February 02, 2009

How the bandaging works

My friend G was over the other day and said, "I've never seen you put on all the bandages before." So I thought I'd explain the whole process.

First I put on the cotton under-sleeve (at the bottom of the image). It has a hole at one end for my thumb and extends from my hand to my shoulder.

Next are the grey pad (center, above under-sleeve) and finger bandages (far right, rolled into a circle). The large side of the grey pad goes over the back of my hand. You can just barely make out the openings for my fingers, and the small pad on the right goes in my palm. The finger bandages wrap around each finger individually, including the thumb.

Then I place the large chip bag (far left) around my arm with my elbow in the hole, and the small pale orange foam pieces against my wrist and the inside of my forearm. The chip bags and foam break up fibrosis, lymph fluid which has stagnated in my arm. My usual bad spots are in the forearm and just above the elbow.

Over the chip bags and foam I wrap the colorful fleece around my wrist, hand and arm, extending all the way up to my shoulder. The fleece provides padding and holds the chip bags in place for the final layer.

Last are the beige compression bandages (upper right), which cover the same area as the fleece. These help my lymphatic system to pump lymph fluid and break up any fibrosis. They come in graduated sizes -- smallest goes around the hand, largest around the upper arm.

Here's the full look:

(Like those shots? I took them myself, using my right hand and trying to get enough perspective to get the full impact.)

The rest of my lymphatic system needs stimulation to take up the overflow lymph which has pooled in my forearm and hand. I practice manual lymphatic drainage daily, and have been receiving this specialized physical therapy for the past few weeks.

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