Compression socks

I hate compression socks. There, I said it. I’ve been wearing them almost every day for 18 months and expect to wear them for the rest of my life to prevent more blood clots. Of course, I got 2 clots while wearing them so I’m not sure they’re working, though the legs and right foot especially are less swollen at the end of the day when I wear them. I tend to use them to haul my right leg up and around when I need to move it. Not what it was designed to do but it works.

Mine are actually compression STOCKINGS but socks is shorter. Compression Socks do exist but aren’t very forgiving on my large legs.

Putting them on isn’t easy and taking them off is much harder. By the time it gets easy, the stretch has weakened and they start to roll down the leg. That roll of compression hurts where it squeezes the leg at whatever place it decides to stop. It’s important that the compression is tight enough to do its job but not so tight that I can’t manage the on/off parts by myself. I use the sock aid to get them on and leverage to pull them up. Taking them off requires my reacher tool which has a little metal pin at the end that I use to push the sock over my heel and off the foot. This takes several tries because tight socks are supposed to stay in place and they don’t want to go anywhere.

My knees are starting to be very sore on the inner and outer sides – not the joints but the muscles and ligaments, which are being compressed by the top of the compression sock. It doesn’t seem fair that something that’s supposed to be helping one part actually hurts another body part at the same time. When I have a “sick day” and hang around in my robe all day, my legs are very happy to be free, but I feel guilty that I’m not using the socks and, indeed, the leg and foot swell up a bit.

Reclusive, depressed, or sick?

Nope, just SAD. I finally figured it out and ordered a light therapy lamp. I had one when I lived in New England and I know it will help. I wrote most of this post before I figured it out, though 🙂 Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) include everything I’ve been feeling for the last 6 weeks …

Since coming home from the hospital, I’ve spent a lot of time alone in the apartment. Well, alone with the cats and the TV. I’m not really interested in hanging around people and being social. My friends here are lovely and I enjoy their company – but not now. Since the retina tear, I’ve also been basically sitting around because I’m not supposed to do anything strenuous and to avoid having my head down. The quiet time alone feels like vacation.

I’m not sitting around moping or feeling sorry for myself. I dose off in the chair frequently and am really tired all the time even though I’m getting lots of good sleep at night. But I have that deep chest cough and facial pain, which usually means a sinus infection. I’ve had both for weeks. Am I depressed? Maybe. Actually, I know I am and I’m already on an anti-depressant which has helped enormously.

My shoulders hurt just being attached to my body. After propelling myself around on mostly carpeted hallways, my arms are tired and the shoulders hurt more, and my legs are often throbbing from being down for hours instead of elevated in my lift chair. But mostly it’s the idea of having to get myself back home after being out for something like working on the community puzzle in the library or going to Bingo or exercise class that tires me out before I even go.

I don’t feel lazy staying at home. It’s really just taking care of myself. I can sometimes find someone who can help me push my way home again – but so many people use walkers or scooters and can’t actually do much to help. So it’s up to me. I’m more than ready for the power chair.

And that chair will let me get outside in the sunshine much more easily than I can do now. I can’t wait.

From my box of treasures

The plain box contains treasures, letters and notes from people that mattered to me through the years. A note from my childhood best friend, telling me she missed me like her right arm after I moved away. A priest friend’s thank you note for his ordination gift, a hand-embroidered stole. My godmother’s letter to me in 1976 when I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. Thank you notes and letters and little cards that told me I mattered to them, too.

One of those treasures was a letter in Spanish sent in 1976 by my first Spanish teacher. I started Spanish classes as a seventh grader. We sat in alphabetical order and were assigned Spanish names to use in class. There was another Ann in the class ahead of me and she became “Ana”; I became “Anita” and still answer to that. I wanted to be taking French with my best friend, but my dad insisted that more people in the world spoke Spanish and I was going to learn it. I ended up studying it for 10 years.

My school was changing to a new series of Spanish textbooks that hadn’t arrived at the time classes started. I didn’t know it then but learned later that, as a result, we had the best possible method for learning a language by using an audio/lingual approach. We had to pay attention, to listen carefully, because we had no books for the first six weeks. My teacher was George T. Riggs, who also taught Latin. He had “romantic silver hair” and looked old to me, but he was an engaging teacher and I learned bunches. He taught me for two years before I moved on to a teacher I can’t remember.

But I remembered Mr. Riggs. He instilled a love of the language and a confidence in using it that led me to not only continue classes but also to major in Spanish. I studied in Madrid my junior year in college and became a certified teacher after student-teaching Spanish to a bunch of middle Tennesse high school students who soon learned my accent.

