Victor’s Secret

May 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm (The Easy Chair)

Dr T stood outside the store, smoking a cigarette and eyeing me with suspicion. “You’re a half-hour early. Whaddup?”

“I have an errand to run. I need to go buy some pannn-ty hose.” I said it in my faux-hillbilly voice.

“As long as you’re not wearing pannn-ty hose.” A pregnant pause. “Are you?”

“Not yet…”

This leg infection has been dragging on for a month now. I’ve been keeping the leg elevated when not at work, gobbling antibiotics four times a day, and trying not to scratch the intense itching while the healing continues. The doctor noted improvement, but made one suggestion. I should wear support hose.

I prefer to call them compression socks.

For the last several years, I’ve stuck to one kind of socks, white ankle-high athletic socks. They don’t scream “NERD!” if one flashes a little calf, and may help redeem some of my fellow Oregonians who have a penchant for wearing socks with sandals. (An adjustment to our cosmic feng shui?) I like that I only have to find two socks, not two specific socks, and WalMart has six-packs of them for about $4. I’ve probably got fifty pair.

Because I stand 9-12 hours a day, the circulation in my legs slows as time goes by. I’ve noticed those veins that look like blood-filled caterpillars on the back of my calves, but didn’t realize they were anything more than a cosmetic nuisance. After listening to the doctor’s lecture/recommendation, I agreed to try. He wrote a prescription and sent me to a specialty shop across town.

The lady at the specialty/prosthesis/medical girdle shop was nice, once she found out why this… this raggedy man, was invading her shop. I explained my financial woes, showed her my paperwork, but I did not qualify for hospital assistance. How much would the socks cost if I paid cash?


“For one pair?”

Yes, for one pair.

Unable to afford that, I asked, “Is there a less expensive alternative that doesn’t require a prescription?”

“Oh yeah, you can get them at Rite-Aid. The biggest problem is finding a proper fit. I haven’t measured you.”

“I’ll figure it out…”

At home, early in the morning before any swelling could occur, I took a radio cord and wrapped it around my calf at the widest point. I pulled out my carpenter’s tape measure and recorded the various numbers.


I can hunt for bargains anytime, but for my first official pair? I wanted to buy them in a friendly environment, so I ventured across the street from work to the independent pharmacy. (There’s a Rite-Aid nearby, but I hate walking through the gauntlet of dirtmongers and panhandlers just to get through the door.) I wandered into the pharmacy and looked around. The kid from the counter came over, asking if he could help me find something?

“Support hose?”

He cocked an eyebrow, regained composure and led me to a spinning rack near the souvenir shot glasses. “This is what we have.” He left me to my devices.

It looked like X-Large would *just* fit. Hmm… beige, brown, or athletic white? Beige would leave me looking like I had prosthetic legs. Brown would be okay, but the color gave me Kingdom Hall flashbacks, so I chose white athletic. I can wear my anklets over them without looking goofy.

And now? The test begins. I arose early, showered and crawled back into bed for a few minutes, elevating my legs to reduce any temporary swelling. I read the instructions while I waited. It looked similar to putting on pantyhose, which I have done once or twice. (I look like a Monty Python lady in drag, FYI.) This couldn’t be that much different.

I knew they were supposed to be tight, but goddamn! Once I got my foot inside, I rolled the stocking upward, squeezing everything north. I huffed, puffed, repeated it on the other leg, working up a sweat to the point where I turned the fan on. Note to self: Allow an extra ten minutes a day to put on socks. Fuuuuuck…

I’ve been wearing them for about an hour, and it feels okay. I haven’t gone walking yet, but the true test will come tonight. Will my leg look like a smoked ham at the end of the night, or will I have a sleek, smooth set of gams? I may or may not let you know.

I kind of feel sorry for the kid at the pharmacy. When I told him I worked downtown (to get the 10% discount) he said, “I know who you are.” Yikes. The last time I bought stuff from him, it was Old Spice, and he joked with his buddies about how it was the first bottle they had ever sold. “This is for, like, old people, isn’t it?” Yep, sonny, I’m now the face of what you have to look forward to in thirty years.

I can’t decide if I want to be nice, or mess with him a little. I’ll decide if and when I need Preparation H, Poli-Grip or Depends.

Hell, maybe I’ll go in and buy all three, just to watch his head explode…


1 Comment

  1. Dennis said,

    Now you need Poli-Grip

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