May 23rd, 2023
What a pretty little rainbow~! Any idea what these things are? They are called SunSleeves and I love 'em!
I have to back up a little bit in this story for it all to make sense, so please bear with me as we jump into the WayBack machine.....
When I was a kid having a tan was considered a sign of good health. There were no tanning beds or tanning salons so obviously a tan meant that a person was spending time outside in the nice healthy sunshine! For a child, most likely, it also suggested that we were getting lots of good exercise runnning around like the big old goober that all little kids are. For teens and adults it was probably more about either having a job working outside or leisure time spent laying in the sun, relaxing, lubed up good with Sun Tan Oil (not sunscreen mind you) and making sure that you used a reflector to get that tan good adn even in the places harder for the sun to reach.
I was never one to just lay in the sun but in high school, I knew girls who would apply baby oil liberally before lounging outside to attract yet more sun. The theory was that you had to get that first all over burn that would fade into a nice tan. Seriously, that is what everyone "knew" to be true back then. Boy were we dumb.
I did spend time outside, often parked under a shady tree, reading so I managed to escape the dreaded sunburn other than perhaps some pink on my nose and cheeks for a very long time despite living in some sunny places like southern California and Texas. But finally the day came for my first bad sunburn and it was a doozy. It was during my college days.
At that point I lived in Connecticut and one very cloudy weekend, I spent the day with friends on a boat on the ocean, all of us, sensibly wearing bathing suits. Mine was a bikini with a halter top. We had a great time. So great that I did not realize that I was getting burnt. Wait, not just burnt, I was getting crispy. Deep Fried. I did not, until that day, realize that a person can get sun burned on a cloudy day. Turns out, they can.
It was later that evening that I realized that I looked more like a cooked lobster than a girl. Oh My Gosh. That burn was so bad I had blisters. Every single bit of exposed skin including my ears and the part in my hair, was burned. Showering was painful, toweling off after the shower was painful, laying down in my nice soft bed was painful but the worst of the worst was wearing clothes. Everything rubbed against my poor tortured ruby red sunburn.
Eventually I healed and from that point forward I was much more careful about sun exposure. And that caution was an especially good idea when we moved to Colorado. It's very sunny there. Not everyone knows this but there are more than 300 sunny days every year in Colorado AND because the topography has people living a mile or more high, everyone is closer to the sun and that is a bad thing.
It was in Colorado when I first went to see a dermatologist who told me that while I was fine - at the moment - one day that terrible sunburn was going to come back to bite me in the fanny. Wearing sunscreen, limiting sun exposure, wearing long sleeves and a hat were strongly recommended. I did none of those things except occasionally wear sunscreen.
Back to present days. Now we are in Florida and I'm out in the sun a lot. I like being outside. I'm good about applying sunscreen and fairly good about wearing a hat but limiting sun exposure is confusing to me. So I should be hiking at night? Or in the rain? Not sure how to work that one out. The long sleeves thing was troubling. Summers here are not just hot they are HOT and worse, they are humid. Wearing long sleeves sounds like an invitation to heat stroke!
We began doing our annual Dermotology check ups here and while again, everything initially looked ok, there was clearly some skin damage already apparent and again, that old sunburn was going to bite me at some point, and this time the suggestion was sunscreen, hat, limited exposure AND sunshirts.
Have you heard of these? The are long sleeved (of course) and made of some sort of fabric that wicks away moisture and protects the wearer from the sun. Hmmmm. Interesting. We went to the store straight away to check these things out. And that's where I learned several things: 1) Those shirts are dang expensive! 2) There were very few that fit me properly. My porportions are not the ones any clothing designer ever has in mind 3) they are EXPENSIVE! 4) they were not especially comfortable. I like softysoft fabric. These were not and of course 5) $$$$$. So I declined.
And didn't think about it one bit again until recently when I realized that the annual dermotology appointment was coming up again soon and I had done nothing regarding the sunshirt suggestion. I hate it when my doctor calls me on my BS. Dang it. I expressed my concern to Tim and I said, perhaps I needed to revisit the sunshirt idea even though I hated it.
That's when Tim got me these SunSleeves! All of them together cost less than one sunshirt and my arms are protected and I can wear them with any other shirt that I already have and they are softysoftsoft and they are super easy to take on and off and even to wash. Love 'em! I've been wearing them for all of my walks, even to the museum where, upon my arrival, I peel them off and before I leave I pull them back on.
They are sort of like wearing opera gloves. I feel very Audrey Hepburn! Nobody wore Opera Gloves as well as Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". I'm not Audrey but here is me in one of my pair of SunSleeves:
And now I have something positive to report at my next dermatology appointment. Yay me! And oh yeah, also I'm more protected from the sun.
And by the way, this whole Vitamin D thing is very confusing. I am constantly told that as we get older we need more Vitamin D which, by the way is provided for free from the sun, but don't you dare spend time in the sun due to the resultant skin damage and possible flirtation with melanoma!! Make up your mind for heaven's sakes! It wasn't easy being young but dang, getting older is the hardest thing I think I've ever done.
At any rate, SunSleeves Ahoy! I vote Yes!
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.