Don't worry about returning the help - I do this because we're all in this hobby together, and if we don't all act to preserve it and its history, then who will? That, and it's fun to help other people out!
I think that you should remove the hot-water bottle, personally. From the vicinity of the box, that is, not the one that's strapped to you! Quite apart from the heat, it could potentially lead to spillage, and I'm sure that you don't want to deal with rapidly-cooling water getting everywhere in this weather! (And especially not getting on or near virtual pets!)
Anyway, yes, polarisers fading is something that can happen to old LCDs in any sort of device - if you've ever seen a faded-looking calculator, that's down to the same problem. Indeed, there may well be some advice that pertains to calculators or similar devices that would also apply to old virtual pets! If you find anything, let me know - I'd be interested in learning about what can be done about it. It's going to become more of an issue for out-of-production virtual pets someday, and that means that it's best to learn more now, before that happens.
And, yeah, I wouldn't blame you for switching providers - at this point, that sounds like the right thing, and probably the only thing, to do!
Edited by Penguin-keeper, 01 March 2018 - 10:56 AM.