Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

My Sense of Humor.

Thankfully, I have only found myself in a spot where finding something difficult to laugh about was hard. My humor has seen me through some of the most trying times, and I've always found it much easier to laugh then to cry. That a good thing because laughter is one of life's best cardiac exercises. I'm thinking I should have a really healthy heart, and I know for a fact that laughter does reduce stress. Nothing like a good hearty, belly-bouncing laugh to make things look brighter. For instance...this is an excerpt from "Life is a Toilet, and I Feel Flush. At the time, the situation didn't seem funny, but in retrospect... Hope you have a good laugh:

My grandmother always swore she could predict the weather by her aches and pains. When I was young, I laughed at the idea, but now I wish I could apologize to her for doubting anything she told me. I never realized I'd learn so much from that lady, and I hope even though she's been gone for a lot of years that she knows I really miss her and I'm not laughing anymore. I can feel a cold front coming from 200 miles away.

I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee years and years ago to fix a torn meniscus…caused by an old softball injury. For those of you who do not know what it is that I tore, all I can tell you is that it is in your knee and if you tear it, it hurts like a son of a gun. The new, improved and less invasive surgery repaired the problem but was not without its own pain.

I spent eight glorious weeks in a full-leg cast that weighed more than an anchor, and I slept in a roll-a-way at the foot of my usual, comfy water mattress because the excess poundage of all that plaster kept me sunk to the bottom and caused a tidal wave affect that kept tossing my husband out of bed every time I tried to turn over. I'm sure my husband was glad when I finally had the cast removed, but I'm positive the doctor was. I must be listed somewhere as the most annoying person to ever wear a cast. There had to be at least six occasions where I showed up on his doorstep complaining about that awful abomination.

The day after I came home from the hospital, my husband took me out to dinner to help me forget the grudge I had against the b***h that slid into first base and took me out. Let me describe how I felt. If you can just picture stuffing your leg into one of those long cardboard rolls that Christmas wrap comes on and trying to get around gracefully you will have a fair idea, but do not forget to add about fifty pounds.

Sometime during dinner, I got a horrific leg cramp and had to quickly stand and try to walk it off. The spasm was quickly forgotten when the whole cast shifted downward and rested painfully atop my foot. Talk about a cylindrical torture chamber. I had my husband take me immediately to the doctor to demand that he fix it!

The doc used one of those handy little saws they have and removed the offending appendage and immediately applied another fifteen layers of plaster. Makes sense to me, add three hundred pounds to an injured limb.

That cast lasted about a day and half before it shifted downward and impeded my walking ability. I'd already made numerous phone calls asking how to scratch an itch, how to bathe, why was my leg sweating, etc, so I was not in a hurry to visit his office again, at least so soon, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I limped out to the garage, and using a pair of pruning sheers, I attempted to make my own adjustment.

This was no easy feat. Remember I had my leg in a full-length encasement, so there was no bending involved except at the waist. Do you have any idea how dizzy you get bending over for twenty minutes trying to re-sculpt dried plaster?

Did it work? Somewhat. I managed to carve a little arc above the top of my foot. I was so proud of my ingenuity…until I tried to amble back into the house. All I did was allow it to slip further down so that the edges rested on the floor and made walking impossible. I hopped back inside and called the doctor.

He was not all that impressed with my handiwork, but realized there had to be a solution and cutting off my leg was not a viable option. He cupped his chin between his thumb and forefinger, like Sherlock Holmes and pondered the problem. I am sure somewhere in his mind was the old saying, “They shoot horses do not they?”

His solution? A lighter weight cast—what a concept! So, off I went to the casting room once again to go under the “saw”. This time instead of plaster, the technician applied layer upon layer of fiberglass hoping to solve the dilemma. Too bad it didn't. This one shifted easier than the other and in two days I painfully discovered that fiberglass cuts even deeper than plaster, sooo…back to the drawing board.

The doctor threw in the towel and left the problem in the hands of the cast person, and I am fairly sure his next remedy did not come from medical school…a garter belt. He attached an actual garter clip to the top of the cast and gave me an elastic belt with the latching apparatus.

Off I went thinking I had no more problems.

WRONG! Although the idea was ingenious, it didn't work. The weight of the cast, although lighter, still slid down atop my foot. The elastic belt simply stretched, cutting into my waist, and adding new discomfort to the situation. It gave me a more hunched posture as I was pulled downward by gravity and the appendage. My foot was still bleeding but now I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The look on the technicians face showed determination as he put my foot and ankle into the cast to support the cylinder. Why didn't they do that before? I'll tell you why. Someone must have known it was a bad idea.

Although I limped out of his office with a now fully-supported cast, little did I know that my severe claustrophobia could be so affected by having my foot encased in fiberglass. For those of you who share claustrophobic feelings, you can appreciate how awful it was. First I tried relaxation techniques, picturing myself on a beach in Fiji, but anywhere my mind took me, that damn cast went with me. Thank goodness I had some Valium left in the medicine chest or I would not have made it through the night. I made another trip to the garage, but I had NOTHING that would cut through fiberglass and I was not about to try out the table saw, considering how dizzy I got the first time I attempted to make an adjustment on my own.

Five A.M.; and I am in the emergency room, pacing back and forth, waiting for the doctor to cut my foot out of this devil’s device.

Besides having the worst Charlie Horse, I ever experienced, by now I didn't care if I had to hold the cast up with my teeth; I just wanted my foot free. I have always been a foot “jiggler” and not being able to “jiggle” was torture. I can't tell you how relieved I was to see that little saw again. The emergency room doctor solved the problem by putting pieces of foam between my skin and the offending edges. I was even able to get back home before my husband knew I was gone.

I did't dare wake him…he already thought I had finally gone totally nuts. As for the foam, it helped and I figured I could handle the inconvenience for the remaining six weeks. I never knew the true feeling of freedom until they took that damn thing off me. As if I hadn’t suffered enough, the very week after I had my cast removed, my son broke his leg. It was like injuring mine all over again. the itching, the pain, the swelling, the crying…and he was such a baby about it. You’d think that at age ten he could be more of a trooper.


Diane Scott Lewis said...

You really are funny, Ginger. You always make me laugh. My family thinks I'm nuts when I laugh about things, or make light of them, instead of crawling beneath a rock like they do. LOL

Unknown said...

I'm glad I make someone laugh. I always wanted to be a stand-up comedienne, but didn't have the chance.

Maryannwrites said...

That was so funny. Having suffered through numerous casts, I could relate. And your comic pacing was wonderful. Poor little boy. :-)

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