell related, but I’m not always right when automatically assuming things are sickle cell related.

Doing what I love

I’m going to keep dancing in the rain because I love the way the rain feels, especially on a hot summer day like today. But, I will also be sure to be mindful of when it’s not safe to do so, like if it’s pouring, really windy out, or just too cold. And maybe I’ll also try to avoid doing extraneous labor in the rain.

One day, I hope to have a sunroom or screen in porch. That way I can feel like I’m outside while still being protected from all the elements. But until then, if all else fails, I’ll just look out my window longingly and pretend I’m out in the rain making my own music video.

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