“Compression socks?” I squinted at the doctor. A picture burst into my brain. A little old lady, hair in a black-mesh net, heavy flat shoes, thick stockings rolled just below the knee: Ruth Buzzi’s Gladys on Laugh-in.
“You should wear them whenever you spend time on your feet.”
“But it only happens when I referee football games.” I gulped. “And I wear shorts. A lot.”
“I understand, but you should wear these socks all the time. I do.” The doctor lifted her pant leg and displayed her compressioned calf. Then she smiled. “Let’s see if that helps.”
Compression socks. Yet another assault on my age. As if cataract surgery and high blood pressure meds and the never-ending visits to the physical therapist weren’t enough to remind me that I’m…um…getting older.
The red rashes that appeared on my legs after football games were certainly unsightly. In fact, I looked like I had some rare tropical disease. The blotches would fade after a few days, but as the season wore on the affliction got worse.
And so I was feeling rather glum. “I have to wear compression socks,” I said to my sweetie pie.
“Brett Farve swears by them.”
I sat up in my chair. “He does?”
“Jerry Rice wears them too.”
My brain whirled. Jerry Rice: the best receiver in NFL history. Brett Farve, who led his teams to eight division championships, five NFC Championship games, and two Super Bowl appearances.
I was skeptical. “Why?”
“I don’t know.” Ryan shrugged.
So I dashed to my computer to see why two fabulous athletes would wear compression socks. I found what I was looking for on WebMD. “Some athletes … wear compression socks and sleeves on their legs and arms. The theory is that, during activity, better blood flow will help get oxygen to their muscles, and the support will help prevent tissue damage. And afterward, the beefed-up blood and lymph circulation will help their muscles recover quickly. They won’t be as sore, and they won’t cramp as much.”
“Ha!” I said to myself. “Compression socks will make me a better athlete.” But then I saw this disclaimer. “Studies show the gear has little to no effect on athletic performance, but some people swear by it. Maybe thinking they have an edge gives them one.”
I didn’t let that last part faze me, after all, if compression socks were good enough for Jerry Rice and Brett Farve, well, they were certainly good enough for me. I smiled, rose from my computer, and took two steps. Then, I stopped. I could have just left it alone, but I felt compelled, so a sat back down.
It didn’t take me long. There they were. Two of the greatest athletes in the history of pro sports, both of whom had passed the half-century mark. Which meant … they were old. Like me. (OK, I’m a little older, but you get the picture.)
I pondered for a moment and again considered compression socks. I wondered if Farve and Rice meant they liked their compression socks now that they were approaching senior-citizen hood or when they were strapping young athletes.
Eventually, I decided the timing wasn’t important. If those guys could wear compression socks so could I.
And so, I do. And, magically, they work.
My legs are much prettier now.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.