Friday, June 10, 2011

Burn Baby Burn

Remember when your Mom told you to put on sunscreen? Well, you should have listened. Volunteering and coming out to the Heel n’ Wheel (HnW) isn’t enough to protect you from the sun scorching you. Of course, when does anybody really have time to slather on some SPF-30 when you’re busy setting up tables, registering people, and marching along your own HnW track?

My advice: make some time. My pediatric GI nurse has been involved with my local chapter for the past decade, and each HnW she would nag me about putting on sunscreen, remind me throughout the event, and smirk when I would come into clinic the next week slightly crisped. And so here is my cautionary tale to all of you Heelers and Wheelers:

It was a rare HnW for us in the Halifax chapter a few years ago – rain was no where in sight and the sun was shining down on the waterfront. You would have thought we all lived under rocks given our excitement about seeing clear, blue skies, and sunscreen somehow became a distant memory (or, at least for me). I tend to disregard the whole ‘apply every hour’ instruction on the bottle, and had patted it on my face and scarcely on my arms and legs. I’ve already outlined my obsession with face and body paints at the HnW in previous posts, and so I once again found myself bored at the face painting table with a table full of temptations. My team that year was called ‘Jennie’s Prednisone Posse’ and I (stupidly) decided to write this on my left arm in face paints. I thought it was great, and so did everyone else – at the time at least. I proudly swung my arm around and enjoyed the HnW.

Fast forward to the next morning, when I woke up and discovered, much to my horror, that I had gotten sufficiently burned around the face paint on my arm. Of course I had noticed this the night before, but it wasn’t that noticeable, or maybe I wasn’t really paying attention at the time. I don’t tend to burn, but there it was, a beet red left arm and in perfectly readable letters, JENNIE’S PREDNISONE POSSE.

In an effort to find a cure, I had successfully branded myself with the word POSSE. Go ahead and laugh, my family and chapter sure did. It wasn’t funny the next week, or the week after that, it took a good month for it to really disappear, for people not to look at me like I was crazy when they spotted my arm. I mean, I did look ridiculous – all of sixteen years old, clean behind the ears, and POSSE seemingly tattooed on my limb.

So a word to the wise – use some sunscreen and reapply every hour, unless you want to be branded. The weather forecasts continue to predict sunny skies for the Halifax walk, and while I hope that we won’t see a drop of rain, I will be the one nagging everyone else about sunscreen.

Happy walking


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