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2011-06-15

I'm So Vein (OR: What my Vanity Regrets)

I remember the first time I really noticed my varicose veins. It was the same day I noticed my first grey hair - a sunny, spring-like day in a Montreal cafe when I was about 22. Annoying, but not so bad that I couldn't distract myself from it for the next 6 years.... that was, until I saw how bumpy my calves looked in pictures from my honeymoon. Still, I just switched to longer skirts and capris. No biggie. 

Fast-Forward to my first pregnancy: sitting in my doctor's office, me in a chair, she on her stool. I was wearing a sundress, and she noticed the bulging veins on my leg. She told me I would "need to wear compression stockings or that will only get worse", and she wrote me a prescription for the hose. A prescription I have never thought of since, because, really, like I was going to do THAT....middle of summer, compression hose!!?? Get Real!


Since then, some years I find I am more self-conscious, and continue with the capris. Other years, I've taken the "deal with it" approach: it is hereditary after all, and hiding behind long clothes for the rest of my life was pointless! I would dare to wear shorts, forcing anyone who encountered me to - gasp - see my road-map calves. Beyond the occasional bout of vanity, my ugly veins were not an issue.

Oh, karma, karma, karma!

A while back, I spent the morning at the gym - felt pretty pleased with myself too. It took me about an hour to get home - I stopped at Sears, and got the mail. Soon after I arrived at the house, I felt an ache in my leg, like I had a bruise. I ran my hand down my calf, trying to remember what I might have done at the gym....


...Holy crap, what a bulge! At least the size of a hard boiled egg - seriously, if not bigger! - and hot and achy. I elevated it for a while but it was only getting tighter and more sore. I couldn't walk. Darn it! I'll have to go to the Doctor (I avoid Dr's whenever possible, I see them too much as it is!)....

Amazingly I was able to get into see my doctor within the hour..... Yes, it was the same doctor who had prescribed the hose I never bought years ago. And, guess what she told me - I had a hematoma, a pool of blood resulting from a burst blood vessel, likely from the impact at the gym combined with weak (i.e.: varicose) veins.


I know - yuck!

...Then she was kind enough to tell me that each of those bumpy veins and spider veins on my calves.... well, they are only part of the problem - apparently "varicose veins are like icebergs - what you can see is nothing compared to what you can't see"!  Lovely.

So, what did she prescribe? Well, a few days rest, and...... you guessed it, compression stockings. She was kind enough not to say I-told-you-so. I heard the karma bells ring-a-ding.

Did I shirk off the hose this time? No, man it hurt too much! 

And now, I think I am a compression sock junkie.... because oh! they make my legs feels SO good! And because you can get ones that look like plain black cotton socks (vanity is still a bit of an issue ;-).  When my legs ache from ankle to knee (which makes me feel like a grandma - no offense, Mom), I put the socks on with my yoga pants or jeans, and am amazed at how much relief they provide... I didn't realize how heavy my legs were before....

But, it has been at least a month and it doesn't seem like the veins are ever going to go "back to normal" ... they are worse than they were before.... if only, if only....

Oh, me & my vein self ;-)




PS: The new Lawton's on Topsail Rd (near Zellers) has a great selection of compression socks and stockings. Now there's something I never thought I would hear myself say... sigh ;-)

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