Friday, November 17, 2006

A big pink cast redux: A big purple cast

Yesterday I made a trip back to the orthopedist. Can you believe its been four whole weeks since this misery was first unleashed upon my foot and calf? I can't either. Feels more like 3 months.

Anyhow, it was very exciting because when I came in they took me directly to the 'casting room'. This is the room in which the misery was stored before it got all over my leg. More importantly, it is the room in which the scary cast removing saw lives. Hope! Joy! The doctor came in and busted out the saw and removed my cast. He promised that the saw wasn't going to cut off my leg (and actually a nice asian postdoc at work who doubles as an orthopedic surgeon explained to me how the saw wasn't going to cut off my leg - it vibrates back and forth, not around in a circle like it looks like. When it gets to the gauzy stuff under the fiberglass it gets stuck) but actually, it was fairly freaky and I had a hard time watching because I was sure this was all going to end in a huge torrent of blood. He cut the top off for me so that I could save all my cast drawings. And then my leg was free of its big pink prison!!

Oh, it was a joyous moment. Behold all the dark and very long leg hairs that had grown since the cast was installed. Take in the horrendous odor that comes from basically having worn the same pair of socks for 4 weeks nonstop. Wonder at how thin my calf has gotten while the muscle wastes away. I got to sit there for a while and admire my leg while they set up the X-ray. Then someone came in and loaded me into a wheelchair to take me down to the X-ray room. Good thing I was wheeled down there, because the casted foot was actually not super keen on being stood on. It felt a little bit like my foot had been asleep and now I was trying to put my weight on it. They took all the X-rays while I was still sitting in the wheelchair (covered with 800 layers of lead shielding to protect Studs). The sole of my foot started to feel all wierd and tingly. A little bit again like my foot had been asleep and was waking up, but not totally. The nurse said that a lot of people say that after they have a cast taken off.

Oh, my joy was short lived because after the X-rays the doctor came back in and asked me what color cast I wanted this time. I thought about making a run for it, but they had apparently ensured that my foot would be in no shape for running. So I picked purple this time. Its a lot darker than the pink, so not something that I can get any cast illustrations on. Bummer. Not that I really thought I'd be getting rid of the cast for good, I knew I had 6-8 weeks in my fiberglass prison. But taking off the cast was a big tease.

He said that my foot was healing fine and that he'd like to keep the cast on for 4 more weeks, but that he realized that I might want it off for when I was giving birth to Studs. So he told me he'd take it off in three weeks, on December 7. At 11:40 am. Countdown!! I still won't be able to be completely castless at that time, but he's going to give me something removable then. That will be bearable. All I want is to be able to scratch my leg at will. Oh, and maybe bathe my leg. It sounds like this bone is a) slow to heal and b) easily reinjured if not fully healed when casts etc. are removed. I guess because you're putting all of your weight on it, and I'm putting a lot more weight on it now than I used to be. My department chair at work broke the same bone and had a removable cast type thing on for 6-8 weeks, but he ended up re-breaking it at some point during that time and they had to put the pin in after all.

Unfortunately my new cast requires the same getting-used-to-it period that my old cast did. The old one had gotten a bit loose because my leg had gotten so much thinner. That was nice because I was able to contort my body around inside of it to try to scratch itches, and I could get most of my palm down the side to scratch things that were higher up my leg. Not so the new cast - it was made to fit my new, thinner leg, so I'm lucky if I can get one finger in there. Bugger. So I was up a lot last night trying to get to sleep, which happened for a few days after I got the first one. He said that my leg would continue to get thinner and that it probably wouldn't be so tight in a couple of days, which is something to look forward to.

Soooooo... mark your calendars! December 7th is the day when I'll be able to scratch my leg at will!!


Karl Broman said...

I recall the fear of the cast-removing saw. I'm glad to now understand how the thing works.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could devise some kind of modified wire hanger contraption for scratching itches down there... like a really thin back-scratcher doo-hicky.

Lisa said...

Oh, believe me. I have a wide array of itching devices at my disposal. At work, I have a pink magic wand with a star on the end that someone gave me for my birthday. That works well, but its not quite long enough and the wand part is wood, so it doesn't get around leg curves too well. At home, the best things I've found are all these cat toys we have which are like a bunch of feathers on the end of a flexy plastic stick. The plastic stick is good. One of them was the best because the cats had been chewing on the end of it, so it was all textured and better at scratching.

As you can tell, I've put a lot of thought into this!