So, you probably read my little Introduction to this page – If not, Click Here to read: Do You Exercise While Working? You Will After You Read This. The post will open in a new window so that you don’t lose your place here.
Anyway, I figured that if I was going to have to spend a bunch of time sitting with my leg elevated recovering from a yucky vein thrombosis experience, I might as well take the opportunity to impart some first-hand information to readers of my “Healthy Living Tips” section.
<= See that photo at the left? The one with my swollen ankle? Does that look like the ankle of a gal who has been taking her “Healthy Living Tips” advice seriously? (Don’t answer that! Rhetoric question!)
Ever hear of “phlebitis?” No?
Well, I had heard of it in years past, but thought it was one of those “old persons afflictions.” (No offense to my older readers… it’s just that I never thought of it happening to a 50 year old…LOL!)
Well, according to this doctor’s office where I have become a familiar face, it’s a “superficial blood clot” that happened because something happened in my vein or some kind of valve or something like that to make the blood stop flowing normally.
Or something like that.
All I heard was “blood clot.” I didn’t even hear “superficial” even though the able, professional, and wonderful medical assistant Lean kept telling me over and over that I didn’t need to be so worried… I kept saying, “Blood clot! I don’t want to die!”
Lean would sigh.
Allow a brief “Commercial” here… Because even though I’m still in pain, I feel like I am going to be ok, thanks to Dr. Singireddy now…
In all seriousness, Lean has been very patient with me! – in fact, that whole office is so awesome, that here’s my official recommendation: If any of my readers happen to live anywhere near the Daytona Beach area – say, even within a 12-hour drive – and you have a “vein problem,” Dr. Sukhender Singireddy, an M.D. who also happens to be one of the only certified Phlebologists I’ve ever met, is your go-to guy.
And no, I’m NOT (regrettably) being paid for this endorsement (If that should change, I’ll let you know!), and YES, I still have to pay for the treatment (I offered to sing in exchange, but no go…). But, hey, a doctor also has bills to pay… So, over in Port Orange is Dr. Singireddy’s place called the Suncoast Vein and Vascular Clinic.
Veins are his specialty. I bit my tongue when I had the thought that a better name for the clinic would be “Veins R Us.” After all, the guy had tools in his hands… Anyway, got vein problems? Go see Dr. Singireddy.
End of Commercial Break…
But, back to this whole “phlebitis” thing. Ever hear of “varicose veins?” Well, I definitely HAVE heard of varicose veins, and I’m pretty sure my maternal grandmother had them. But again… me?
Turns out, a lot of this mess could have been a little less painful if I had gone to see someone a long time ago when I noticed that after sitting for hours that my legs would ache unbearably.
Let’s ALSO say that over the last – hmmm… 20+ years – when I’ve been largely behind a desk rather than traipsing around the Antarctic and mountains of Colorado for my work – that I had recognized that that ACHE, that deep-seated ache in my legs, was telling me to get OFF MY BUTT and move around. Maybe some of this current issue could have been avoided.
But that’s neither here nor there, is it?
Ok. As I mentioned in the introductory blog post, it’s honestly not THAT dramatic.
I DO want to get to the meat of this article. Which is this: IF YOU SIT ON YOUR TUCKUS FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME DURING THE DAY, STOP IT!
Ouch! That sounds like I’m yelling! Well, I kind of AM. I didn’t listen to my body.
My body warned me over and over and over again that I needed to stop sitting for hours at a time.
So here I am, a few years into the habit of sitting for hours on end in front of the computer. I like to think that because I enjoy going for walks and playing tennis a few times a week that I’m doing pretty well.
So why am I sitting here – writing to you now – with my leg elevated, in pretty serious pain, recovering after having had a vein lasered shut, from ankle to groin, in order to help isolate a superficial clot (phlebitis) and to treat what became a serious varicose vein?
