Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chapter Three - Life is a Bowl of Toilets and I Feel Flush #humor @mizging

Breaking Up is Hard to Do!

My granny always swore she could predict the weather by her aches and pains.  Of course, when I was young, I laughed at the idea, but now I wish I could apologize 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, she knows I really miss her and I'm not laughing anymore.

I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee years and years ago to fix a torn meniscus...my old softball injury.  For those of you who don't what it is that I tore, all I can tell you that that it's in your knee and if you tear it, you can't walk, and it hurts like a son of a bee-atch.  At the time the new and improved procedure was less invasive and repaired the problem, but wasn't without it's own pain.  I spent eight glorious weeks in a full-leg cast that weight as much as an anchor.  I slept on a lumpy roll-away bed at the foot of my usual, comfy water mattress because the excess weight of the plaster kept me sunk to the bottom and caused a tidal wave that tossed my husband out of bed every time I tried to turn over.

I'm sure my then 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 ever to wear a cast and the biggest pain in the butt.  I can recall at least six occasions where I showed up at his office complaining about that awful abomination.  (You thought it was going to say Obamanation, didn't you?)  Same thing, just a different kind of discomfort.

The day after I came home from the hospital, my then husband took me out to dinner to help me forget the grudge I had against the witch who slid into first base and took me and my knee out of the first game of our district tournament.  Let me describe how I felt.  If you picture stuffing your leg into one of those long cardboard rolls that holds wrapping paper, then try to maneuver gracefully, you'll have a fair idea of what it was like...but don't forget to add about fifty pounds to the mental image.

Sometime during dinner, I got a horrific cramp and stood up with speed so blinding, I knocked the chair over.  Of course the idea was to walk it off.  The spasm was forgotten when the entire cast shifted downward and rested like a razor blade atop my foot.  Talk about a cylindrical torture chamber!!  I demanded my then husband take me to the doctor and make him fix the problem.  At that time, I didn't realize the problem was ME!

The doctor used one of the handy little saws and removed the offending cast, but he immediately applied another fifteen layers of plaster.  Makes sense to me, doesn't it to you?  Add another three hundred pounds to an injured limb that's trying to heal.

That cast lasted almost a whole day and a half before it too shifted down and impeded my ability to walk.  I had already made numerous calls asking how to scratch an itch, how to bathe, and why my leg was sweating, so I wasn't in a hurry to visit his office again, at least not so soon.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Bad decision.  I limped to the garage, and using a pair of pruning shears, tried to make my own adjustment.

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

I managed to carve a little arc about the top of my foot.  I was soooo proud of my ingenuity...until I tried to amber back inside the house.  My work was for not.  The cast slipped further down, and now the edges rested on the floor and made walking impossible.  I hopped back inside and called the doctor.

He wasn't impressed with my handiwork, but by now realized he had to fix the problem and make me go away for a while.  There had to be a solution besides amputating my leg,  He cupped his chin like Sherlock Holmes, and pondered.  I'm pretty sure somewhere in his mind was the old saying, "They shoot horses don't they?"

Finally, he had an "aha" moment.  A lighter 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 tech applied layers of fiberglass, I'm sure praying the fix solved my dilemma and he didn't have to see me again anytime soon.  Too bad, it didn't.

This cast 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 proverbial towel" and left the problem in the hands of the casting tech.  I'm fairly sure his remedy didn't originate from medical school, but at this point I was ready to try almost anything.  He attached an actual garter clip to the top of the cast and gave me an elastic belt with instructions to put it on and latch the two together.  The whole thing reminded me of my days wearing a "kotex" belt, but off I went thinking I'd have no more problems.

WRONG!  The solution might have been ingenious, but it didn't work.  The weight of the cast, although lighter than the previous one, still slid down atop my foot.  The elastic belt (the clue being ELASTIC) simply stretched, cutting into my waist and adding new discomfort to the situation.  Now I had an rash around my middle, a curved spine to go with my limp, and looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Remember when someone gave you an "Indian burn" when you were a kid.  That's what my middle felt like.  Yikes!

The look on the technician's face when I showed up again spoke volumes.  He motioned me to the table and displaying knitted brows and his bottom lip sucked between his teeth, promptly put my foot into the cast to support the cylinder.  Why didn't they think of that before?  I'll tell you why.  Somewhere, someone must have known it was a bad idea.  Although I limped out of the office with a now fully-supported cast, little did I know that my severe claustrophobia would kick in.

For those of you who share claustrophobic feelings you can appreciate how awful this was.  First I tried relaxation techniques, picturing myself on a beach in Fiji, but anywhere my mind took me, that damn cast went along.  Thank goodness I had some Valium left in the medicine chest or I wouldn't have made it through the night.  I even made another trip to the garage, but found NOTHING that would cut through fiberglass short of a table saw, and I wasn't about to risk that.  I hobbled back inside, took another Valium and tried to relax.

At five A.M., I drove myself to the emergency room, and paced back and forth with the worst cramp ever.  Talk about a fierce Charlie Horse...wow, I had to get that cast off my foot.  I'm a foot jiggler, and unable to perform that ritual caused every muscle in my leg, ankle and foot to tighten into a painful wad.

I was so grateful to see that little saw again.  At this point I didn't care if I had to hold the cast up with my teeth, I just needed relief.  The doctor skillfully and quickly (not taking the amount of time I had to cut an arch in the cast) removed the fiberglass from my foot, then adjusted the fit of the cast by applying foam between my skin and the sharp edges.  Oh, I love that man to this day!  I managed to get back home before my then husband even knew I was gone, and I handled that horrid cast for the remaining six weeks.  You don't really appreciate freedom until the day the cast comes off for good.  Of course, after eight weeks, I had a choice of shaving my legs or braiding the hair, but that was a small price to pay for joy!

Just my luck...the very week after I had my cast removed, my youngest son broke his leg.  His pain was my pain, his itches, mine too.  Listening to him complain was like having my leg casted all over again.  I just don't understand how he got to be such a wimp.

Oh, this experiences is all a distant memory now, and just like Granny did, I've become proficient in predicting the weather.  My conclusion...try hard not to injure anything.  The repercussions last long beyond the healing process, and I've concluded that if I ever break or tear anything again, I hope they do shoot me.

*******

An elderly woman calls 911 on her cell to report that her car had been broken into.  In hysteria, she explains how someone has stolen her steering wheel, stereo and stripped the dash of all buttons. 

The dispatcher tries to calm her.  "Just sit tight ma'am.  An officer is on the way."

When the policeman arrives, he promptly calls dispatch.  "Disregard the theft call.  Mrs. Ramsey got in the back seat by mistake."

*****

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