It was 2 AM Monday morning when I woke up hot, sweaty, uncomfortable and in an absolute panic attack. My ankle felt like someone was continually rubbing an emery board against it and my leg felt as if it was wrapped in a wet blood pressure cuff that was continually tightening. I envisioned a sore that was developing beneath the cast. No care or air could get to it. Most certainly, it would get gangrenous. My leg wasn't swelling, but it felt as if the cast was shrinking. I had fallen asleep watching the 9/11 88th Floor program, remembered hearing people screaming in my dreams and I woke up absolutely losing it.
I had to wake my husband up to come talk to me.
A pair of scissors weren't far from me. I had seriously considered trying to cut my cast off.
The more I tried to NOT think about my discomfort, the more I thought about it. The more I thought about it, the more it drove me absolutely mad. To say that all my marbles were nearly gone from my mental state is definitely not a lie. I had made the decision that the cast had to come off. Hubs said that they wouldn't take it off, but would probably give me drugs instead.
I got myself sufficiently worked up to think that I was going to have to go doctor shopping to get the purple rhinestoned cast cut off of my leg. My friend Kay offered her assistance. "We have tools!" The dremel tool in my studio was looking mighty fine. Rest assured, I was getting the cast cut off today no matter what.
I hobbled down to K-'s bus stop with her. As we waited for the bus to arrive, I phoned the doctor's office. Dr. W- was on a few days of vacation, but she asked me, "How about Dr. R-?" I told her that he would be great. He cared for Hubs when he had rotavirus and seemed like a truly understanding and caring soul.
Dr. R- walked in. "What can I do for you today?" I explained my rubbing discomfort, then I launched into my bigger complaint. "Dr., I suffer from pretty severe claustrophobia. Never did I ever think that would effect my having a cast on, but it has. I have had panic attacks and have been brought to tears. Is there anyway that you can take this cast off? Is there any other option for me other than the cast?"
"Did you break your ankle?"
"What did you break and do I have films?" (No, he wasn't being lazy. He had truly just walked in the room and I had never come to see him before. Obviously, he checked out the records after he figured out that I was a part of the practice and had received care there/at the attached hospital.)
I told him that the films were done just down the hall and that I broke my 5th metatarsal near the base.
"Oh! We can put you in a cam boot for a 5th metatarsal break. I'll take the cast off." Then he shared a story with us about his daughter. It seems as though she suffered from the rubbing problems that I was suffering from. He said that he changed her cast every 2-3 days because of her discomfort.
We changed rooms and he set to task. He cut and cut and cut. Then he asked, "Who put this cast on?"
"Yes. He really did do a very good job. It isn't his fault. I had no idea that I wouldn't be able to stand having a cast on."
He went on to say about how very thorough Dr. W- was, as he had bound my foot with layers and layers of casting material to be certain that it was kept immobilized and would heal well.
Changing to the cam boot has taken me from a 4 week recovery to a probable 6 week recovery, but I told him that my mental well-being was quite fine with that.
When we went to leave, Dr. R- said, "You know, I've never broken anything, but I don't think that I could do a cast, either."
I told him to make sure that he doesn't break anything, then he doesn't have to find out.
Rachael got many e-mails from me. Bless her dear soul. At one point, I told her that I thought that they were going to put me in a beautiful white coat that allowed me to give myself a psychiatric hug. She worked hard at not only listening to me losing it, but also praying that I didn't lose the rest of my rapidly fraying mental status. A friend offered the vodka in her freezer or the fine chocolate flavored wine that she had. It's been probably 9 years since I've had anything with any alcohol in it (family history of alcohol/substance abuse), but I did seriously consider her offer just as a calming effect. Hubs offered melatonin and had me sleep in bed with him, even though sleep wasn't something that he knew that I would actually be able to do. Kay offered to help me cut the cast off. Mom kept calling in a very serious tone to see if I had taken the dremel out yet.
My claustrophobia is no light matter. Hubs made me promise, as I was soaking in a hot tub while giving BOTH legs a shave, that I would never ever be put in any type of cast that I couldn't exit from on my own ever again.
Poor man. Poor child. They were both very supportive as I cried and panicked and apologized for my irrational behavior.
"Honey, you need to distract yourself. Don't you have PTA things that you could do?" I ended up working on PTA things for 2 hours in the AM and 4 hours in the PM. At least my attempt at distraction did accomplish things.
Claustrophobia is a bad thing. A very bad thing. Who knew that a cast would cause me to flip a lid? My lid is now turned back upright and properly screwed back on.
Smiles in my day:
- I'm free!