Right after knee replacement surgery, one day blurred into the next with pain, physical therapy, and a routine of doing things at a certain time and a certain way. But the more I am back toward normal the harder it is to stay inside.
I’ve been working at one job or another since I was very young. I sold Grit Newspapers, Blair Cosmetics and babysat during junior high and high school. My first full-time job was at the age of 17. I’ve been working at a public job ever since for a total of 44 years. I still wasn’t ready to stop working. As soon as I am able, I hope to find another job. That’s still a few months away, and I am not sure what might open up, but I’ll be ready!
I think the women in this world who got to stay home and be mothers and housewives were very blessed. I would have liked to try that lifestyle on for size, but it just never happened. At this point, I am so use to working, it feels very strange not to get up and get ready for work every weekday morning.
My days consist of typical housekeeping chores, although it still takes me longer to accomplish them than it normally would take. Light cooking, dishes and doing laundry are the main bits of housework I can do at this point. Throw in a little telephone time, a little television, a little computer time, answering emails, reading, physical therapy exercises three times a day and a visit from one or more friends on some days, and the day is full.
I think about all the years I’ve worked full-time and usually more than one job at a time, and I can’t imagine how I did that plus everything else on top of it.
I’ve been cleaning out drawers, reorganizing part of the cabinets, going through old photographs, and trying to make myself busy with significant tasks that have been accumulating over the years.
In the midst of all these days, I’ve realized the thing I’m starved to death for is sunshine. I always look forward to spring, but this year I can hardly wait.
Lots of people have to deal with seasonal affective disorder in the winter months when the days are short and there is not enough exposure to sunshine. I have lamps to sit by, but there is nothing as great as a sun shining day to perk a body up.
I rode with friends to eat out over the weekend. Getting out of the house was great. Going somewhere beyond Harlan and not being headed to the doctor was fantastic. The company and the food were good, but the best part was getting to soak up the rays of daylight and sunshine coming through the car windows.
By the time spring is in full bloom and the sunshine is bright, I should be able to get out and about again and drive myself further than the post office or physical therapy by myself. I would like to find a nice place to sit in the sun this summer and spring and soak up all of it I can.
Humans and land animals need sunshine. It is possible to get vitamin D through things in our diet, but sunshine is very important in the process. Many people are deficient in vitamin D and choose to take supplements to provide what they need in their diet.
When I was growing up we had to go outside for recess every single day, no matter how cold. The only way we got to stay inside and play in our classrooms at recess was if it was raining out. I remember our teachers insisting that we had to go outside and play because we needed the fresh air and sunshine if we wanted to do well in school. I think they may have been on to something. We always looked forward to that part of the day. At times it was so cold we stood in one place and jumped up and down or chased each other to keep warm, adding physical exercise to the sunshine and fresh air without even realizing we were doing something really healthy.
The Mayo Clinic website describes the importance of this vitamin. “Vitamin D is found in many dietary sources, such as fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. The sun also contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D, and as little as 10 minutes of exposure is thought to be enough to prevent deficiencies. The term “vitamin D” refers to several different forms of this vitamin. The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It is used, alone or in combination with calcium, to increase bone mineral density and decrease fractures. Recently, research also suggests that vitamin D may provide protection from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer and several autoimmune diseases.”
Even beyond the physical need for sunshine, I believe that sunshine has an emotional benefit as well. Sad, lonely, depressed? It seems to me like a good dose of sunshine can turn those things around. There is something hopeful about sunshine. It is small wonder that people seek out sunny destinations for vacations, rest and recuperation.
On a rainy, dreary day, it seems like when the clouds scuttle away and the sun pops out, it seems brighter and more effective than a day that started out sunny. The contrast of the two makes the sunshine more feel more profound.
When planning for the next few months ahead, even if it is sitting on the front porch at noonday, I know that I will be taking advantage of the restorative powers of sunshine. When it comes to feeling better, a little sunshine goes a long way.