In which I try to make Compression Stockings “happen”

Are your legs tired?

Do your lower body blood vessels have a heck of a time fighting against gravity to push your blood back upwards to important organs like your brain?

Do you find yourself constantly having to stop what you’re doing so that you can lie down and put your feet up over your head?

Then have I got the product for you!

Here’s our model, Nic, showing you all the ways that Compression Stockings can make your everyday activities a little more enjoyable:

Checking out the patio furniture while you wait for your family members to pick paint colors at the hardware store! 

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Lounging on the balcony of your beach condo!

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 Even collapsing after a long day of running errands!

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Let’s take a listen to what our model has to say about this groundbreaking product…

Hey Nic, how do you feel?

Why, positively geriatric, <disembodied-announcer-voice>, thanks for asking!

 

…They do kind of work though.

Blood pooling is a hallmark symptom of POTS. This means that blood vessels in the body don’t adequately contract in response to gravity, and so instead of your blood circulating throughout your whole body the way it’s supposed to, it gets stuck somewhere-it pools. This usually happens in your stomach, legs, and feet, but can also happen in your hands. I used to be able to do a really nifty party trick where I’d hold out my hands to show my audience their odd purple-red color. Then I would hold my hands above my head, give them a little shake and a count of 5, and then put them out in front of me again. By this time, they would be completely white as holding my hands up had “emptied the pool”, if you will. Now I’m on medication and it isn’t as severe any more, so I’ll have to find a new trick (juggling? Maybe not). But I do still have a good amount of blood pooling in my legs, that nothing really seems to help, except maybe the dreaded compression stocking.

I have never been a fan of compression. I happen to be claustrophobic, and I think my thighs are too.

However, one of the very first things that a cardiologist will suggest when you are diagnosed with POTS is just that, compression, and usually lots of it.

I have previously tried the socks (closed toe to kneecap), and let me tell you, those suckers are NOT worth it, unless you particularly like not being able to feel your toes while all the blood simply pools in your upper thighs, giving them an odd, heavy, tree-trunk like feeling.

Personally, my cardiologist is adamant that I wear the full pantyhose. “Your blood vessels and gravity are just not friends,” she tells me. “And so you need help to thrust the blood upwards, back where it’s supposed to be.”

If gravity is not my friend, I guess my new compression pantyhose will have to be.

Pros: While wearing them, I can stand for longer periods of time; I get dizzy less frequently when I am out and about; my blood pressure is higher, which means my heart rate is lower (a good thing!). Also, my legs are never cold and apparently, from far away and in blurry photographs, my legs just look really tan.

Right? Just really tan, with weirdly pale toes!

Right? Just really tan, with weirdly pale toes!

Cons: It takes FOREVER to put them on and take them off. I apologize to my sister with whom I share a bathroom at home, as I have added a good 2 minutes to the amount of time I am in there (every time!). When I first put them on in the morning, I actually have to lie down for a minute once they are on, as the exertion gives me tachycardia…but then I have them on, which helps the tachycardia go away faster (tricky, tricky!). Also, it’s impossible to not get runs in them, as a lot of tugging is involved and hangnails that you didn’t even know you had will leave their mark.

I figure I can probably deal with the Cons as the Pros are pretty good.

Now all I have to do is convince everyone else to wear them so that I don’t have to look this good all by myself.

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I figured I’d find a lot of people wearing compression stockings at the POTS conference I went to this past weekend. Surprisingly, there was only one other girl imprisoned in— I mean, stylishly sporting— these spandex-nylon blood vessel squishers. Apparently, a lot of people are troubled by the discomfort and hassle, or have given up on them too quickly. I for one, needed about 2 weeks to get used to them and how they affected my bodily functions.

My new compression clad buddy and I immediately delved into anecdotes about the Cons of our stockings (because let’s face it, it’s funnier than the Pros) and even took a compression stocking selfie:

Stockings come both open and close-toed!

Stockings come both open and close-toed!

I am pretty sure that people were jealous.

Right?

Cause who wouldn’t be?

Only the cool kids wear them.

 

*Attention Chronics: I have created an official Facebook Page for this blog! Search for “I am Chronically Well”. I am the page with the happy butterfly for a profile picture as I have yet to find a better one…a logo to come in the next few weeks perhaps? Anyway, please Like the page, and feel free to send me questions, feedback and make suggestions for future blog posts!

*Also, purely for entertainment purposes, BLOOPERS for this post:

IMG_0317My sister may be kick-ass when it comes to yelling at jerks in parking lots (see The Start of Something, June 16), but she is a pain-in-one when it comes to taking pictures of me for this blog (love you, ladybug!). This resulted in me trying to take my own picture, and then her laughing and taking a picture of me taking a picture of myself. Cause that’s what big sisters do. =)

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