While the debate goes on, use sunscreen

Sandy Turner
Down home

For years we’ve been told to use sunscreen to avoid the almighty vitamin D the sun provides. As we all know, even experts change their minds on information they are adamant to be the truth.

Sandy Turner

You might want to think twice before lathering up with sunscreen since it’s been announced there could be cancer-causing chemicals in the mix. Once again, we find ourselves in a no-win situation, as without the sunscreen you could also get cancer.

As owner of a construction company, Dad spent his entire career outdoors, without sunscreen, and paid the price with constant battles of skin cancer.

For more than 25 years his frequent trips to the dermatologist nearly made him part of their family. When dementia cleared his memory of even having skin cancer, getting him to his treatments became a daunting task.

If only it would have been sunny on Dad's last trip to the skin doctor.

On the way to the car he repeated several times how glad he would be to get these “things” off his face and ear. It was pouring down rain, and as quickly as he seemed eager to go, his anxiety of unfamiliarity kicked in. With only one leg in the car, he froze up. He wouldn’t come out, or get in, and was not only getting wet from the rain but his leg that was holding him up was beginning to shake.

Eventually I grabbed his belt loops and the leg on the ground and got him in the car seat and he returned to telling a story that was a mixture of past, present and future as if nothing unusual had just happened.

We were lucky enough to get a parking spot right in front of the doors, and even though the rain had picked up, I decided to not try to maneuver both him and the umbrella. Again, with one leg on the ground he froze up. He wouldn’t move and was gripping the dashboard as if he were hanging on for dear life. I reassured him I wouldn’t let him fall and we were making a visit to his favorite doctor, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t moving.

He returned to sitting in the seat so I pulled both legs out of the car and was inching him off the seat until he felt he could stand. I gathered my purse and shut the car door and when I turned around Dad’s anxiety turned into a reality.

When I was pulling him off the seat, I was also pulling his pants off kilter. He was standing in a puddle of water, with his trousers down around his ankles, looking like a petrified wet puppy. I quickly pulled his pants up, but now the waistband was soaking wet and again he was frozen in place. It was just 20 feet to the door, but it felt like it was miles, as he stopped every two steps to make sure his pants were still on and asking why they were all wet. While waiting for the doctor, he asked if it could be his last appointment.

Dad would often say, “I should have used sunscreen.”

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com.