Saturday, March 20, 2010
Cast Number 1
48 hours after I broke my leg (actually the distal portion of my fibula), I was to return to the urgent care facility and exchange the temporary cast (thick gauze, tensor bandage and a hardened piece of gauze along the back portion of my leg and up to my toes) for a fiberglass cast.
Thankfully, my mother was here in town to drive me to the urgent care facility and also support me during the procedure. I had a feeling they would have to reset my bone and I was prepared for the pain I would have to endure.
It is amazing the things you get to look forward to once you've broken your leg. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but to me, it was exciting to learn that I got to choose my own colour for the cast. The physician who was going to apply the cast told me that I could choose from orange, blank, red, blue, bright green or purple. I already knew the colours in advance (again, it was something I was looking forward to) and I immediately told the physician that purple is my favourite colour, so I would like a purple cast. He offered to be creative-apparently at Halloween time, he likes to do orange and black casts. At Christmas time, he does red and green casts. He suggested a boot like cast-where it was black at the bottom up to my ankle and then another bright colour. He would make my cast look like a shoe and a sock. I stuck with my all purple cast.
I was right, the physician informed me that he would have to set my foot while they applied the cast. As the physician pushed against my foot in order to ensure it was at a 90' angle, I tried to keep quiet, but it was hard not to scream! I think it was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
The physician and intern finally stopped bending my foot back when either the physician had enough of my hysterics or they thought my foot was at a 90' angle. With one of them holding my foot, the physician applied first a sockette (a thin tubing that lay directly onto my foot/ leg), then heavy gauze, and then finally the wet purple roll of fiberglass. The cast started just below my toes up to about 5' from my knee cap. At my toes and at the top of the cast, they turned over the gauze and the thin sockette to form a cushion in between the fibreglass and my leg.
The cast was a lot heavier than the original temporary cast and my ankle/leg was screaming with pain.
I left with a prescription for Tylenol2s (since the original suggestion of ibuprofen was not helping the pain) and a referral to see an Orthopedic Surgeon in two weeks time. When I heard that the orthopedic surgeon was a physician that I work with, I was thrilled.
Dr. P is a very thorough physician but also one who has fantastic bed side manner. I remember one evening shift, Dr. P came onto the unit and he showed me the pictures he had on his digital camera of various surgeries he had performed. It was amazing that he would have pictures of a foot amputation surgery, then he would have a picture of him with his cousins, then back to pictures of foot/ankle surgeries! Whenever he came onto the unit, he always wore jeans but he was always friendly with the staff and often he would take the time to explain medical issues with me. One evening, he even let me come into the OR with him as he amputated a patients' toe!
I was thankful that he would be my orthopedic surgeon and my mother and I left the urgent care clinic with my new purple cast.