The tradition of sending flowers to people who are ill or injured probably is linked to some sense that flowers and greenery promote good spirits and therefore, recovery. If a few vases of flowers in a hospital room can enhance recovery, think what the lush tropical surroundings of Anna Maria Island can do for the patient fighting a disease or in rehab from injuries. There is no better place to feel healthy and become healthy than amidst the beautiful vegetation, stroked by the soft breeze, of Anna Maria Island.
Recently a dear friend who lives here in winter but spends summers up north had to have non-emergency surgery. She has excellent doctors who practice at a top hospital in a major northern city, and she considered having her surgery there. She had a comfortable accommodation available near the northern hospital, at the home of a family member, where she could have recovered from the surgery with attentive personal care and the country’s best doctors just minutes away. Instead, she chose to have the operation in one of the hospitals in Sarasota, and to recover here, in her winter home.
I spoke with her several days after the surgery. She was so pleased to have decided to have the surgery in Florida. Why? Because the procedure went well, and instead of being shut in to recover in a cold and snowy place, she was ecstatic to be able to have the windows and doors open on a gorgeous Florida winter day. It was good for her spirits and good for her recovery. She already sounded very strong and happy as a result.
Several decades ago, when I was young and visiting older friends in the southwest, I remember thinking how uplifting it must have been to deal with ailments without having to become a shut in. I recall one older man sitting on his patio in the cool sunshine of the desert winter, recovering from heart surgery. How uplifting it must be, I thought, to be in the sunshine and gentle breeze as he recovered. There is something very healing about being outdoors. It makes you feel like you are well, and not a patient. Being bound to one’s bed or to the room of a facility makes one feel like a person who is not well. The outdoors is associated with the active, healthy life, and these are good associations to have.
My awareness of this healthful benefit of warm climates may have been one reason I eventually moved from snow country to Anna Maria Island. It is also a reason I helped move my elderly father-in-law here from the northeast. Even in his final days, he loved going outside to feed the birds. It was a meditation all our family could share and I know it made us all feel less stress, even as we faced end-of-life issues.
We have a couple of old chaise lounges, which we have been planning to discard. We don’t sunbathe because we are too busy and we want to avoid skin cancer. But maybe it would be a good idea to hold onto them for that day we may be recovering from something serious… or not recovering. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to lounge under a palm tree than to remain all day in bed? It sounds to me like a healthy way to recover from surgery.