Cast from Hell - Week 4

I was supposed to have my cast on for 14 days. I lasted 10 before I demanded it to be removed.

It was sweaty. It itched like nothing had every itched. The padding inside moved around and caused burning sensations all over my ankle and heel. It was pure hell.

I likely didn’t do myself any favors, thinking that the pain was long gone and I’d be good to hop around town on crutches and cast. I even went to the gym in my building twice to do upper body work.

By the time I went in to have the cast removed, things weren’t looking so hot.

The wound had dehisced. That means it opened up.

It looked downright nasty. It was bloody. The skin around the wound was macerated (that means soft, white, and gooey). The doctor who was there (not my original OS) said it seemed to be just a superficial wound, the top layer of skin, and that nothing serious had happened.

He recommended me to come in to see my OS in 5 days, and in the meantime to apply Silvadene to the area once daily, swap out a gauze pad, and to take Bactrim oral antibiotics just in case. I was switched into my VacoCast boot which I ordered.

This was not a good sign. I was supposed to be heading into Week 5 (4 weeks post-Op) and be PWB. Now I had this new wound to deal with.

4 Responses to “Cast from Hell - Week 4”

  1. I’ve heard people refer to crutches as Satan sticks or some other similar unpleasantly, but they are wrong. It’s casts that are the infliction of Satan. Absolute pure evil. The worst things ever invented. Medical torture devices. Shall I go on?!! I was supposed to be in mine for 3 weeks, lasted 6 days. 6 days of Hell. So I definitely sympathize. I’m sorry you’re also having to deal with these wound problems. I hope they resolve quickly for you.

  2. Thanks shell37! Yes, I’m actually fine with crutches. I’d be happy to get off them but I’m strong enough to use them to get around without feeling agony or pain. But damn that cast. I seriously wonder if I had been put into a boot right away, would that have helped sweat evaporate a bit more and not collect near the incision leading to the infection.

  3. Hi tharari,

    I’m betting you are right - if you were in the boot right away, the sweat would have evaporated more, and you would have had less of a chance of infection that way. But, I believe most of the protocols call for a cast after surgery. You really don’t want to be moving that foot around much after surgery, and there’s added risk of doing so if you’re in the boot. You may have ended up with blown stitches either way. Who knows?

    As for crutches, I think the worst thing for me is that I feel more helpless with them. I don’t like asking for help, and when I’m on crutches, I really can’t carry much, so I am forced to seek help on stupid little things like carrying a glass of water and my plate of food from the sink to the table! I HATE that!!! I actually have resorted to hopping around the kitchen, moving my food and drink around the countertop, bit by bit, in multiple stages, until I can get it all to the table, rather than asking for help. Exhausting, but at least I did it myself!!!

    Glad you’re back on the road to recovery. Maybe a little behind schedule for now. But, just remember, this is a temporary injury, and you will heal! Once you get into PT, you may see that your recovery process catches up in no time!

  4. Eric - That is so kind of you to say. It really doesn’t feel like I’m on the road to recovery, especially as I am still waking up in a hospital bed. Makes me realize how silly I was for fretting over just being on crutches for 3-5 weeks post-op, and that was before the complication of a wound that wouldn’t close and a staph infection! I try not to think too much about the future, for the day where I’ll be allowed to do PT. I am so confident and sure that if I get to that point, I will take it so seriously and really push myself to regain full strength. It’s just disheartening not seeing too many similar stories to mine, to help build a pattern recognition for what to expect.

    I can definitely relate to the issue with crutches, but I’ll tell you the hopping is something I resorted to as well. Moving items around bit by bit, and just generally having to “science the shit” out of every perceived movement. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. And what I realized is that if you generally stay rested most of the day (very difficult for active people) you won’t notice your disability all that much.

    Best of luck and keep at it. There really is so much benefit to hearing from others going through similar challenges.

    Appreciate all the support.

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