After-effects of plaster cast caught me unawares

It is now a week since I had the plaster cast removed from my left arm. It seems longer. The cast had been on for five weeks and was getting extremely annoying. It was mainly the itching, but also the weight of it, which was not doing much for the muscles in my chest and shoulders, such as they are.

It was a tremendous relief when they sawed and levered it off: I felt as if I had been set free, and I trotted off to the x-ray queue with a song in my heart, which is always the best place for it. When the doctor said the bone was healing satisfactorily, the future looked bright.

What no-one mentioned was how the disappearing cast would affect my arm. The skin started flaking off and itched like mad. That has reduced in intensity, but it hasn’t gone away. The arm and hand were extremely swollen (I couldn’t find my knuckles at first). They were also stiff, and annoyingly there was quite a lot of pain.

The pain was not so much in the area of the break, which was to my ulna – the smaller of the two lower arm bones. The pain was in the wrist, and still is. My dentist told my wife that this was because the wrist had been held stiff for a long period, and I’m sure he’s right, though I’m not clear on the mechanics of it.

Encouragingly, I was able to observe improved movement in my arm day by day. I found myself typing with my left hand as well as my right. I could put my trousers on without any trouble (think about it). I could hold things with my left hand, though I still can’t support much. I could open doors. If they weren’t too heavy.

Yesterday I had a bath – the first for nearly two months. Up to then my wife wouldn’t let me get in it, in case I couldn’t get out. Well you don’t want to be stuck with a husband in a permanent bath, do you? I should explain that I had been having showers. You can’t get stuck in a shower. Well, not easily.

The wrist pain is very annoying, though. I keep telling myself lots of people are much worse off, but this – although undoubtedly very, very true – doesn’t help all that much.

The other problem, of course, is that I’m terrified of falling over.