Compression Stockings: Tourniquets from Hell. Aka: Spanx on Steroids

Ever have a cardiologist tell you your veins were incompetent? I’ve known morons that were incompetent and some men that were incompetent, and even some moronic men that were incompetent, but my veins? Scary.

One of my Bucket List items is the removal of some incompetent veins in my leg. For God’s sake I’d like to be able to wear a skirt in the summer without scaring small children. This is basically a sterile way of saying my leg looks like someone beat it with a Louisville Slugger. Now, because I am prone to exaggeration, I will tell you that it’s really not that bad – so maybe not a Louisville Slugger – a Sur La Table meat tenderizer, perhaps.

Welcome the endless cardiologist visits to Huntington Medical Group on Long Island, New York. Because after all, if you’re going to have cardiology issues, what better place to go than a town apply named similarly to the sunny beaches of California?

But alas, no sun and surf in Huntington Medical Group, just sunny receptionists and a very knowledgeable cardiologist who explained why my vein is as useless as a soggy balloon animal. And that before surgery I have to try a “compression stocking.”

Have you ever tried to put on a compression stocking? What about a tourniquet? Tried a tourniquet?

A compression stocking isn’t like anything you’ve ever stuffed your body into before. Picture Spanx on steroids. Then make it tighter. Apparently compression stockings are supposed to squeeze the life out of you so much so that it forces any remaining body liquids back up to your heart. This can’t possibly be good, but the insurance company thinks it’s fabulous. Probably because they’ve never tried to wear tourniquets.

So I sat on my bathroom floor with what I thought was going to be a helpful pile of sturdy nylon, when in reality it was a torture device that terrorists use in order to bring on sudden panic attacks of the likes of which no war hero has ever seen before. After struggling with the thing for a good ten minutes, I was only able to get it up to my knee. At that point I felt like a surgeon was going to bust into my bathroom and sever my leg. I had to remind myself that I’m not diabetic and my leg is fine, but nervous panic sweat kept popping out on my forehead.

Most nylon-wearing folks already know that with typical stockings, you can stretch them open enough to pull them up your leg, then insert your other leg into the remaining stocking hole. With compression stockings, you can’t do that. You can’t “spread” them or stretch them because they’re already tight as hell. In fact, I’m pretty sure if you looked up “tight as hell” in the Urban Dictionary, there would be a picture of compression stockings. And possibly a secondary image of me on the bathroom floor covered in a panic sweat.

Can you imagine paying $60 for nylons that do nothing better than send you to a psych ward? And to think that psych wards would wrap people in arm-tight jackets. No wonder patients rarely recovered. I know the Kings Park Psychiatric Center in Kings Park, New York is closed, but I would still consider checking around the decaying closets for any remaining compression stockings. Needless to say, I had to rip mine off before my mind punctured the barrier between sane and schizoid.

And unfortunately I now have the “privilege” of explaining to the cardiologist that the compression stockings are about as competent as my vein.

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