• Cindy

Women Down Under Break More Bones

When I was 9 years old, my family moved to Australia. We were only there for a year, but the place made a lasting impression on me.


My mother broke her leg disembarking from our Eastern Airlines prop jet when we landed in Sydney. I firmly believe this event was what planted the love of casts in my young DNA. She was placed in a short leg walking cast with a black rubber heel on the bottom of the cast. I loved to paint her toenails, help with the cooking, and make her feel pretty as she recovered from the injury.


About two months after our arrival in Australia, the girl who lived next door fell out of a tree and broke her femur. Her name was Adele. She was a couple of years younger than me so we weren't close. I do remember watching her writhe in pain under the tree the week after Christmas as the medics splinted her leg. It was summer in Australia, so no one was pleased when the poor child was placed in a plaster of Paris spica cast from her toes to her armpits. Mom, who was out of her cast by that time, and I visited once a week or so. During the visits, I would paint Adele's toes and play 'Go Fish' with the girl using the chest of her cast as a card table.


At that time, school in Australia went on all year. There were three or four short breaks between school periods. It seemed to me that there was always at least one student in my class with a cast on an arm or leg. The majority of the injured were female. And they earned their casts in incredibly amazing ways.


The most memorable was a girl named Emo. She was a cute red head with a long pony tail. She broke both of her forearms trying to ride a kangaroo on a dare from her brother. Emo showed up in school sporting pearly white full arm casts the day after the injury. Emo reveled in recanting the story of having her broken arms set by team of 8 doctors and nurses without the benefit of pain medication. She also seemed to take great pleasure in letting both boys and girls wait on her non-stop. In Emo's defense, she was unable to do even the most remedial activities with both arms in casts. Combing hair, applying make-up, opening a jar, cutting food, and drinking from a cup were skills not possessed by poor Emo.


This brings us to Skye. Skye is a 20 something administrative assistant. She enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, hunting, and fishing. Her main interest is the sport of summer hockey which is similar to the game of field hockey played in the US.


Skye (86) fighting for the ball about 20 minutes before her leg would be snapped in half.

Skye was playing a field hockey match for her summer team when her leg was broken. She was running toward the goal with the ball under control. The goalie ran forward and knocked Skye to the ground. Unfortunately for Skye, the overweight goalie fell on poor Skye. "I felt this crunching sensation and then heard a snapping sound like a tree branch being broken. The pain was immediate and horrible."


Skye laid on the ground for 45 minutes while the team waited for an ambulance to arrive. Skye was eventually taken to the local hospital where her leg was realigned "a little bit" and she was placed in a full leg back slab cast.



Skye giving the victory sign after her having her badly broken leg placed in a full leg back slab cast

The following afternoon, Skye was taken to a procedure room where her leg was properly set by two doctors and a couple of cast technicians. The process took over an hour. Skye's damaged leg was pulled and twisted until the orthopedic team was satisfied that the leg would heal properly. Although Skye had been given a light sedative, she called the setting process "not describable with words currently in the English language."



Skye in the procedure room minutes after her leg was set.

The setting process was so traumatic, Skye was kept overnight before being released into the custody of her mother the following morning.



Skye two days after the accident. Note her freshly painted toes

Skye who is an unmarried mother of one convalesced in her mother's home.



Skye sporting her new short leg cast. The woman must be in love with that horrid pale green shirt

Six weeks later, Skye was fitted with a below the knee cast. And six weeks later, Skye was cast free.




It took Skye two months of physical therapy and training before she was able to rejoin her team mates on the field hockey pitch. She complains that her leg is achy and sore on rainy days. All in all though, she is pleased with her recovery from the injury.


Yesterday, Skye started a new job as an administrative assistant at a medical device manufacturer.



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