"Skiing?" She thought to herself in disbelief as she stared at the way the plaster hugged her entire leg. Her entire leg. A full leg cast is what he called it. Her whole fucking leg. From the base of her shy, often concealed toes to the very top of her thigh. Top. As in the doctor had to lift up her hospital gown to stretch the cast up her thigh. She felt very vulnerable and exposed. No one was looking, but that didn't matter.
Skiing? She always heard about how people don't break legs skiing anymore. It is all a mythical misconception perpetuated by television and movies. They do however tear ligaments, tendons, and twist knees. They do stuff that requires surgery and hardware. Tell that to her tibia and her fibula. They both decided to put that rumor to rest. She was pretty sure the tibia spoke first. It spoke loudly. It screamed as she hit that awkward bump. There were no combinations of words in her vocabulary that could rightfully describe the sound her tibia made. It was audible. It was loud. It was painful and followed by a weaker version of itself.
While she lay there in the cold snow she hypothesized as to the status of her injury. Statistically it was probably a knee injury. Not broken. Torn. According to popular opinion it wasn't broken. NOT BROKEN. Yeah right. Her body told a different story. Her body talked about the two broken ends of her shin rubbing together whenever she moved. She could feel the jagged ends of her fibula digging into her muscle. It felt like broken not torn. But she tried her hardest to trust statistics. She tried even harder to swallow popular opinion. Reality had the most believable story. As usual.
The x-rays at the hospital confirmed her hypothesis. Displace fracture of the fibula, and a displaced spiral fracture to her tibia. Painful. The doctor had such an eloquent way with words that she felt like she should be grateful. For a brief moment she was about to extend her hand and thank him for the great news, but she realized her leg was broken. Broken. Fractured. Whatever. It hurt.
Her adventure almost felt like an episode of Sesame Street. Everything was so surreal and hard to believe that the thought of puppets treating her wasn't a far stretch for the mind. Today's show is brought to you by the words broken, leg, pain, and now full leg cast. She was relieved that it wasn't that horrid word, surgery. Surgery was a scary word. She pictured the Cookie Monster as her orthopedic surgeon. She vividly visualized cookie crumbs falling into her incision as he operated on her leg. The word cast was manageable. It was easy to swallow. She pictured Big Bird wrapping her leg in plaster. She imagined that she was at a spa and that Big Bird was just applying some sort of soothing wrap. The words full and leg preceding the word cast meant inconvenient, but it was all a lot more visually appetizing. Knives and scars weren't.
It never dawned on her that broken bones need to be set. She thought they'd just slap a cast on and send her home. The doctor and the rest of the Sesame Street cast failed to tell her about this painful reduction process until they were ready. The whole setting process reminded her of "pro-wrestling." The way the doctor pushed and pulled on her leg in what seemed an unnatural manner. She expected him to be wearing spandex pants and goofy face paint. The doctor definitely won the match from the start. She was screaming and begging for mercy in the opening seconds of the match. The match wasn't technically over until after about 30 seconds? 30 seconds? Please check your watch, that doesn't sound right. The clock must definitely be broken.
In all honesty she knew nothing about casts other than that they are made of plaster. The doctor gave her wrap-by-wrap description of the process. Stockinette. Padding. Plaster. Lots of plaster being wrapped around her poor throbbing leg. It was warm and mildly soothing, like an expensive massage. It would be a long and inconvenient 3 months but it was a lot better than surgery. Casts were fun for the whole family. The girls at work could tease her as they gawked at her cast and left cute little personalized messages on the plaster. It was a definite conversation piece. It was a nice little souvenir of her downhill disaster. Surgery was the complete opposite. It wasn't like she could readily show off the rods and screws in her leg. The girls at work definitely weren't going to be signing on her scars. That was just plain gross. A cast was just hours of fun for the whole family. Only for ages 15 and up.
Breaking a bone was kind of like committing a crime. She was the criminal and the doctor was the judge:
"An inexperienced skier on an experienced slope, how do you plead?"
"Guilty, your honor."
"I sentence you to a painful tib/fib fracture, and 12 weeks in maximum security plaster cast. You'll receive a reduced sentence for fast healing."
This wasn't supposed to be happening. She was on vacation. She went skiing. People don't break legs skiing. Twist knees. Tear ligaments. There was no reason she should be watching her toes wiggled at the end of a cast. This wasn't fair. She didn't deserve to be in this predicament. Much less in a full leg plaster cast.
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