Staying Upright

There was no manual. Most of it was self-explanatory, since the basic shell is familiar, but it’s those joints, and figuring out which screw goes in what order, that causes angst.

Get it wrong and the whole structure is unstable. Place too much force in one direction and there’ll be a sickening crack of stressed chip board causing it to topple. Mum needs this upright pantry – an external framework to hold up shelves on which to store her food – she’s not too fond of crouching down to rummage around in lower cupboards anymore. (Upper photo taken on a previous trip BEFORE surgery). Her body is more fragile and in danger of injury if she doesn’t take care.

Skeletons act as remarkable internal scaffolding to protect organs and provide a framework for the muscles, joints and skin.

However the cells in our bodies become increasingly worn out and vulnerable with age until bones become brittle and connective tissues stiffen making body movements less efficient. This in turn affects strength and balance which contributes to the propensity of elderly people to falls.

We’ve teased mum in the past about the washing – how she insists on doing it every day – but actually this daily exercise is what has kept her supple for so long.

Carrying the laundry baskets; the repetitive bend and stretch of hanging washing on the line and then ironing and folding clothes, is what gently exercises her muscles and joints. And it’s probably what is enabling her a remarkable recovery from her major surgery. However we are currently insisting she rest and have banned her from doing her usual tasks.

As if in sympathy the weather has packed a sad and the washing line is looking so forlorn!

I have learned a lesson for myself through this: to see the mundanity of regular housework not as a chore but a natural and necessary way of keeping fit.

This post is part of my long term documentary project Plot 148 introduced here

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