Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Writing On The . . .Collar

After the surgery on my arm last week, I was sent home with a list of instructions, some of which pertained to the day of the surgery and others were more long term. Some of their suggestions were:
  • Rest as much as possible in the first 24 hours
  • Don't make any important decisions in the first 24 hours after having anaesthesia
  • Don't get the wound wet for 10 days
  • Don't lift anything over ten pounds for ten days (until the stitches have disolved and the steri-strips are removed
  • Stay out of the sun

Some around me may try to convince you that I am not a very good patient, that I don't follow directions, and that I am stubborn. I don't know how I gave anyone these impressions. I did my best to follow all of the doctor's orders. Really. I did.

When we got home from the hospital I settled myself in the recliner with the hope of watching a little TV. (Obviously I don't watch daytime TV enough or I would have known that this was an ill-fated plan; there was absolutely nothing worth watching.) After Jeopardy, it was downhill. By the time the final jeopardy question had been answered everyone at my house but me was asleep. I did what anyone would do in such a situation. I turned to the Internet for a little retail therapy. I did this in an effort to follow doctor's orders. Let me explain.

The surgeon basically said that any direct exposure to sunlight was too much for me. So I decided that I needed some long sleeved shirts that did not make me look like I was "climate challenged". I am particularly fond of a specific brand of linen clothing. I have bought a few of their pieces in local retail shops, but I wanted to see the whole line. We all know that the Internet doesn't disappoint. I found a great website with exactly what I what I was lokking for. So far I have not violated any rules given to me by any member of the medical establishment. Using the computer requires no lifting. SInce the surgery was on my left arm and I am right handed, the arm in question was able to rest comfortably on a pillow with its form-fitting velcro ice pack attached.

In placing my order, I did not force myself to make any important decisions. Instead of troubling myself with choosing between two colors of shirts, I just ordered two. Decision making process averted!

The shipment came at the end of last week, and weighed less than ten pounds, so again I was well within the established guidelines when I carried it from the front porch to the table to open it. When I pulled the shirts from the box, I instinctively looked at the tags in the collar to make sure that they had sent the correct size, which they had. I noticed that in addition to the label that had the brand name, fiber content, size, and laundering instructions, there was a second tag. It read, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams." This is one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite authors, Henry David Thoreau. I was pleasnatly surprised to find these words of wisdom bound in the neckband of my shirt, but I did wonder when this company started doing this. None of their other pieces that are hanging in my closet have such tags. Or do they? I headed for my closet just to see. (Note: This is seven days after my surgery so rest is no longer being perscribed.) I was wrong, They all had one. Little did I know that each time I have worn these things, I have carried with me a few gems of wisdom. The sayings include:

  • "Simple is superb."
  • "I am not stuck with anything unless I stick with it."
  • "I am legendary."
  • "Love prevails."

Now I notice these tags as I am getting dressed. As I make my way through the day, stopping to breath and reflect on the words in the day's collar helps me to refocus in moments where my mind is wandering. On laundry day, while folding and hanging, I have another chance to savor these thoughts.

Most of us were taught of the necessity to read the care labels on our clothing when we left home. Instructions such as DRY CLEAN ONLY, wash with similar colors, lay flat to dry, wrinkles are a natural element of this fabric, are essential to the proper care and feeding of your wardrobe. With my new favorite clothing manufacturer, reading the labels is also essential to the proper care and feeding of the soul and spirit.