Saturday, 3 November 2012

Travel tip - elevated mattresses

This is for those who suffer from lymphoedema in their legs.  Years ago my dad was always trying to find out ways to improve my life and he had the idea of keeping my legs elevated so that the swelling (now lymph) will subside naturally while I sleep.  At the time, I had almost given up living with my condition, I didn't like the regular operations and hospital appointments - I never gave much heed to his advice and ideas.  Plus we didn't know at the time that I had lymphoedema.

He and his friend decided to make a bed out of steel beams with reinforcements in the right places to support my weight.  My dad thought of adding a wedge of some kind at the end of the bed for the mattress to rest on.  He'd hoped that a slight elevation will help my legs. The elevation was about 10 degrees - a slope ratio of about 1:6 - I have to say it worked wonders on my legs.  Now I insist on having a wedge under the mattress on any bed that I regularly sleep on.

Therapists would suggest putting your legs on top of pillows, invariably by the end of your sleep you'd see those pillows on the floor.  Heaven knows what use they were and you'd notice no discernible difference to your legs.  Putting something under the mattress to elevate it the mattress is a much better and stable solution.

Nearly everyone in the world sleep on flat beds - so going on holiday adds to my worries on how I'd cope with my legs.  My tip would be to get anything you can get your hands on and put them under the mattress.  During my last holiday, I had stuffed several pillows, bed throws and cushions under the mattress.  This alone made me worry less about my legs and my legs were stable during the entire holiday.  I suppose the same sort of technique can be applied to help with lymphoedema in the arms.

To summarise - when on holiday, stuff pillows and cushions under the mattress to provide elevation for your legs.

My bed with the wedge

The wedge itself

I've discovered shorts!

Welcome back!

This summer I have discovered shorts!  You may be thinking what's so special about them.  I've never worn shorts since high school plus my legs weren't in a state I could show them off.

One of the problems that I have from wearing compression garments on my legs is that they usually slip down and when they do they can cause pain.  I have to find a toilet or a secluded room pretty quickly in order to pull them up away from my knee privately.

With the warm weather - wearing three layers of 'clothing' (two compression garments and trousers) was getting pretty painful and sticky.  My therapist suggested I use a water spray - basically spray it on the garments making them slightly wet. This helps my legs feel cooler.  This was all well but I still had the problem of the garments slipping down.

Whilst in Sainsbury's I eyed a pair of shorts, I just wondered what it would feel to wear shorts.  I mentally anticipated weird looks and stares if I had worn them.  Would people think my fashion sense had gone out the window?  Or would they think what's this fat bloke doing wearing black tights under his shorts?  Despite feeling and anticipating embarrassment and ridicule I decided to buy a pair.

Oh what a relief!! I wish I had bought a pair earlier! Now I can position the garments so they don't collect up at the knee.  I did get a few odd stares from the family but then I thought I'd go and show the world.  I guess you only live once...  I had a lot of weird stares.  But all in all people just got used to it seeing me wear them  I just thought they'd wear the shorts if they had to wear garments like me, but I wouldn't wish that on them..