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Beware the three dog nights

Beware of Three Dog Nights

It’s one thing in the summer to hide indoors to escape the heat of the dog days but it is entirely a different thing being captive indoors thanks to weather suitable for a three dogs night.  The polar vortex/deep freeze that the lower 48 states got hit with in early November is  just a cruel reminder that winter will be here officially in December and despite this recent snap, there is still time to prepare.  We have the potential for several months ahead of us for extreme weather and a little bit of planning ahead can save a lot of grief later on.

We don’t have to live out on the great plain states of the Dakotas or in Montana to be snowed in for a stretch of time – even big cities like Boston or Washington DC will get pounded with major winter storms that can paralyze a city.   Sometimes it’s not the snow but the cold temperatures that bring daily routines to a screeching halt.  Last winter we didn’t have extreme amounts of snow, but we did have record low temperatures that dipped so low it was dangerous to be outdoors in the Midwest while the southwest was experiencing near record highs.  It was a season of extremes, both of which pose challenges for everyone, but especially people with a chronic disease like MS.

Take a moment or two and think about what you would need if you were unable to leave your home for a few days or maybe even up to a week.  You don’t have to live with MS to be prepared – getting stuck indoors due to winter weather happens to everyone.

Meds?  Do you keep ahead of getting your prescriptions filled so you don’t risk running out of critical drugs?  I have a couple prescriptions I allow to get close to being completely gone before I order a refill at my local pharmacy.  I should probably not wait to the last minute to get my next rounds of drugs.

We all need food, right? It’s a good idea to keep just a few items on hand that can be prepared easily if you’re stuck in your home for a few days.  If weather is that bad, you can pretty much bet the pizza or Chinese food delivery kid won’t make it to your home.

Hopefully we  won’t lose power, but there’s always the chance of power outages – so flashlights and spare batteries are a necessity.  Be careful if you want to use candles for lights – you want to stay warm but you sure don’t want a fire.

It may sound silly, but remember those childhood days when you were always told to stay with your buddy?  Using the buddy system can make a big difference if you are stranded due to weather  – if you live alone be sure you have connected with a family member or friend who can check in on you. If they can’t make it to your door, at least you can chat by phone.

Pay attention to your local news and don’t allow winter to sneak up on you.  The origin of ‘three dog night’ is a cultural reference attributed to people who sleep in the elements (such as in a tent) and kept their dogs close by to stay warm. I hope we don’t have many of those frosty nights but after last winter, I’m not holding my breath that we won’t have a repeat.  I want to be warned in advance if I have a three dog night coming, and I don’t want to be left out in the cold because we only have two dogs.

Do you prepare for the possibilities of extreme winter weather ? What tips would you add to our weather preparedness list?

Wishing you well,


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    I posted this on FB, but thought it a good one to add here – Keep your cell phone plugged in to the charger – you never know when you want that 100% available if you lose your power or your home internet connection stops working. Do you know how to turn off all your apps that drain your power? You don’t need your wi-fi or geo locators on if you are sitting at home – I trust you already know where you are.

  • Jess
    5 years ago

    I tried to go to dinner on New year’s Eve and as I tried to get in their car I couldn’t because my legs wouldn’t bend. It was the first time that ever happened to me. I literally couldn’t will them to bend! I live in MA so I’m used to the cold but I now am a prisoner in my home due to my inability to get around. Today I was supposed to attend my friends funeral but I can’t because it’s not even 30 degrees outside and I’m stuck.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    Jess, I am so sorry to hear this. Please be sure to talk to your neurologist about your problem – perhaps it is spasticity that can be treated? Or something else. Stay safe with this horrific storm heading your way. – Laura

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