28 August 2013

Weiners in a Glove

Lymphedema Compression GLove
Kissing it Better
The day after camping, (goodbye air mattress, hello bed!) I went straight to the Lymphedema Clinic at Princess Margaret Hospital.  I was anxious to find out what caused my hand to flare up like a 5-pack of wieners, and my arm like a pork sausage.

The nurse measured me, took notes, then said that I needed a higher degree compression of flesh sleeve and gauntlet. I told her I was flying in a few days, and that I was very concerned about the health of my arm, as I was starting to look like a butcher shop.

She assured me I needn’t worry. For now, I was to keep wearing the garments that I have. Also, I should do my exercises, avoid sun and heat and salt, and keep my arm elevated whenever possible. No problem!

Compression Glove
Fleshy Compression Glove
At home that night I started reading. There’s all sorts of information on the internet, as well as a bunch of chat forums. One lady wrote in to say that the gauntlet can actually hurt your hand because there's nothing to push the fluid out of your fingers, so it stays and swells. She highly recommended using a ‘glove’. By compressing fingers, the fluid would be squeezed up up up up up through my arm and back into my body where it belongs.

At the crack of 9 I was at the door of my favorite medical-garment boutique. They’d  sold me my original garments, and  were a pack of extremely knowledgeable ladies. Once again I’d turned away from the medical professionals and landed in the hands (not puffy) of people who actually know what they’re talking about.

‘Why would she recommend a gauntlet?’ said the saleslady. ‘Did the nurse SEE your hand?’ I said that she did. The saleslady tut-tutted and put my hand in hers,‘You need a glove, I will get you one.’ 

And she did, but not without a bit of effort. As there were none available in my size, she disappeared into the back room for twenty minutes where she tore through boxes. Finding none, she’d plucked one from an outgoing order, deciding I needed it more than the person on the other end.

Poorer by $140, I stepped out into the sunshine with my fleshy glove. And once again I was grateful for the wise and sympathetic ladies who work in the trenches; those hands-on gals who always manage make things better for gals like me.

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