May 30, 2007

Casts & Clausterphobia

Sean's cast will drive me crazy if I think about it. The morning after he broke his arm, he began to complain of it hurting and he was 2 hours from his next dose of tyl/codeine. So I took him on a little walk to my sister's where Luke had spend the night. When he saw us coming, Luke ran up to the stroller and said, "Sean! Does your arm itch?"

At that point it hadn't, but it does now. They tell you to blow a cool hairdryer on it and that does seem to work. Tell you the truth, I can't believe some freaked out parent hasn't devised a contraption for scratching safely within a cast. Remember, this IS my perfect child. Well, one of them. And I'm pretty sure other parents have perfect children too.

I never knew I had even a touch of clausterphobia until Sean was a baby. We went to Dorney Park with a group of friends. They all were enjoying the water park slide, while I sat on the side with Sean. Pretty soon, after they all came shooting out of the black tube numerous times, I began to get offers to hold Sean - it was so fun!!! I simply must try it, they said!!! So, I tried it. It was a black tube, rather long ride and you couldn't sit up, only lay down. I must admit, the first 10 feet were fun. After that I began to entertain a full-fledged panic. My rational brain, the one that stopped me from catching the bus out front when I saw Sean's arm, began to talk loud and clear.

Jennie. This is fun. There is no need to sit up, you are enjoying sliding. This ride will end very soon and there will be lots of air and sunshine and standing up. If you panic now and attempt to affix your hands and feet to the sides and stop yourself like you are thinking, the person behind you will come hurdling into your body and that will be even less fun. Just lay back, breathe air, close your eyes, don't think and slide.

And sure enough, the slide did end and I was able to stand up and see light and breathe and all that good stuff. All the delighted faces of my friends were there searching my face for delight. I had to admit not only to hating the ride, but also to the birth of a new phobia: "Yes, I can understand how you thought that was fun. I thought it was torture," something like that.

So, it's been 5 days and this cast is beginning to upset me. I think it's too tight. I think it's so tight that I had to pull out the remaining two stitches on my knee a week early, just to relieve the pressure building up in my brain. I want his arm to breathe. I said to the orthopedic yesterday, "I'm worried about his swollen fingers-" "You can worry about that if you like," he interrupted, "his arm is swollen because it suffered trauma." He also said that the cast will remain a full cast for the full 4-6 weeks. The doctor in the ER thought they might cut it down after 2 weeks to just a forearm cast.

I always thought forearm casts were so cool when I was young. A girl named Lynn in our school had one. She lived in a really cool house with a fountain in the living room and when he was in New Jersey, Frank Sinatra would come visit her father. But that's the only cast I ever wanted. When we were very young, my friend Steph fell off our front steps in a pair of snow boots and broke her hip. She had a full body cast and zoomed around the neighborhood laying on a skateboard-like thing her father created for her. She crossed streets with it, came to play. I never wanted that kind of cast. Steph actually broke on her growth plate and now has one leg much shorter than the other - and on the other she stands at a whopping 4'11"!

Another clausterphobic incident happened a couple weeks ago. On my knee x-ray, the doctor found a mark the size of a squashed quarter on my femur. He said it was some sort of birthmark. Just to be sure I had to have a bone scan. (Our health insurance company hates us this year.) Once I got in there I was told it was a full-body bone scan. This machine is open, unlike an MRI. You lay on a table and a screen the size of a tv comes down a half inch from your nose and then proceeds to scan over your entire body in tiny intervals for about a half hour. What she didn't tell me was that after it scanned your head, it actually moved down close to your chest automatically. My body instinctively freaked for a split second when the machine appeared to begin to crush my body. I'd imagine the scan of my chest is a bit blurry. On the positive side, I don't have bone cancer and I have something I've always wanted - a birthmark. I have the x-ray films to prove it.

I'm already planning activities for Sean's arm in all its post-cast glory. I know it'll be a pitiful twig of a thing. We'll spend every day at the lake where I'll help rehabilitate it by taking him to the deep end and holding him while he swims. He'll build plenty of sandcastles and dig in the sand. Maybe if I surround him with sand and water we won't need any more casts this summer.


rosemary said...

No scratching inside the cast Sean. It will cause a boo-boo that might get really irritated and then you would really be miserable. Sean if you keep your arm up high the swelling will go go tell your mama she is really cool for going on the tube-water thing.

Paul said...

Ok, Sean. Hold your arm above your head as often as you can. That helps keep the swelling and itching in check. Maybe when you're watching TV or playing right field. Times like that.

When you take the cast off, the hair on your arm will make you look like a man, young man.

Ask your dad to kiss it to make it all better. That's what I did when my kids had boo-boos. It always worked. (Well, except for the time Marcie got a wasp sting under her eye.)

Anita said...

I have no advice about the cast.

I have no advice about the phobia either.

Mostly because I can't stop laughing uncontrollably when I get to the part of your post that describes your thought process going down that tube.

The sad thing is I'd have been thinking the EXACT SAME thing. I've never gone down one of those enclosed slides because I know I'd freak and somehow manage to drown myself in 1 inch of water.

I'm getting nervous just thinking about it.