The Adventures of the Incredible Elastic Mummy and Captain Compression Sock

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

When you're little kid and you bruise yourself, only a parent's kiss has the magical ability to heal such a serious injury.  As you grow into toddlerhood, the bruises give way to actual cuts and scrapes that require more than a simple touch of the lips.  So, mom or dad goes to the medicine drawer and pulls out the big guns: Band-Aids.  If you're a real lucky son of a bitch, you get a Band-Aid with cartoons or rainbows on them.  Considering that a 5-year old equates this procedure with spinal surgery, Band-Aids go on to fix the vast majority of childhood aches and pains.

This was true for me as well until age 11, when during the final moments of soccer practice, I sprained my ankle.  Oh the humanity.  To me, it felt as if my leg had been stung by a horde of poisonous wasps, hell-bent on recreating Macaulay Culkin's final scene in My Girl. My mom could clearly see the extent of my injury as the subtle limp I entered the house with had now been upgraded to a full on pirate swagger.  I sat there wondering if my mother was having the same sneaking suspicion that I was: They might have to chop off the leg.

Turns out my mother was not at all worried about the perils of having a pre-teen with a prosthetic.  While a charley horse might feel like the furthest extent of the pain index to an 11-year-old, it is one of the very few medical conditions that you actually can "walk off".  Of course to insinuate such a notion to me would be parental suicide.  I mean, what 11-year-old doesn't love his greatest physical pain being minimized by his closest attachment figure.  And so, the end all be all in parental home medical care is taken down from the top shelf of the medicine cabinet and unveiled.  Inside my mother's palm rests a real, professional grade, Ace bandage with two metal butterfly fasteners.  It was just like the basketball players wear!!!

I lay down on the bed as my mother began wrapping the "affected area" in concentric circles of elastic beige. As she weaved around my ankle and up from under my foot, I could already feel the power of the bandage begin soothing my achey-non-breaky ankle.  Doctor mom said that after a few more days of fake limping around the house I should feel as good as new.  And wouldn't you know it, she was right.

As you might expect, I used that particular Ace bandage for a number of different maladies that I succumbed to over the years.  I wore it on my elbow, thigh, wrist, forearm, and I believe I once even used it to keep an bag of ice in place atop my head.   Perhaps the reason that I only broke my nose (3 times), and never an extremity, was due to the fact that my schnoz was the only piece of me never to be hugged in the ever-loving protection of an Ace bandage.

If as a child I had created a superhero alter-ego a la Quail Man, it would definitely have been "The Incredible Elastic Mummy".  I would wrap my entire body in as many Ace bandages as I could horde without my parents finding out, and then run around town fighting crime and saving communities with my powers of binding unrelated objects together and virtual invincibility.  Maybe I would even cruise around with a my sidekick "Captain Compression Sock".  He gives great hugs.
This kid knows what I'm talking about
Of course, eventually even the Ace bandage becomes as ineffective as its Band Aid and mother's kiss predecessors. Notably, when my spinal disk slipped out of place and onto my sciatic nerve, my arm convulsed toward the pain killers and muscle relaxants well before I thought to squeeze myself into an elastic girdle (though on second thought, perhaps that may have helped quell some of the miserable pain).  I also went with the eye patch during my corneal troubles over the more obvious fix of wrapping half of my face in beige gauze.  That one was probably a good call.

Frankly, I miss the simpler days when Ace bandages were the chemo to all of my life's cancers.  I miss the days when my ails could all be fixed externally and compressing problems could make them go away.  Hell, I'd settle for one of those modern compression sleeves if it  cured nagging maladies like asthma or eczema.   But seriously, I remember the days of my exaggerated limping as some of the best of my childhood.   I mean, those days really were ace.

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