It’s the most wonderful (?) time of the year

THe little match girl by hans christian anderson. holy crap, that guy has ISSUES!!

Let me summerize: little match girl is poor and selling matches in london one snowy xmas eve night. it’s cold and she has no shoes, coat etc but can’t go home because she hasn’t sold the matches. so in an alley way she lights the matches, one by one, so she doesn’t freeze. each time she lights them she sees a scene in front of her of the holidays, filled with warmth, cheer and family love. the last scene she sees her beloved grandmother, dead of course, reach out for her. she folds herself into granny’s arms. next day they find her frozen to death.


Have you ever seen a frozen dead body? it’s really scary. really REALLY scary. and now to disgust you with the details of freezing to death…

there are three stages. the first stage of freezing to death is when your body tempature drops 2 to 3 degrees below normal temperature, which is 98.6 degrees by the way. what happens? you shiver. pretty badly after awhile. your hands become numb and your feet too. you can’t really do anything with your hands. Blood vessels in the outer extremities constrict, lessening heat loss to the outside air. your breathing becomes quick and shallow. Your hair stands on end to try to insulate you with you air and you get goose bumps. Sometimes a person will experience a warm sensation, as if they have recovered, but tin reality you are moving right along into Stage 2. (by the way, a simple test to see if the person is entering stage 2 is if they are unable to touch their thumb with their little finger. it means your mucsles are not working.

In stage 2, body temperature drops by about 7 more degrees. there is violent shivering and you can’t really control your muscles. it’s kind of like you are really REALLY drunk. you may appear to be alert but you are also really confused. Your surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses its remaining resources on keeping the vital organs warm. you become really pale since the blood rushes from the face to other places. your lips, ears, fingers and toes may become blue, which eventually becomes BLACK.

enter stage three…

your body temperature drops below approximately 90 degrees. Shivering usually stops. It is really difficult to be speaking, and you have sluggish thinking, and amnesia start to appear. you stumble and fall and can’t use your hands. ever wanted to lose wait? metabolic processes shut down. when you hit 84-85 degrees your exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination? dream on. walking is alomost impossible, and your pulse? along with your breathing, slows down BUT it’s also possible to atrial fibrillation sometimes happens. Your organs fail. you die.

Now here is where this rant comes from. last night it was in the upper 30s here in SF. in other words, with freeze warnings and no fog to trap heat fromt he day, it was fucking cold. cold enough for me and Ricky to bundle in my room, under FIVE comforters, ralph and whimper also with us and my big heavy coat on top. IT WAS COLD. This morning came my least favorite part of the month of decemeber.

the first of the frozen homeless have come in to the morgue.

I hate this time of year.


6 Responses to “It’s the most wonderful (?) time of the year”

  1. Karina Says:

    I really enjoyed this entry, it was not only educational but interesting. I have a very thick, and i’m guessing expensive, Christmas book I received as a child and i always skipped over the little match girl because it was depressing.
    I hate winter too…except it’s always freezing this time of year in Ontario.

  2. Ashley Says:

    wow. that was very interesting and yet mildly disturbing. i’m not sure i wanted to know what happens when you freeze to death except i couldn’t look away and stop reading it.

  3. motherofbun Says:

    YIKES. I can see why that tale would freak you out.

    And double YIKES when it comes to the play by play of freezing to death.

  4. amanda Says:

    This is why I like your site…it’s like going to school! 😛 More, please!

  5. Tom Says:

    I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how you have multiple deaths from the frozen homeless when we don’t have barely one a year here. We had one guy freeze to death last year and it made front page news. Granted, we’re waaaaaay smaller than SF but we’re also waaaaaaay colder too. And if it happens every year, why aren’t there more options for the homeless when it gets to be this time of year?

    I know it has nothing to do with you, I’m just sayin’.

  6. fog city mommy Says:

    the first has come in. there will be more. there is a lot of underlaying reasons as well. and SF has a huge homeless population.

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