It was just about this time of the year, and about 15 years ago, when our family was looking forward to a vacation at the beach. Our plans were somewhat loose as to detail, but we knew our vacation time would be spent on the central California coast, and we specifically wanted to spend the 4th of July on the sand somewhere, playing in the ocean and watching the municipal fireworks display. Our two kids--Soccer Son and the Wild Child--were at pretty good ages: just old enough to not need constant supervision but young enough to not rebel too much at the thought of spending time with their parents.
There was just one drawback. For the third year in a row, the Wild Child had broken her arm and was wearing a cast. Not a very happy situation for a family vacation at the beach!
We had considered postponing the vacation--the Wild Child was due to have the cast off around the 6th of July, if memory serves me correctly, but we all really wanted to celebrate the 4th of July at the beach and other summer obligations prevented rescheduling. What to do?
After considerable thought, I decided it would be best to cut the cast off myself. Yeah, I know, but I did. It was only a few days before the cast was due to come off anyway, it was a Friday night, and we were just about packed to leave early Saturday morning. I'd been thinking about it for a day or two, and by that time, removing the cast made a lot of sense to me.
Thinking that removing a cast would be a fairly simple matter, after dinner that night, we set about the task in the kitchen with scissors and a serrated steak knife. I thought getting the cast wet would help dissolve it. Not! After working on it for an hour or two, I decided a hand saw might help. With a pretty good cut made into the cast already, we were much too far along to go back, but the darn thing just wouldn't split open. In fact, we tried a couple of different saws. It was very slow going.
About two or three hours in, I was fairly certain I wasn't removing the cast any earlier than it should have been removed. After all, with all the yanking and bending of the arm and cast I'd been doing, if the bone hadn't already healed, the Wild Child would have been in some pain--but she wasn't. Both of us were pretty tired of the struggle and exasperated, but we nearly had it off. We kept going.
In the end, I think it took about three or four hours to get the cast off. Seriously, we had a truly wonderful vacation, and it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun with a cast, but in retrospect, I really don't recommend home cast removal. It's really a lot harder than it looks in the doctor's office.
With the arm splint I have though, it would be a piece of cake. Only the bottom part is made of cast material--the rest is bandages that I think would cut pretty easily. Given what you now know about me, you can probably understand why it's been so hard for me to resist, but I have so far, and now I'm into the home stretch--my doctor's appointment is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
All I can say, though, is that he'd better be planning to remove the darn thing tomorrow. After that, I'm not making any promises! I've sharpened my scissors and I'm ready.