Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sclerotherapy: What to Expect

I went for my first vein injections this week.  Super fun!  A couple of you have asked me to describe it because you may be interested in getting this type of treatment yourselves.  So, here is what you can expect.

First, you'll do a bunch of research on the internet.  You'll watch procedures that make you cringe, but the patient always seems to come through okay, which is reassuring.  She (it's always a woman) will have her leg wrapped in a compression bandage, and then "immediately return to normal daily activities".  The videos show her smiling and striding confidently out the front door of the clinic.

The first available appointment will be three weeks after your consultation, so you'll have plenty of time to worry/psyche yourself up for the treatment.  There will also be lots of time for your custom-ordered, mandatory compression stockings to be shipped to the clinic.

When you finally arrive at the clinic for the appointment, I recommend chanting the mantra "Sexy legs.  Sexy legs," over and over again in a soothing tone to remind yourself why you should look forward to having your legs stabbed.  Check at the front counter for your compression stockings.  When you find out that they have not been shipped, try not to freak out.  Ask if you need to reschedule.  You won't want to reschedule.  You've worked too hard to mentally prepare for this moment.  You are ready to do it now!

The clinic staff will tell you it's no problem.  You can use a tensor bandage (which you have to wear for the first 24-48 hours anyway) instead of the stockings.  It just won't look as pretty.  Fine.  Go and sit in the treatment room.  Try to focus on playing Candy Crush on your phone.  Try to forget where you are.

When the doctor and his assistant walk in, explain that you will be distracting yourself with your phone.  Lie on the table on your left side.  That funny sound is the doctor working the sclerotherapy solution up into a foam.  He will say "A little pinch now."  It will hurt as much as any normal injection hurts.

Repeat the last two steps 6 or 7 times.  Keep playing your game.  It's fine.  You're doing great.  Just a little longer.  You'll start to sweat.  Don't drop your phone.  Tell the doctor you're starting to get stressed out.  He'll tell you "Just one more and then we're done."

Sit up.  Feel proud of yourself for surviving and not having a major panic attack. Get your leg wrapped with cotton wads and a tensor bandage.  The assistant will run the tape over the sensitive skin behind your knee so that when you walk it hurts and itches at the same time after a few steps.  Tolerate this, because you're afraid to mess with the dressing.  The assistant will wrap a tensor bandage over the taped cotton, so ineffectively that it will start unravelling inside your pant leg while you're walking home from the bus.  Hurry faster, because if you lose compression the whole treatment might be ineffective and you'll have to do the whole thing over again.  Stop hurrying, because if you put too much pressure on the leg while the bandage is falling off the whole treatment might be ineffective and you'll have to do the whole thing over again.  Try not to freak out.

Rewrap the bandage yourself.  After if falls off again, watch a YouTube video on how to compress your thigh with a tensor bandage.  Rewrap the bandage properly, and feel like a winner.

The bandage will be hot, bulky, and annoying.  You won't be able to walk normally or wear most of your pants.  Realize that the video of the woman striding confidently out of the clinic in the demo video was a total lie.  Be patient.  Eventually the first 48 hours will be over and you'll be able to take off the cotton padding.  And if you're really lucky, when you go for your follow up visit on Tuesday, the compression stockings will have arrived and you can ditch the tensor bandage.

Then get ready to do this whole process over a lot more times because  you put off treatment for so long that your legs need a lot of fixing.  You can do it!  Go you!


Jenski said...

Good work, Spark! For round two you can offer to be the assistant if you're going to wrap your own legs anyway...or send a link for the video to the doctor's office?

Ginny said...

That does not sound fun. You made it though! The sexy legs chant is a good motivator.

Abby said...

"Sexy legs. Sexy legs. Sexy legs..." Good idea!
Nice job, you.

Lynn said...

OK - I'm not doing that. Love your humorous take on it - good that you got that mostly over with!

Gia said...

Good for you! That sounds like...not the most fun thing to experience.

PhilipH said...

Seems a prickly solution to a vein (vain?) problem. I do sincerely hope you have a successful outcome Sparky, I really do.

LL Cool Joe said...

Okay I'm sorry but I couldn't read this post, but I just hope you and your legs are okay.

Granny Annie said...

Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive! Thank god for Candy Crush! I admire your courage.