Compression garments. Burn survivors either hate them or love them.
The first time the occupational therapist introduced me to them, it took me around 40 minutes just to wear them on my legs and hands. So hot and tight. It felt like I was wrestling, and the compression garments won the match. Taking off was another struggle. I hated them.
Feeling weak, I would sometime give up and refuse to wear them. Occasionally, there were small patches of blood soaking through the pressure garment, an indication that my skin was still raw and had not stabilise yet.
I remember giving a bunch of excuses when the occupational therapist caught me not wearing them. “It’s too tight” or “My skin is breaking down at that area”. I would inform her.
She would look at me disapprovingly, “you need to wear them for 23 hours a day”.
What? You must be kidding. Unfortunately, the occupational therapist was not joking.
I only began to seriously put them on after looking at some photos of other burn survivors whose scars flatten after wearing compression garments for a few years. A few burn survivors even told me that they grew to love their compression garments. What? Really?? Sounds unbelievable. By then, my keloids and scars were red and puffy looking.
My compression shirt
My compression gloves
My compression pants
The weather in Malaysia is another challenge. It is hot and humid most of the time. I prefer to stay close to air-condition places. At home, the air-conditioner is being switched on most of the time. With my compression garments beneath my normal clothes, sometimes I feel like a wrapped fish gasping for air. As some of my sweat glands are not functioning because of the burn, I overheat easily from the inside. It is an uncomfortable feeling, like hot steam rising but unable to find an exit.
As I wore my pressure garments daily, I slowly increased the hours of wearing them. Previously, I couldn’t sleep with my compression garment. I used to take them off whenever I slept. However, as time goes by, I got used to sleeping with them. As my skin becomes more stable, my tolerance for them grew too.
As days goes by, it becomes easier and faster to wear them. It is not a tedious chore anymore. I even requested and paid for new compression garments. They now become like a second skin.
Thankfully, I have reached the stage of loving them. They have become a part of my daily routine.
When I saw my plastic doctor 2 weeks ago, she commented that most of my keloids and hypertrophic scarring looks flatten.
“Most patients are not compliant, some even refuses to wear compression garments,” she said.
Ahhhh… I wonder what she would say if she knew the truth.
Popular posts from this blog
The birth of Patrick changed my marriage life from the two of us to the three of us, a family. We were excited, happy, worried followed by all kind of emotions for our baby son. So many things to learn, to experience. Breastfeeding, constant thoughts on our baby's well being especially when his jaundice appeared to rise during his first month. The lacking of sleep. There were moments I observed his breathing while he slept. We were amazed by every new mannerisms that Patrick displayed. We were so charmed when he first smiled to us. I would observed how gently my husband would treat Patrick and how Patrick would looked up to him, listening to his every word. Mummy supporting and loving baby We were enjoying ourselves as new parents until something happened in the middle of November 2017 that changed our lives forever. "There is something not right with his stools." My sister in law remarked to me while I tiredly changed Patrick's diapers. Menta
I have been encouraged by Cordelia Lee to explore my creative side, she has inspired me to use poetry as a form of self-expression. I find that poetry allows me to express myself in a different way. Though I have to admit, it is still a struggle for me to find the words to express myself. Recently, I was moved for the first time to submit my poetry for an anthology http://www.singlitstation.com/thousandcranes . (Image of poster taken from singlitstation.com) The theme and subject matter somewhat speak to me. The topic of coping with illnesses and death can be a taboo topic and yet all of us will die one day. On the other hand, if we were given a life of immortality without pain and suffering, can we truly live? Will we appreciate our moments in life and the opportunities given to us? Or do we feel empty without a purpose? Indeed, this is not an easy question to answer. I felt good after writing the poem. It gave me a different outlet to express m
I looked at his pale face and frail body on the hospital bed. Lines and tubes on his legs and neck. There was a bag at the right side with yellowish looking water inside. The liquid was not urine but water which had to be pumped out from his stomach cavity. It was difficult to see someone whom you have known since young to look so weak. He had lost weight and aged considerably. It was the second day of Chinese New Year. My sister and I took a trip down to Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives. We visited a cousin at the High Dependency Unit, he had liver cancer and was complaining of diarrhea. Visiting hours were 11.30am to 1.30am and 5.30pm to 7.30pm. We had to take turns going in as only 2 guests at a time are allowed. Despite having the experience of a prolonged stay at the hospital and being immobile, I was tongue tied. I didn’t know what to say or how to comfort him. I could only share with him of my previous struggle at the hospital. On our second visit bef