So, really, it was pretty ridiculous....
There I was, just a few days out of extremely invasive elbow surgery -- open capsular release with transposition of the ulnar nerve, if you really need to know -- and my heavily wrapped elbow and I were sitting down with a cup of coffee, about to turn on Morning Joe on MSNBC.
But the channel selector was on something else from the night before, probably a network that had a hockey game on, but now it had an infomercial. And the infomercial was all about compression sleeves that aid mobility. And at that moment they were focused on elbows. And at that moment, if I believed in higher powers controlling TV channels, I would have bought right into the notion that this infomercial was on there specifically for me.
Oh yeah, just to push the mounting over-the-top-ness of it all to the breaking point, Montel Williams was hawking the stuff.
It's called Tommie Copper gear.
They showed compression sleeves for (almost) every body part. Elbows, knees, wrists, shoulders (via a shirt), ankles, calves, fingers, wrists. And of course they had guys my age, formerly hampered with mobility issues, leaping around like some sort of faith healer had performed a miracle on them. But nothing of the sort was afoot. Rather, their newfound mobility was all thanks to Tommie Copper.
I was skeptical to the point of laughing.
But I was also a little susceptible to the wily ways of the infomercial at the time. I knew a few things: (1) mobility was my friend; I was supposed to get this arm moving as soon as possible; (2) I wasn't mobile at all at the time; (3) my arm was swollen as hell with fluid, so compression sounded like a good idea, but heavy compression sounded uncomfortable, and so the advertised "light"-feel of this stuff sounded appealing; (4) they were also claiming that copper, infused into the material of the sleeve, aided in healing.
Honestly, that last bit sounded ridiculous. But I liked the other points. I figured the combo of the reduced swelling and increased mobility, if true, was worth the price. The copper-based healing? Uhhhh, whatever. If true, cool, but I wasn't gonna hold my breath on that one.
So I ordered. I ordered two. I figured that if it worked, I was going to need to wear it a lot, so cleanliness issues would arise if I only owned one.
Plus Montel promised me free shipping if I ordered two. I virtually patted his bald noggin for good luck and hit "purchase" on the interwebs.
A few days later, my sleeves arrived. At that point, my elbow was still really swollen, and the stitches were in. I put on one of the sleeves, and....
Holy juicy elbows, Batman. Fluid started draining out like crazy. I ended up swapping the sleeves out every few hours for the first few days. Swelling went down, and the arm just plain felt better with the sleeve on. It drained so much fluid out that I had to actually stop wearing it for a few days so the wound would close fully. Then I started up again. 24 hours a day or as close as I could to that.
I kept wearing them. And, invariably, it feels better with the sleeve on. The swelling is way down now -- almost two months out of surgery-- but if I sleep without the sleeve, I wake up with a stiff, painful arm at some point. If I use the sleeve, mobility is better. If I use it at the gym, it feels better. If I forget it, it feels worse.
So, what's the deal? I have no idea, but I like it. Is the copper actually promoting healing? I have no idea, but my surgeon and my physical therapist tell me I am way ahead of schedule on mobility increases and pain decreases.
I *can* tell you this: the compression aspect of this thing is wonderful. It has a light feel to it, but is clearly compressing the area, and I can move so much better with it on. Drumming, weightlifting, whatever. It is all better with the sleeve on, in terms of mobility. And pain is way down with it on. It is, dare I say, *soothing* to wear the thing.
But, seriously, I have no idea if the copper part of it is doing anything. On the other hand, the only way to find out would be to swap it out for some tighter, non-coppery one, and, um, no thanks. I like this one.
So.... All I can say is that if I were having surgery again, I would wear one of these on the surgical area, post-op, assuming my doc was cool with it. Everything is better with it on.
Thanks, TC. It was a good purchase.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad