Monday, 5 May 2008

Broke Toe Memory

Just remembering that in late 2004 I was just getting over a broken (as in, snapped almost clean off) toe and how easily the pin had come out despite all the horror stories people told me. What sticks most in my mind to this day is the plaster room tech's lousy job.

See, when I went into hopsital to have my toe sewn back on and the boken bone pinned, the surgeon's staff put a hasty old school plaster stabiliser on the calf and foot, to make sure things didn't move too much.

That plaster was comfortable, and as it was just plaster of paris and stuff and crumbling fast, I was looking forward to a lightweight fibreglass cast. So a week after I was discharged I was invited back to have my new cast.

The technician removed the old cast and made some disparaging remark, cleaned up the leg and foot, and started to lay up padding. I asked if it had to be quite so tight and he grunted but - yeah well, the padding would take up slack y'see and it would all come out fine, trust him.

It felt a bit different going home, I had this feeling my ankle wasn't quite straight, but then again I'd gone from a halfway around cast to fully enclosed so I wasn't too worried. Until that evening, when the ankle ached all the time and my toes were not quite the healthy colour I was used to.

By the next evening Iwas about ready to amputate. So that evening I sat down with a pair of garden secateurs and a lot of determination and chopped right down the left and right sides of the cast, a job that took me over an hour of straining and nicking myself and ouchies. But in the end I had the thing off, and you can't imagine the pins and needles I experienced.

Which was nothing compared to how my ankle felt when I tried to place it normally again. The cast had put my ankle about 1/2 an inch rolled-in at the bottom, and had I left the cast on for the whole five or six weeks I would have probably had a defect that would need surgery to cure.

So my question is: Why was that technician getting paid a good salary to make such a total botch-up of the cast? I'd actually said something to him and he ignored that. He was not a newbie, in fact he said he was several years in the job. Plaster room was NOT overworked (I waited two hours to get in and in that time they dealt with three other cases between two or three techs.

Spoke to my GP about it and demonstrated where my ankle (which was undamaged before the cast) had been placed and he agreed that a few weeks of that would have left me with long term problems.

I actually phoned that particular hospital and spoke to the technician and asked him if the surgeons paid him a spotter's fee fro bringing extra work their way, explained what had happened and how my ankle had amost fused after just two days. And he basically said get stuffd he knew better than me what that cats would do or not do. Anyhow - what I'm trying to say is not that I was right doing what I did - but if you ever have a medical procedure and something doesn't feel right then definitely make noise and get it attended to.

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