Here’s another photo… I didn’t take one last week, because…well, my leg looked so gross, that even LOOKING at it gave me the heebie-jeebies. I am STILL getting the heebie-jeebies from looking at it.
Because, my friends, I never really DID take that “get away from your desk” advice all that seriously.
I do now. And I’m here to tell you that vein problems are NOT just something that afflict the elderly. Nor is phlebitis (as I found out the hard way).
So what now?
Well, after 2 weeks, stabbing jabs of pain from nerve damage hit at the oddest moments. I can’t feel a good part of the lower part of my leg. I still cannot play tennis. I’ve begun walking again, but not without a lot of discomfort (yeah, I know – it’s relative. I know people who will never walk again, and people who, if they CAN walk again, will never do so without excruciating pain. Believe me, I am not even remotely comparing this minor situation to someone else’s…)
But here’s the point. My issue could have been largely avoided if over these last few years I would have gotten OFF my chair every hour and done something to improve my circulation.
Look… I know that I’m writing this in a bit of a “flippant” style… But I am begging you…Please don’t take this lightly.
I don’t care if you work from home on the computer or work in cubicle answering phones. If you have to sit for more than an hour at a time, I am BEGGING you, in this post, to do something to improve your circulation. You know… having your blood circulating happily throughout your boday isn’t just a good idea. It’s kind of critical.
Since I have been able to start moving around again, I realized I needed to find SOMETHING to do for short periods of time to relieve the pressure from sitting. Just because I had a vein lasered shut doesn’t mean there aren’t OTHER veins just chomping at the bit…
I also recognize that realistically, I’m not going to hop off my chair every hour and sprint around the neighborhood.
I’m not going to run out to the tennis courts three times a day for a quick set.
And, I am NOT going to buy a treadmill or Bowflex or any other piece of home exercise equipment because 1) I don’t have the room for it, and 2) I’ve been down that road before and pieces of home exercise equipment typically become clothes racks in my house.
Thinking, also, of my friends who work in offices outside the home, in cubicles, or in educational environments, etc, I began to think, “What is realistic?”
For me, I think I’ve found it! For you, it might be different. But I’ll share my thoughts, and what I have begun to work on. And, hopefully, it will spur you on with your own ideas as to what will work for you.
I love music. I also travel seasonally, and am limited as to the type and quantity of music I can carry.
So, this morning, as I realized it was time for me to get off the chair and move around, I had an idea.
I went over to YouTube, and found a couple of upbeat-sounding tunes that I enjoy moving around to.
Then, for the first 2+ minutes of the first song (Mony Mony, by Tommy James and the Shondells – see video below!), I did some leg exercises and what I call “Karate punches” (I like to use a 2-pound weight). Because my leg is still healing, I can’t yet jump much, or kick, but at least I’m moving.
Then, for the second song – which is just under 4 minutes (Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves – see video below!), I take a footstool and simply step up and down for now (I’ll do more as my mobility increases).
So, all of a sudden, I’ve exercised and moved around for more than 5 minutes.
Then, I set the timer for another hour and do it again.
Now, granted, John may begin to tire of hearing Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells, and Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves after a while… But I’ll find more songs to vary it up!
Recognizing that many readers may not be able to just jump up and start dancing to tunes at work every hour – but, unless your boss is totally living in the dark ages, she or he will allow you a few minutes to get up, move around, and stretch for the sake of your own health (and dare I say, productivity??).
While the workplace has become more and more advanced technologically speaking, and no matter how ergonomically correct our desks and chairs may be, there is still no substitute for old-fashioned exercise, stretching, and getting our blood circulating.
There’s no “magic circulation pill” that will take the place of moving. Sure, your doctor may put you on all sorts of meds… but wouldn’t it be better if you could avoid at least some of them?
I know what the answer is for me…
Now, if you’d like to move around just a little bit, here are the two videos I’ve started using! Here’s to YOUR great health! Thanks for reading!
Tommy James and the Shondells – Mony Mony