Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Thank goodness for long trousers

Too much self-glorification: the finger-wagging grammarian, the over-competitive swimmer, the shrill polemicist. How about something ignoble? Let’s try varicose veins and their aftermath.

One aftermath is support hose, otherwise elasticated stockings. Made in Switzerland, shaped precisely to fit the calf (to avoid pressure points), costing £36 a pair (but free on the NHS), they are alas essential. Devalved, the veins start acting as sumps, accumulating the blood and fatiguing the legs. Firm containment allows the wearer to walk round museums, the ultimate test. Such hose have been my constant companion since 1978.

They are and must be tight-fitting. When new they are hard to put on. For twenty minutes after a bath, when the skin’s coefficient of friction is mysteriously increased, they are impossible to put on. But there are worse situations. Off Diafani in the Dodecanese I swam early and afterwards needed to re-clad my legs for the rest of the day. But the temperature was in the thirties and my hose exertions caused me to sweat. I tugged to no avail. I needed talcum powder but none was available. The indignity of it all.

I inherited my veins from my dad who also passed on gout. I have blogged about the first op when the anaesthetist cocked things up and I woke up suffocating. The second op was in a day clinic, a quickie. No more surgery is possible.

Novel progress 16/4/10. Ch. 20: 2773 words. Chs. 1 - 19: 85,903 words. Comments: Hatch and Clare (in secret).

15 comments:

Plutarch said...

For a moment I took them for a fashion garment. You can't be too sure nowadays. But I'm glad to know they are effective.

christopher said...

My mother used to say getting old is not for the faint of heart, neither is it for sissies...

I am now old enough that I have no doubt of the veracity of that observation.

Julia said...

If Ben Jonson considered Shakespeare's buskin and long socks worth tribute, surely yours can't be that ignoble? They do beg for decoration though - do the Swiss not sell a red and white version?

Barrett Bonden said...

All: Congratulations to the objective trio. I didn't expect much response to this post, imagining it to have traversed the disgust barrier.

Plutarch: But I'm hardly the mark and glass that fashioned others.

Chris: In fact the Story of My Veins started at the same time I took up ski-ing. But your mother is, of course, right. I have further admissions to make regarding the passage of time but I believe I have sickened my audience sufficiently to hold back a little.

Julia: I did contemplate a sonnet but the need to include mundane details such as price, etc, forestalled things. As to ignoble (an excellent under-used adjective) it occurred to me that all blogs tend to be a rather heroic projection of their authors and I felt the need to emphasise my feet of clay. My bandaged calves were as far as I got. The colour is intentional. If one accidentally shows a bit of leg (not something I do regularly) the material could be taken for a flesh tone.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, my mother had to wear them during her hospital stay. I broke 7 fingernails helping her get them on and off. Support socks were the only thing she complained to the doctor about.

herhimnbryn said...

I may be teaching my Grandfather to suck eggs, but this might help with donning your hose....

http://www.handyhealthcare.co.uk/mobility-aids/comfort/foot-and-leg-aids/compression-stocking-aid.html

You could always cross garter them as in Twelfth Night!

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): My extreme sympathies. Once when I was damaged in some way Mrs BB tried to perform the same task for me and found it impossible. My next novel will draw on personal experiences and will be called "Support hose and the secret life".

HHB: I'll refrain from asking how on earth you came by this website. A fascinating device; I'm almost tempted to buy it just to see if it works. As it is I try to arrange my life so that once I've taken the stockings off there's no need to re-install them that day. Thus my exercise sessions occur at the end of the day. The stockings do come with a separate inner sock of fake silk which, when installed first, provides a slidy surface which can help. Two problems: it only works for the foot and not the calf, it's often damnably difficult to pull it off when the stocking is in place. Only by doing this post have I truly realised how these stockings dominate my life.

The Crow said...

Nice legs, Sweetcheeks!

Occasional speeder said...

The socks are part of bb family life. Like good wine and bickering. However the reason for posting is to show how amazing my iPhone is - the king of Workswell

herhimnbryn said...

When in the UK I was (wait for it, much maligned couple of words coming up) a social worker, there I've said it! Part of my job was finding such devices for people.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Do you really think so? I thought the knees looked like crushed mangoes.

OS: 'tis true, I fear. Love me, love my elasticateds.

HHB: Oh, but you got out, bursting into the southern uplands, embracing the sun, a new life... Social workers have one of the worst jobs in the world. Damned if they do interfere, damned if they don't. And now you have become an antipodean enigma, a mosaic. In future I shall relay all my medical problems via you.

Avus said...

Bugger!

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Is this the end, then?

Avus said...

Just returned to the blogs after a while away (emigrant daughter has arrived and other things have taken over).
My expletive comment referred to the buggeration of life, its ravages to our bodies and the legs you have had to endure these many years. (Churchill's phrase was "keep buggering on").
"we're parting brass rags", you commented on my blog - never heard that one before, BB. I assume a saying from "oop north", but what is its origin and how is it used?

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: The phrase is over a hundred years old and is national rather than regional. It describes the break-up of a lower-deck friendship in the Royal Navy marked by a disinclination to share the rags seamen used for polishing. Since your comment "Bugger" was followed by a week or two's silence I imagined it was in reaction to something I'd posted (it wouldn't have been the first time). However I'm glad to see I was mistaken.