Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lymphedema Post-Op Instructions—Compression—Swimming—Compression

Professor Campisi is very explicit about his post-op instructions.

"You must swim everyday. You must use the pump twice a day and more if possible. One hour in the morning and two hours in the evening. Try to use the pump at the lunch also. Do this for six months."

Surgery for lymphedema is a very precise and delicate surgery. Professor makes it very clear in broken English that surgery can be done only once.

"What if there are complications?" I ask.

"There will be no complications if you follow my directions." He says in an insistent and forceful voice. I've noticed Italians get excited about a lot of things but even I admit that not following his rules would be disastrous. After-all, I live in the United States and he's — well, he's in Genoa, Italy. Somehow I don't think Skype would be effective for an office visit. So, I'm following his rules.

I wake up early (for me) and pump for an hour while checking my email. I'm then off to swim for an hour at the local athletic club but not before I visit the nearby Starbucks for a cuppa. Coffee does wonders for my swim stroke, although I must admit the coffee doesn't hold a candle to Italian coffee. I don't care if I don't get to sit down in the coffee shops in Italy, it's worth standing up with the locals for a good cup of coffee.

At the athletic club, I swim back and forth and use the kick board and my hand paddlers. I'm only missing a floaty toy. And for God's sake I have to remember to step in the shower before jumping in the pool or one of the 'sitters' will get after me. It's been know to happen. Apparently the people who sit in the chairs watching the swimmers have nothing better to do than make sure the swimmers follow the rules. Sheesh.

"Did you take a shower? You just got out of the steamer. You sweat don't you?" Said a very cantankerous sitter.

"I'm on my way old dude, I'm a rule follower you know." My sarcastic voice totally goes right past him.

"Thank you." He says.

Shit, now I feel bad. Why can't I follow the rules like everyone else? Well, at least I'm following Professor Campisi's rules.  Only two more hours of compression pump for today and six thousand hours for the next six months, however in this case, following the doctors orders is paying off. My leg is slowly shrinking day by day.