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12 Weeks In A Body Cast

My body cast story began when I was 14 years old and  I was hit by a car. The car's bumper hit me in the thighs breaking both of my femurs. I was to spend a week on traction and then get a cast. The week in traction was miserable and I couldn't wait to get get into a cast.

The week before, a girl a few doors down had broken her leg. She came home in a cast from the upper part of her thigh down to her toes. Naturally I assumed that I would have a cast like hers on each leg. But, she had fractured the bone in her lower leg and my fractures were of the thigh bones; which was a whole different story from a casting perspective. When you break a bone, a cast is usually applied to hold the joint still on each side of the fracture. So, when your thigh bone is broken the cast has to hold the knee and the hip still. The result is a very large cast called a double hip spica.

When it was time for the cast to be applied, I was sedated so I wouldn't feel any pain when they moved me during the casting process. I was never told that I would be in a body cast, just that it was time to go get my cast applied. When I woke up, I was being transferred from the cast table to a bed. Two nurses covered me with a sheet for the trip to my room. I remember being very, very warm; burning up. The heat of the setting plaster was making me very uncomfortable. The nurses said it was just the cast setting. I was still coming off the sedation and did not realize that the cast must have been huge for my whole body to be so warm! The cast started just under my arms, went down my body, around my hips, and down both legs, and covered my feet leaving my toes sticking out. The doctor later said the cast went up onto my chest to help keep my pelvis still since the fractures were close to my hip.

So here I am encased in plaster with only my toes, arms, head, and neck out of the cast. I almost died when the nurse brought a mirror so I could see the entire cast. I spent the rest of the day with fans blowing on me to help dry the cast. I spent a week in the hospital before going home to make sure there were no complications and so my mom had to learn the routine for caring for me.

Being in the cast was like being a turtle on it's back. I was basically helpless, unable to move, and for the most part unable to do anything for myself. . Every two hours I had to be flipped from back to front and all the pillows had to be moved to support me being on my belly, and to keep my toes from digging into the mattress. Not an easy task.

My twin sisters took great delight in my helpless state. They could stand at my feet and tickle my toes and there was nothing I could do about it because the cast kept me laying flat. I couldn't move my legs or feet and I couldn't sit up or reach them with my arms, so there was nothing I could do to get my toes away from them. All I could do is laugh until they stopped. This also meant they could paint my toenails while I slept; so my toenails ended up painted several times as well. They would change the channel to soap operas and go outside, turn the thermostat up to make the house hot, and many other things to torture me including bringing all their girl friends in for a look to see me mummified. My mom tried to run interference for me, but there were times she had to leave me with them to shop and run errands. 

I had to return to the hospital twice over the next twelve weeks for a new cast. Each time I had to stay for a week to get the cast dry, make sure my circulation to my toes was ok, etc. It was also a week vacation from the twins!

There were times I thought being in the cast would drive me crazy. It was hot, itchy, uncomfortable, and I had the twins to deal with.Then there was the fact that I was spending my entire summer vacation with practically my entire body in a cast.. But there were times I really enjoyed the attention it brought; especially from my girlfriend. She was always saying things like "you are so adorable in your cast" and "you look so cute all wrapped up in plaster" She would write and draw things on the cast and show them to me with a mirror. She would sit with me as much as she could to run interference for me with the twins. She would also sit at the foot of the bed and put her feet up to mine and use her toes to play with my toes (pretty exciting stuff when you are 14 and your girlfriend is playing with your toes)

Its hard to believe that you can get used to a situation like that, but, you eventually do. When it was time to get cut out of my shell for good, I stayed in the hospital for a few days afterwards. I felt sick to my stomach the whole time. I really missed the cast for about a week or so, but there were other things that helped get my mind off my missing cast- like learning to walk again!


sb1963 sb1963 46-50 2 Responses May 14, 2012

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That obviously was a real adventure. Probably involved going #1 in a bottle with no mention of getting a foley catheter. One thing that would have been a real trip is if the girls could have gotten to the bottom of your foot as that would really be a place to ticle. If this happened today you would get a nice light weight fiberglass cast and get to use a weelchair.

Sounds like a pretty horrendous experience.