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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Key to Comfort

A few weeks ago my sister and I were discussing weight. She had been thin most of her life and she used to say to me, “Gaining weight is just as hard for me as losing it is for you.”

“Maybe so,” I admitted, “but it would be a heck of a lot more fun.”

After she gained weight, she said she felt a lot better, but was hesitant to buy new clothing because her sizes kept changing. Leggings turned out to be a great choice because they, well, stretched—a lot.

Since I’ve retired, my wardrobe changed dramatically.

“If I’m not going anywhere, I might just stay in my PJ’s all day,” I admitted to my sister. “If I feel like dressing up a bit, I put on sweatpants. If I’m going somewhere, I’ll wear my stretchy jeans.”

Recently I bought a pair of Jeggings. I discovered they had the comfort of leggings, but looked more like jeans. Ahh. The best of both worlds.

Being comfortable not only kept me from stressing over every darned holiday pound I gained, it actually prevented surgery. That’s a bold statement, but from someone who developed knee problems over thirty years ago, I stand behind every word.

By 2012, my knees had gotten so bad that I had a cortisone shot before I went on vacation to make sure I wasn’t hobbling around. The shot provided some temporary relief and the possibility of surgery was postponed.

As we went into winter that year, I bought two pair of comfortable boots with low heels. The boots turned out to be a fortunate purchase because that winter brought weeks and weeks of snow.  After about a month, I noticed that my knees felt better than they had in years. Wearing the low-heeled, comfortable boots had saved me from surgery.

Why did I go through life wearing uncomfortable shoes, or clothing, because they were fashionable? Was it vanity, or just what I thought was expected. After all, I never wore my PJ’s to the store, or my sweatpants to a conference.

Even people who always dressed for comfort sometimes have to make adjustments. Jim was always most comfortable wearing his 501 Levis. As his dementia advanced, he needed assistance with dressing, and I couldn’t quite handle the button fly. We advanced to zip up jeans, and that worked for a while.

When Jim went into long-term care, it was much easier for him to dress in sweatpants and a Kansas City Chief’s T-shirt. Dressing for comfort had an additional benefit for Jim. He didn’t seem to need much sleep and would walk day and night until he was exhausted enough to sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on a couch to take a nap. His constant pacing meant he needed comfortable shoes. I bought him good athletic shoes and had to replace them on a regular basis.

I found out comfort wasn’t only important with Jim’s clothing. It extended to holding hands, hugs, and providing companionship. Comfort was key to Jim’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Yes, I discovered the most important part of Jim’s body that needed comfort was his heart.

Copyright © January 2016 by L.S. Fisher



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