As I prepared to graduate from college, I wrote to Mr. Riggs at my old junior high, thanking him for getting me started with the language I came to love. I didn’t know if he would remember me – it had been 10 years – but he wrote me back in a very nice letter, in Spanish, of course. My letter to him made him proud and happy for my success; his letter to me made me feel validated and accomplished. It was a treasure and it went into my box. Although my Spanish is rusty now – it’s been almost 50 years! – I can still read it easily, which also makes me happy. I have to keep it.

What’s in your treasure box?

Updates on This and That

So many body parts are out of whack that it’s hard to know where to start.

Retina Tear:

A retina tear in the right eye was repaired by laser two weeks ago. Yesterday I was back for a follow up to make sure it was healing well (it is). It’s been hard to keep my head up when I have cats to tend and just getting in and out of my chair presents challenges. But I’m happy that what I was able to do was enough for the doctor to be pleased. I am feeling like a slug, though, after not doing NuStep or much else for two weeks.

Blood Clots:

I also had a follow up with the vein doctors about my blood clots, after yet another leg ultrasound 10 days ago. The scan report said I only had one chronic thrombus in the thigh and nothing in the calf, which didn’t match what the one done in the ER said three weeks before. But the vein people read the scan differently and said that yes, there is a second chronic thrombus in the calf. Apparently it’s not likely that either clot is going away but they will pare down to smaller little webby things on either side of the vein. At least that’s what I understood her to say.

I’m on blood thinners for life, which I expected. Xarelto is wicked expensive but so is Eliquis, which is the same medication class as Xarelto but you take it twice a day instead of once a day. That’s easier and I already have it, so we’re sticking to Xarelto. If I go to the dentist or need to have another kind of procedure, I’m to ask that provider what they want me to do about the blood thinners. Most times I can skip a few days without going into great risk, but a longer time off will require me to get a “bridge medicine” to take until I can take the Xarelto again. Whatever. I’m not to make assumptions or read Dr. Google for answers, but just ask the providers. When in doubt, need more info, or another clot appears, I’m to call either the P.A.’s cell phone or the general number and ask the answering service to page the doctor on call.


The shoulders have been messed up for months from rolling the manual chair around. The TotalCare therapist who was here as part of the power chair process told me she thought I had rotator cuff problems which seems quite probable as I assess what hurts. Reaching hurts. Rolling hurts. Sleeping on my side hurts. Being attached to my body hurts. Inside the armpits hurts, too. My aide is giving me regular massages which hurt in a good way, and I’ve started going to Chair Yoga for stretches – but I have to be careful about my head position because of the retina tear issue. It may be time to go back to PT for shoulder help.


I’ve had a deep chest cough for about three months. No fever, minimal drainage, facial pain. Splitting headache much of the time. Leg spasms. Right ankle that rolls. Left thigh has Meralgia paresthetica, a disorder characterized by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh – another nerve thing that first popped up six years ago. It’s fun. Not. I’m off to the pain doctor next week and my mandatory 2-month drug screening because he gives me the good stuff. Although I have SI joint pain on both sides, I don’t think I can have an injection to help because of the blood thinner. But we’ll talk.

Power Chair:

All the paperwork was sent to insurance yesterday. We’re not sure if they will pay for the chair, since Medicare bought me the manual chair in 2022. But I have medical complications (think shoulders, ankle, blood clots) since then as well as weight gain. But the shoulders and blood clots are the big reasons they would consider it, plus my doctor advocated for it. I will pay for the power chair if insurance doesn’t, because it could be a huge improvement for me. We’ll see.

Medical Billing:

I have great insurance – Original Medicare A&B, with Plan G supplement, and Part D prescription coverage. Then I went to the hospital on January 1st, the day that deductibles zero out and you start again. My Medicare Part B deductible is $226 for 2023. The hospital bill was $20,214 plus assorted other physician billing for their very limited time with me. Okay, sounds good. Medicare A paid $1,600 of the hospital bill. Everything else is going to Mutual of Omaha for Part B coverage which restarted on January 1st. All of those claims hitting them at once meant that everything was initially denied since I hadn’t met my deductible. Except I actually paid the first of those bills ($208) on January 2nd using my cell phone. Since then I’ve paid $160 to the eye doctor and $680 to assorted hospital stay doctors. I know I’m responsible for $226 of the combo of things so someone is going to owe me a pot of money once they get caught up.