Making compression socks and climbing compatible

Well, I got fitted at the VA for some compression socks today due to the swelling in my ankles (my injured ankle swells more than my other one, but they both swell).  The compression socks they gave me feel fantastic, but they require this bulky metal contraption to put on, and no, not the kind you fold up and put in your pocket.  Am I taking this thing to the climbing gym with me?  Or better yet, to the crag that has the 45 minute approach???  NO.  So how am I going to make compression socks compatible with climbing?  I’m having a real crisis, here.  Those long approaches are definitely exactly what I need the compression socks for, but when I get to the crag and have to take them off to put my climbing shoes on, and then have to try to get the compression socks back on between crags and climbs?!  I can’t really see this happening…  Well, I can see horrific visions of scared people standing around an almost-37-year-old wondering what on earth I’m trying to accomplish with the stretchy white tubes and contortionistic positions up at the crag while either dialing 911 or recording the scene with their cell phones for later gone-viral YouTube and Facebook video posts that might later make it onto the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.  That’s exactly what I CAN see.

So I called my psychiatrist, who used to be a family practice physician before he became a psychiatrist, for help with this problem.  I asked him how I could reconcile compression socks with climbing.  “What?” he asked, in disbelief.  “You’re wearing compression socks?  Like compression stockings?  Why are you wearing compression stockings?”  I told him that I’d been fitted for them today and about the contraption to put them on with and so on.  “Like a big frame thing?  But why are you wearing them?”  I explained that I had been put back on the medication that caused the ankle swelling and that my primary care physician wanted to try compression socks for the swelling in my ankles, so he had set me up to get fitted with them today at Occupational Therapy.  “Well, we know it’s [that medication] causing the swelling.  But he’s worried about the aches and pains, I guess, huh?  Hmm.  Well…”  He paused.  “Here’s what I know.  I know that it helps you to climb.  So, I would take them off, go climbing, then put them back on after you get back home.  I don’t think your legs are going to be happy in compression socks all day long, anyway.  Just take them off, climb, put them back on when you get home…so you don’t scare anybody.”  We both laughed.  Okay, so that’s how you make compression socks compatible with climbing…

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