Of Varicose Veins and Other Pitfalls of (Gasp!) Advancing Age


When a bunch of women past their thirties usually gather around, the topic invariably leads to beauty. More specifically, it’s usually about the attainment, the preservation or restoration of the above. How to get toned abs, how to get rid of wrinkles, how to regain that youthful glow… Naysayers might dismiss this as wishful thinking but still, we women dare to hope against hope. No topic is ever too sacred in the sisterhood.

On one particular day, somehow, varicose veins became the topic du jour. I was at the nurses’ station with some co-workers when the talk veered towards support stockings, the nurses’ weapon in the fight against varicose veins. Apparently, there were some nurses who wore them and others who didn’t. I love my support stockings, also called TEDs, and I never hesitate to declare my allegiance to them. “I don’t think I can last a twelve-hour shift without them,” I always say.

Another nurse echoed my sentiment. “Girl, I love my TEDs. I wear them knee-high, but I’d wear thigh-highs every time if I could.”

“Really?” I said. “I love knee- highs, but thigh-highs are too much. They keep rolling down, and I have to keep pulling them back up again. Way too much work.”

She replied, “It’s not so much that I like to wear them. It’s more because I need to wear them. I have really bad varicose veins.”

“Really?” I said. I looked at her. She was attractive, fair-skinned and relatively young. I said, “You don’t look like you need them, especially those thigh-highs.”

“Girl, believe me. My varicose veins are really bad. They reach all the way up here.” She rolled up one leg of her scrubs almost all the way up to one thigh, exposing a network of thick, tortuous and swollen blue veins that snaked from her ankle to the back of her thigh. Whoa! She wasn’t kidding when she said they were bad!

“Mine, too,” volunteered another nurse, hiking up one leg of her scrubs to reveal a combo of varicose and spider veins. “I used to have pretty legs, but now, I am too embarrassed to wear shorts.”

It soon became a twisted version of adult show-and-tell. I was bombarded with the exposure of one varicose vein after another. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I realized that one of our doctors was at the station with us. I felt sorry for him. Poor fellow! It was possible that he was an unwilling audience to all this female madness. He had his back towards us, scribbling away. I am sure he heard most of our exchange, and was probably squirming in his seat, trying to find a graceful exit out of the situation without embarrassing anyone.

I tapped him playfully on the shoulder. “Doctor,” I warned him. “Don’t look behind you. You may not like what you see.”

This warning did not faze him. Instead, he immediately turned around, and like a naughty schoolboy, gleefully asked, “What did I miss? What did I miss?”

We found this unexpected response amusing. He was such a good sport.

The show-and-tell thankfully over, I got up to check on my patient. As I was rounding the corner, the said doctor asked me, with a playful twinkle in his eye, “Emma, can I see your varicose veins?” (I was the only one earlier who prudently refrained from showing my legs.)

“Oh, no, Doctor,” I protested in mock horror. “Let me assure you, that is not something you want to see!”

He chuckled good-naturedly at my response.

That day, as I slipped out of my hospital scrubs into my street clothes, I reflected on the pitfalls associated with growing old. Aside from varicose veins, there are receding hairlines, expanding waistlines and sagging, possibly non-functioning body parts to contend with. The daughters of Eve are also especially prone to stretch marks, dimpled behinds and diet-resistant cellulite. This fact makes me grateful to whoever invented clothing to cover nature’s shortcomings. If not for clothes, I dread to think how many fig leaves would have to be sacrificed in the name of good taste to cover my ample proportions!

On the other hand, maybe it might be a good idea for clothing to be optional. Then maybe we can do away with mug shots and DNA tests, and instead identify people based on their network of varicose veins or the configuration of their cellulite. I am sure that bedimpled butt prints are just as distinct as any individual thumbprint. I’m willing to bet my sweet cheeks on that!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. balot freires
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 19:02:47

    Em,ug sa binisaya pa mura ug mga wirings sa koryente sa ato nga samok kaayu!!!!hahaha..


  2. emmblu
    Apr 01, 2011 @ 09:54:08

    Sakto gyud ka, Balot. Mura sad wati nga blue-blooded…

    Other likes and comments copied and pasted from Facebook:
    Rene, Harold, Michael, Maricor and Pena like this…
    Pena : What’s the alternative to aging? Tuesday at 4:29am ·
    Emma : The only alternative to aging that I know of is to die young. That being said, then I embrace growing old with open arms. I just hope I can do so as gracefully and as painlessly as possible. Tuesday at 9:52am ·
    Harold : I’m still in the state of denial… Tuesday at 5:21pm ·
    Emma :Whether we admit it or not, we are all just soldiers in this battle of the bulge, this war against visible signs of aging, and the fight against gravity. Sooner or later, one side is bound to win ;} Yesterday at 4:40am ·


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