Solaris Ready Wrap Compression Garments
Pros: Solaris Ready Wrap Compression Garments are easy to put on, machine washable and dryable, and hold up for about a year before they need to be replaced.
- Compression garments cost a lot and are generally not covered by health insurance.
- Like any other medical product that relies on Velcro, the fasten points wear out within several months. However, I lengthen their life substantially with a sweater shaver.
There is a Yiddish phrase that translates to “you should never know from it.” It’s typically inserted when discussing the effects of a chronic condition the speaker has – regardless of the severity of it. Example:
“My skin is so dry and itchy – you should never know from it!”
The above example usually leads to a one-upmanship battle between the speaker and audience. It escalates until one has the ultimate malady or it’s time to go home.
Ironically, when one has a condition that deserves the phrase, he learns to live with it because that’s what his doctors have prescribed. Why complain? Will it help? No. Then shvayg (shut up).
Such is the condition I have, Lymph Edema (sometimes spelled as one word or abbreviated to LE). In my case, LE is a congenital disorder with adolescent onset. I inherited it from my mother’s side of the family. However, LE can also be the side effect of a mastectomy or any surgery involving the lymph nodes. It can occur in the arms or legs in any combination. It all depends on which lymph nodes are damaged, missing, or never really worked in the first place. The major symptom is obvious – swelling of the affected limb. For me, that is both legs. I’ve seen photos of variations that scared the hell out of me when I first looked into possible treatment. That is a long story to be told elsewhere.
Over the years, I’ve done everything from nothing to a three-week bandaging treatment – also, a long story to be told elsewhere. The day-to-day treatment to control swelling is called a “compression garment.” That can mean anything from a tight elastic stocking to LE wraps. These things are not cheap – nor does any health insurance plan cover them unless the LE resulted from surgery.
About four years ago, I graduated from the $198 compression stockings to LE wraps. Wraps come in several pieces so that they can adapt to each person’s situation. Each piece is made of felt-like strips that secure with Velcro for a tight fit in the front. The back is a reinforced spine. The first set prescribed for me was dismal. Because the swelling had crept up over my knees, the initial attempt was to wrap me to the crotch. Being a meaty Size 24, my thighs refused to cooperate. The thigh wraps unraveled into a puddle at my feet when I first tried to stand up. The prosthetic store, which looked like a boutique to the naked eye, decided to fit me for foot and calf in a wrap made by Farrow, with a price tag of about $1400. The Velcro quickly wore out, forcing me to medical tape to fortify them. I was still working at the time, and the emergency trips to the restroom for my many wardrobe malfunctions were not popular.
My physical therapist recommended another set made by Solaris called Ready Wrap. I went back to the boutique for a new measuring, and within a two or three weeks, I had my Ready Wraps. Had I not gone through the horror of Farrow’s mess, I might not have appreciated the step up with Ready Wraps.
Life had returned to semi-normal the moment I saw the Ready Wraps. To begin with, the wraps are black instead of that medicinal “Band-Aid Beige” that the other wraps and compression stockings came in. The Velcro is color-coded. You always have both ends of the same strip – no accidental crisscrossing. The strips hold the Velcro tight much longer than the Farrow wraps. For those who need (and can tolerate) compression up to the crotch, there is a knee piece and a thigh piece. Because the fabric is a fuzzy kind of felt, I can use a sweater shaver to freshen up the grip. The icing on the cake – they cost a fraction of what Farrow wraps cost.
When we moved to Nevada, I was concerned about getting my next set (they should be replaced annually. I went to the physical therapist my new insurance covered (here, LE patients are treated under the Wound Care specialty). I told her that I needed to find a way to continue getting Ready Wraps when the set I have is ready for replacement. She was one smart cookie. She found Solaris Ready Wraps on Amazon, sold as separates. This allowed me to buy them over four months instead of having to get them all at once, the way I had to get them from the boutique.
Pricing for each piece tends to stay the same over time, varying only by a dollar or two each year. Each piece includes a knee-high liner that protects the skin from possible abrasion. The pieces I buy are foot pieces, sold in right and left sizes, $55.50 each and calf pieces at $93.05 each. The knee and thigh pieces are $69.50 and $145.05, respectively. Extra liners can be purchased for $20.05 per pair.
I won’t pretend that they’re the height of fashion. I’ll never have pretty legs or fit in trendy shoes, but Ready Wraps give me the best compression and are so much easier to wear than the other options out there. If ever there is a cure that will let me go bare-legged (especially in the summer, I’ll be first in line! In the meantime, where are the maxi-dresses?