Updated: Dec 10, 2020
What fresh new hell is this?
When you're not old, but you get thrown headfirst into an old person's world, it takes some getting used to. For starters there appears to be a billion pills to take a day, so much so that they actually make plastic organizers for pills, because you have that many pills! To take! In a single day! (In case you're not getting this, I was blown away by the mountains of pills consumed daily when I started this caregiving lifestyle.) But I get past the pill thing, and me and The Other Girl get a routine down. Pills are refilled, sorted into their plastic containers, given at correct times in correct dosages and it's all good.
Then, there's the pace of life. I mean, the p... a.... c... e...
s... l... o... w...
Really, really slow. People who are Winning The Most Birthdays Game are just slower. Twenty years from now I will be too, but being required to suddenly slam on the breaks, I tell 'ya, it takes some getting used to, and is still one of the major frustrations of my day. You've got 15 feet from the car door to the grocery store entrance. You've got Mom covered from head to toe in about 20 pounds of Cuddl Duds®. It's 59 degrees out. She will spend a minute or more getting to that door, shivering and whimpering in frozen agony, and there's nothing you can do to speed her up short of tossing her in a grocery cart and running like a wild thing through the entrance. And believe me, if I could lift a 110lb whiny old lady into a cart and make a mad dash for the produce section, I would.
"In speed tests, a male giant tortoise can only cover 15 feet in 43.5 seconds despite the enticement of a female. Mother will go even slower than that despite the enticement of chocolate."
So you slow down. You learn to empathize with how cold she is all the time, and stay positive during the interminable walk anywhere outside, which honestly I don't mind at all if it wasn't paired with her fretting. But compression socks? This was an entirely new, fresh hell.
It started with Mom complaining that her feet hurt and refusing to put on her shoes. So we got her new shoes, a half size bigger. A challenge in itself as somewhere along the way Mom has gone from a born shopper to crying in the dressing room if you ask her to try something on. Many Amazon orders and returns later we finally achieved a pair of shoes she would wear, but it still didn't stop her from wincing in pain with every step which brought most of our activities to a stand still, which brought her anxiety to a fever pitch, which brought my sister and I to a breaking point.
A doctor's appointment, x-rays, and blood work later, the final diagnosis is that her varicose veins in her calves and feet are swollen. All she needs is compression socks to get them pumping more blood and relieve the pain. Great! That's doable!
Or is it?
Mom's tolerance to pain is even lower than her tolerance to the slightest of cool breezes. Knowing less than a box of hair about compression socks, I purchase a store brand pair and attempt to put them on like you would any other footwear. After about 5 seconds of that, Mom's in tears, and I'm muttering the worst of words under my breath, completely pissed that someone expects me to get fabric cement on my mother's already painful feet.
So back to the store for options: lesser compression, zip ups, open toed. Nothing. Nothing works. Internet help to achieve sockage: use a plastic bag, use this assistive device, turn them inside out, turn yourself inside out, eat oatmeal upside down while whistling the Andy Griffith Show theme and pray when you're done they'll magically be on your feet because that's about as likely a scenario as anybody else is gonna come up with.
I had no idea an entire nation was struggling to put on compression socks, enough so that you could spend a lifetime going through the 157,000 videos on YouTube, created just to get you into these contraptions - with apparently so little success that I'm guessing someone out there is making video 157,001 right now.
Back to Dr. Monica we go, and she gives me a slight scolding, "Any compression is better than none." Well, alright then, any compression coming up right up! And that's when things got easier...
I stopped killing myself (and Mom) trying to get her into traditional compression socks and started looking for compression alternatives. Enter Sockwell. These guys make all levels of compression socks that look like the adorable grammar school knee highs you coveted as a kid.
We started with one pair of the Circulator Moderate Graduated Compression Socks (15-20mmHG) knee highs, and had such success, both in getting them on, and alleviating Mom's vein pain, that we ordered four more. It was still a learning curve to put them on, but we now have a workable routine where I sit on the floor, put her foot on my knee, have the sock all gathered up and stretch big to get it over the toes, and then she pulls up from the top while I get the bottom of the foot situated.
The best part? No more crying.
I'm sure there are other sassy, light compression socks out there. These were the first ones we tried and have stuck with as they worked for us. If you too have been bewildered by the world of compression socks, let me know how you solved it. If you've been suddenly plunged into the world of People Winning the Most Birthdays Game, and found that a tad shocking, I'd love to hear that too!
Oh, and you're welcome for the giant tortoise dating info.