8/1/2013 11:34 AM
By Clare Almand
I’m not a huge fan of summer. Before you crucify me, hear me out—I like warm weather, sure. But I hate sweating. Sweating is gross. So to somewhat alleviate the summer heat, especially New York City summer heat, I try to wear light clothing that covers enough but is still the of the tank-top-and-shorts variety. And then just when I think I’m looking pretty good, I realize that I have purple bruises everywhere.
And I mean everywhere. I’ve bruised hips, ankles, knees, calves, thighs, and sides. I’ve even gotten a bruise on the back of my shoulder where it meets my armpit. How does one even bruise there? That’s the worst part—I have no idea how I got 90% of those purple eyesores. Is it just the Coumadin? Or is that just making the bruises that I have anyway a little worse? Do I have extra sensitive skin? Am I sleepwalker, bumping into walls and furniture in my apartment all night? Not that I want another issue to deal with, but that would actually be a reasonable explanation.
The real question I have is, how unsightly are they? Do I look like I’m getting beaten up? I’m not going to cover up because you don’t like that big blue splotch on my calf, but I certainly don’t want people to think that I was repeatedly kicked in the leg and I’m not hopelessly and helplessly trudging back to the person who provided the abuse.
I blame blood thinners for the bruising, but that’s not my only gripe about the summer. Traveling: I love it, but I rarely get to do it, at least by plane. This summer I went on this amazing Canadian adventure with my parents and brother to visit my cousins. I actually really like flying, and maybe my excitement for the flight was aided by the fact I hadn’t flown in five years, but I really couldn’t wait to get to the airport.
After checking in, I’d say the worst part is waiting in line for the security check. I always feel a little weird about telling the security personnel that I have an ICD and I can’t go through the metal detector, especially because I actually think that my ICD is safe for metal detectors. But after being told for 13 years that I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GO THROUGH A METAL DETECTOR WITH A PACEMAKER, I’m a little terrified to try it.
Again, I try to travel wearing a tank top and shorts for a couple of reasons. 1) So my scars are visible enough to show that I’m not making this up and 2) there’s less clothing to go over during the always-awkward pat down. Just another perk of this whole congenital heart disease thing. But then again, it beats a cavity search.
Clare Almand was born with Shone’s syndrome and has undergone a repair for coarctation of the aorta, multiple atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect repairs, aortic valve replacement and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. She has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing from James Madison University. Clare works at a TV production company and writes screenplays in her spare time.
Copyright ©2013 ACHA
3 comment(s) so far...
By Sarah O on
8/1/2013 12:45 PM
Re: Summer Woes
I share your angst about bruising. When I got home from a trip, our dog was so happy and wagging her tail so hard that when she hit my leg, it left a 4"x 1" bruise. If I was still a child, I think a teacher would have called CPS long ago.
Also, I have an ICD and go through the metal detector and am fine. My doctor told me I just can't be scanned with the wand. (So I'm extra careful to not set off the metal detector to avoid the pat down.)
By Joanna Kelley on
8/2/2013 8:20 AM
Re: Summer Woes
I'm sure the bruising is the Coumadin. My Dad had to take Coumadin for many years and he used to get some serious bruising over the smallest thing. Ever since I had my VSD repaired close to 12 years ago, I perspire like mad. It's so embarrassing. People keep asking me if I am O.K. and I am like: "Well, I had heart surgery a while back, but I am O.K." I am not sure they believe me and that does sound sort of ridiculous when I think about it. I have taken to wearing a hat so it isn't quite as obvious. It doesn't help that I have fine blonde hair, either. I have actually told my hair dresser to cut it short in a haircut that looks good wet. To make matters worse, I live in Florida.
By Clare Almand on
8/5/2013 8:47 AM
Re: Summer Woes
Sarah- I think it's time I try the metal detectors. Why get pat down or get that weird body scan thing? (I tried that, too.) And I knew about steering clear of the wand, but I should probably be more careful still.
Joanna - I feel your pain! I sweat so much--definitely more than the average person. I know it's the fact that my heart has to work harder than everyone else's to get me where I'm going, but no one else knows that. So I look gross and everyone thinks I have some kind of perspiration problem. I have short hair now too, and as a result it makes all the back sweat through my shirt more visible for everyone. But what are you gonna do?