Cast Off & Back to Boot Camp

If you don’t follow my felt hats on Facebook, you likely missed some good news last week:  my dreaded wrist cast is a thing of the past and I’ve been cleared for hockey boot camp (with a brace) – Hooray! Hooray!

Carrie Cahill Mulligan retakes the ice at hockey boot camp just 3 days after removing her short-arm cast.

Practicing hockey stops & starts at Campion Rink’s Boot Camp 2012.

The friendly resident at DHMC offered me the removed cast as a souvenier, but I was happy to see that veritable thumb-prison go — I only wore it for 3 weeks, but that’s still a long time to be without the opposable thumb on one’s dominant hand.  

Besides, my plain purple short-arm cast wasn’t near as snazzy as some of the ones at Dartmouth-Hitchcock:

A glittery blue dragon with orange wings against a bright yellow fiberglass foot cast.

Love the glitter on this dragon foot cast!

Intricate Harley-Davidson artwork "tattoo" on an orange fiberglass full-leg cast.

How about a faux-tattoo full-leg cast for the Harley fans out there?

Wicked-sick full-leg cast of yellow and black fiberglass, imitating a Bruins ice hockey sock.

Wicked Killah: full-leg cast of black & yellow fiberglass, a Bruins hockey sock replica!

Have you ever worn a cast? Did you decorate it or leave it plain?

Cast On – My Turn

Ever heard the phrase, “If you’re going to be stupid, you’d better be tough”? (It’s a little nugget of hockey wisdom I’ve gleaned from my time at the rink…)

Documenting my first-ever cast: fiberglass, purple, with black liner (to hide dirt).

“It doesn’t really hurt much…”

The day before this year’s Sunapee Fair, I fell off my bike & landed on my right wrist. It hurt, but wasn’t killing me. I took some ibuprofen & rubbed arnica gel on a newly-formed ganglion cyst on the back of my wrist.

Andy knows how frustrating a cast can be, especially in summer.

The 10-day fair was surprisingly busy for being so hot. I stayed up late every night embroidering new designs. My wrist continued to ache, and seemed weaker. I celebrated my birthday and bemoaned the aches of aging.

Finally, facing a dozen custom embroidery orders and my wrist still bothering me, I asked my doctor to remove the bump. She referred me to an orthopedic specialist, who ordered x-rays. I rolled my eyes, thinking, “THIS is why health care costs so much. All these unnecessary tests!”

New Hampshire felt hat maker, Carrie Cahill Mulligan & her purple short-arm cast.

Behold! The dreaded cast.

However, the x-rays came back and there it was: a hairline, non-displaced radial styloid fracture. Simply put, my wrist was broken!

So that’s the bad news. Plus the fact that any & all knitting, sewing & embroidery is postponed until my cast is removed. The good news, though? It’s not a very serious break, and since I waited 3 weeks already, I’ll only have the cast 3 weeks more.

Carrie Cahill Mulligan postpones custom hat orders while wearing her new purple cast.

Which is perfect timing, since adult pre-season on-ice hockey conditioning boot camp starts up just 3 days after that…

How did that old hockey saying go?

Cast Off and Counting Down – Andy Update #3

Andy’s 1st wrist cast was white. That’s generally what you get in the emergency room.

Andy's first cast

Andy’s first cast.

Two weeks later, due to normal muscle atrophy, Andy got a 2nd, snugger cast, this time, any color he liked. He chose purple.

Cast color options

The cast color options at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, NH.

Over the following 4 weeks, Andy did a great job keeping the purple cast dry, through all of his light-duty yard work and special bagging and taping for every bath & shower.

However, dishwashing was the eventual demise of Andy’s purple cast. A wet cast is an unhealthy, unhappy place, so even though removal was officially scheduled for 5 days later, Andy got his 3rd cast just in time for our visit to Maine over Memorial Day.

Feeling festive, Andy selected purple with a glow-in-the-dark stripe, which was a big hit with our youngest friends:

Checking out Andy's glow-in-the-dark cast...

Checking out Andy’s glow-in-the-dark cast…

Fun as the 3rd cast was, though, it was with great anticipation and relief that this (hopefully!) final cast was removed last Wednesday!

Cast removal

Cast removal with a special little rotary cutter… the big moment!

Andy got more x-rays of his wrist and collarbone, which the doctors think look great (lots of hazy sections signifying active tissue re-growth).

And best of all, the doctor prescribed a sturdy wrist brace, only occasional sling use, and immediate physical therapy for shoulder & wrist.

Happy with his new wrist brace!

Sporting his new wrist brace!

He’s definitely on the mend, now and hoping to be %100 in 4 more weeks. That would mean we could be swing dancing in time for Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in July! Keep your fingers crossed & I’ll keep you posted…