I am on my third day in a row of bandaging for lymphedema and AM I CRANKY!
The bandaging is soft but not comfortable. I’m left-handed, but if you’re not, go ahead and imagine the following on your right hand –
1. Long, narrow strips of gauze wrapped around your fingers from nail bed to knuckles;
2. Foam chip bags placed on my forearm and elbow to break up sluggish lymph fluid;
3. Fleece-like padding wrapped around the hand and extending from the wrist to armpit;
4. Long, stretchy bandages (like Ace bandages) on top of it all.
The effect looks like a brown cloth cast. The impact?
Well, I can’t hold a pen while bandaged. I can’t use a knife so I can’t prepare food. It’s REALLY hard to type. It’s hard to open a bottle, fold the laundry, brush my teeth. Maybe you can imagine more.
The compression feels like someone is squeezing my arm in a tight handshake that goes from my wrist to my elbow. (It’s not as tight around the upper arm.) And I wear it for 23 hours a day, taking it off only to shower and dress.
I like to sleep on my left side, and with my arm bandaged I can’t curl up like usual, so I don’t sleep well. So I take a sleeping pill. And then, hopefully when the bandaging has taken effect and my arm is back to normal, I stop taking the sleeping pills and get rebound insomnia for a night or two.
I am unbelievably cranky because I feel so disabled by this lymphedema treatment. I do it because in the past it has worked, my arm’s swelling has reduced to normal, and I can return to wearing my regular compression sleeve. But the cumulative effect of 3 days in the sleeve is making me crazy.