My husband is traveling again. He travels quite a bit for business and had slowed his travel just before I had my baby. But as we get our lives back to “normal” his travel schedule has resumed.
He’s always traveled, but since the September 2001disaster, I get antsy when he takes trips to Europe and Asia. I don’t dwell on it, but sometimes I do give more than a passing thought to the fact that some quack could try to hijack his plane. It’s one of many issues that keep me in close communication with the Almighty these days.
Terrorists are not the only threat to my husband during flight. According to a July 12, 2005 article in The New York Times, people who take long flights are more likely to suffer blood clots in the leg veins that can be fatal if the clots travel to the lungs, heart or brain. This what killed David Blume the NBC news reporter. One way to avoid this potentially fatal occurrence is to wear graduated compression leg stockings.
“Blood vessels get kinked at the hips and knees when we sit, much like bending a garden hose,” says Steven Krych, DPM, a podiatrist at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic. “The narrowing causes the blood to go through the space faster, causing a swirling effect. This swirling promotes blood clotting and if a clot is subsequently dislodged and travels to a major organ, then a potentially lethal event can occur.”
Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage causing numbness), smoking, surgery and pregnancy can also lead to clot formation.
“Any condition that leads to blood vessel narrowing increases the potential for a lethal event,” says Krych.
Wearing compression stockings can reduce the chances this will happen.
“Compression stockings keep the blood flow even through the blood vessels. The blood isn’t allowed to swirl, clots are less likely to form and fatal events are prevented.” Krych added that people with abnormal circulation, whether it be temporary as it is for travelers or more permanent as it is with diabetics, should drink lots of water to stay hydrated and exercise regularly, and when traveling should and get up and walk every one to two hours. They should quit smoking.
I bought my husband some Gold Toe support dress socks, but is this enough? Medical grade compression stockings, known as T.E.D. hose (for thromboembolic disease) are used for people with more severe circulation problems or on patients after surgery. There’s no way I’d get my husband to wear those! In addition to being stiff as boards, they are butt ugly. So I decided to see what I could find.
After searching the web for vendors, I made a few calls. Most of the vendors here in town are licensed with the state. This means that they file claims with and accept payment from insurance companies. As a result, you must have a prescription for what you need, go to the facility and have the items fitted for you. They are not retailers, so you can’t just walk into these facilities and buy the stockings like you would at a regular store. If they don’t stock what you need, they will do a custom order, sometimes at an additional cost. The only retailer of medical grade compression stockings is The Comfort Store by Special Addition.
“Jobst has the biggest product line and I try to keep everything that Jobst makes in stock,” says Susan Kelberlau, the store manager. “That way, when a person comes in, they can leave with what they need. My experience has been that if a custom order is required, people often don’t return to pick up the order and as a result, don’t get the support that they so desperately need.”
The Comfort Store stocks everything from compressions stockings, to compression vests and sleeves for mastectomy patients, devices to help put the stockings on and other devices that aid with activities of daily life for those individuals with limited movement in their hands or feet. Compression stockings used to be an ugly cardboard beige or stark white, but now the stockings come in sheer fabrics and lots of different colors. A businessperson like my husband can wear them just like regular socks and get them in colors to match his suits. I was especially pleased to see stockings in brown tones because “nude” means something different to us brown-skinned people. The newer fabrics allow people to wear the stockings comfortably in this Texas heat, an even bigger plus. Anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, travels on airplanes or has vascular problems can decrease their risk of developing blood clots in their legs by wearing compression stockings.
Kelberlau is a certified fitter, so people can get exactly the size and compression that they need whether they have a prescription or not. She is will teach customers how to put the stockings on and answer questions. My husband can simply walk in, have his ankle and calf measured, and walk out with medical grade compression stockings. He doesn’t need to make an appointment with his doctor for a prescription. I can’t speak for others, but this will definitely increase the likelihood that he’ll get and wear the stockings.
The Comfort Store is sponsoring Leg Health days on June 15th and 16th, perfect times to visit the store, learn more about leg health and get your questions answered from the Jobst representatives. Stop in and see if compression stockings are for you.
Darline Turner-Lee has just found one of her Father’s Day gifts! E-mail her with other ideas