Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Timeline Of A Cast

When E3 broke her arm, after the x-ray, the nurses at urgent care put a splint on it. It was some sort of space-age gauze that they activated with water and then strapped to her arm with an Ace bandage. The gauze hardened upon drying, which provided support to the broken arm.

This was my first experience with any sort of cast. Somewhere during that week, it occurred to me that in order to put a cast on her arm they would have to remove the splint. I wondered how painful that would be...would it be like the night she broke it, or would it have already stabilized itself somehow? Four days and a lot of anti-inflammatory meds later I found out that it would be almost more uncomfortable for me than it was for her.

Our family doctor removed the splint and began to examine her arm...he bent her wrist, he squeezed her arm, he turned her hand. Bend. SQUEEZE. Turn. BEND. SQUEEZE. TURN...E3 whimpered where necessary, and I...well, I started to sweat and get tunnel vision.
I'm familiar enough with situational fainting to recognize the symptoms, so when I started to sweat and feel thirsty and generally light-headed I asked for a drink of water...

Me (with E3 on my lap): Could I get a drink of water?

Nurse: Sure!

Dr R (darts eyes to my face): You doing okay?

Me: I'm much better now that you're not squeezing on her arm!
Apparently I try to be funny when my mind is freaking out.

I tried to pull myself together, and eventually set E3 down on the exam table, got myself another drink of water, and sat behind her instead (she wanted me to sit by her)...but it was no use. I finally stood up, said, "This is ridiculous!" and sat in a chair with my head between my knees. The nurse requested that I lie on the floor if I felt like I was going to pass out, to which I assured, "Oh, believe me I will!"

Because, you know, this has happened before. Back when I was in high school and my sister was in a car accident... She had minor injuries, thank goodness, but we still had to pick her up at the emergency room, where she was on a gurney covered with a blanket, and she started telling us what she remembered about the accident, and how she thought she blacked out...and as I sat on the doctor's stool listening I started to get light-headed...reportedly, I said something like, "I don't feel so good", before passing out...then the stool rolled out from under me and my head bounced off the emergency room floor.

Nothing says caring concern like coming-around to the view of your sister laughing at you from up on the hospital gurney.
What can I say? I've watched too many hospital shows and I've borne three children; my imagination has a vast library to draw upon, in detail! This time though, the Dr. made the preemptive strike of picking up my daughter (who had just started getting her cast applied) and ordering me over to the table. They finished casting her arm while I was flat-out on the table with my head lowered and my feet raised.
We celebrated by decorating her non-colored, non-swim-friendly, cast with colored Sharpies.

Halfway through her arm's one-month term the cast started looking a little rough around the edges.

Literally, rough around the edges.

I learned early on that we needed to be vigilant with cleaning her fingers - especially in between. SQUICK!

Finally, the day came when the cast would be removed. Cast Away Day (which confused a friend that does a lot of sailing - he wanted to know where we were going)!
We returned to the scene of the crime! While waiting for the doctor to return I convinced E3 to let me snap some final pictures. She was reluctant- probably because of the condition of the cast.

A mystery stain by the heart I drew.

She moved in this next one, so you can't see how the fiberglass was chipping away up at the tippy top...or the general filthiness of the palm of the cast.

There was even grubbiness up by the elbow area.
I wasn't too concerned about a repeat of previous events. Nearly everyone we spoke with, who had also had a 'cast experience', talked of the STANK of a newly removed cast. Her cast was already growing smelly - built in smelling salts for any moments a delicate flower like myself might get the vapors! No worries though, I held it together with no trouble.
The doctor took E3 to a sink so she could give her arm a preliminary soap wash, and we were out the door...with the advisement that she shouldn't put any weight on it for another two weeks because, "If she trips and catches herself with that hand? It'll probably pop."
I was very close to begging for another cast.
Instead, we celebrated with Happy Meals (conveniently located next to the Dr's office), and headed home to a Daisy Scout meeting, and (FINALLY!) a shower (after a month of baths) with a shower poof!

See you later cast-igator.

1 comment:

Glenda said...

I, too, have never had experience with casts . . . and if I never do you won't see me complaining!

Her cast was really cool looking; different than I remember casts looking.

My favorite picture is the one with the fake fingertips -- I had to do a second take LOL.

Glad the cast is gone :).