My First Cast

Ten days ago I fell at work and broke the fibula bone in my right ankle. One week ago a cast was placed for the first time in my life. So here’s how it goes.

As soon as I fell I knew this was more than a twisted ankle. I hobbled my way to the house and made arrangements to get it examined. When I called Al, I told him to bring the crutches from home because there was no way I could put weight on my ankle. We had a wait of about an hour at the walk-in clinic. The x-ray clearly showed the break. I was wrapped in a splint. An appointment with an orthopedic clinic was made for four days to be casted. Pain meds. Use crutches, no weight bearing. And we were on our way.

As long as I kept my leg elevated and didn’t put weight on my foot, I had no pain. I wasn’t doing well with the crutches though. Whenever I used crutches after my hip surgeries I put a little bit of weight on the ground, called toe-touch weight bearing. Now I couldn’t do that. I felt unbalanced. Al kept reminding me I wasn’t keeping the weight off. I knew it. I couldn’t help it.

Tuesday finally came for the casting appointment. I was up bright and early, looking forward to the restriction the cast would give me, holding that fibula in place.

About twenty years ago I bought a pair of culottes from Land’s End. I’m not sure what this article of clothing is called now. We called them culottes when I was in high school, gaucho pants later. A nice navy blue knit, pockets, pull-on, loose. I haven’t worn them in years. Rather out of style now. So many times the skirt/pants made it past the rule “If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it.” Now I had the perfect thing to wear with a cast. My uniform when I go out for the next six weeks, functional, casual. And I’ll wear a bright colored sock on my left foot just for fun!

Fortunately we found a parking place in the garage right outside the door. It was pouring down rain. I slowly hobbled in, nervous about the puddles, slippery floors, just not feeling secure.

As we sat in the waiting room, another patient came with a scooter on which she kneeled. I felt like the kid outside the toy store at Christmas thinking “I want one of those.” We chatted for a few minutes about how much it has improved her life during her recovery.

Another hobble into the exam room where the splint was removed. I noticed how swollen the ankle was just from being the car for a couple of hours. The PA examined my leg again, went over the x-rays and told me the plan. The cast would be applied from just below my knee to my toes. I would come back in 2 weeks for the cast to be removed and an x-ray taken. According to my progress either another cast applied or a boot. I asked for and received a prescription for a scooter.

I asked about the Marniers Home Opener on April 8th. Five weeks to the day of my casting. Pushing things. The PA thought it could be tough, with crutches or even the scooter. I was confident I could do it. I told her about 1995 when I had had hip surgery, was on crutches and marched up to the second or third row from the top of the Kingdome to watch the Mariners in the play-offs. The big thing questioned about April 8th, was the cold. Opening day is always cold, even with the sun out. I thought of those five toes of mine open to the air. At least it is my decision.

My last hobble on the crutches to the cast room. I chose a bright Mariner blue for my cast color. As the tech applied the layers of the cast we talked a little sports. He kept looking at Al in the conversation, as if the fact that he was a guy he would know more than me. I just smiled knowing that the sports information in Al’s head was fed by me.

Getting up from the table, the three of us decided to take me to the car by wheelchair. Even with the cast I wasn’t supposed to put weight on the ankle. As I was being rolled through the waiting room I looked at my bright red painted toes showing outside my cast. I was happy for that pedicure last month.

Our first stop was the medical supply store where Al rented the scooter. I had my wheels.cast

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