I got my cast off yesterday. I was prepared for the worst, and in some ways it was as bad as I expected but in others not so much. The tool they use to remove a hard cast is an electric saw with a circular blade that slides through the fiberglass with an ear-splitting whine. It seems to come alarmingly close to the leg inside the cast, but the guy operating the thing assured me that it never does actually cut anyone. That wasn't enough to keep me from wincing through the whole process, especially since he couldn't get the saw to go all the way through the fiberglass and had to keep going over it again and again. Then he took these plier-things to wedge into the seam he'd created with the saw and pry open my little leg-cocoon. By that point, I almost wished I could just leave the thing on and forget about it. I'd gotten pretty good at getting around with it anyway.
But it came off, and I got my first look at my leg in five weeks, except for the brief glimpse in between the splint and the cast. Hi, Leg! It looked pretty bad. Pretty gross. Emaciated and flaky and hairy, and stiff as a board, of course. I was able to clean it up a little bit before they put me in the walking boot, but as soon as I got home I filled the bathtub with hot soapy water, added a little bath oil for extra moisture, and gave my poor little foot and leg the most satisfying, nurturing soak and scrub it's ever had. The dry, dead skin came off in sheets and flakes. I've never loved putting lotion on my skin so much! Just being able to get my hands on my foot, to work some gentle motion and circulation into it, to move it a tiny bit, makes me feel like I am now really starting to heal.
There's a long ways to go. Here is a comparison of my right and left legs, so you can see just how much muscle I've got to regain. (My left calf has gotten huger from all the extra use over the past few weeks, however).
The incision looks good and is healing perfectly. (I won't post the photo of it because this site should be a no-gross-photo zone). Maybe later when it's more presentable. The stiffness in my ankle joint is incredible. There's a bit of swelling (but not much), which will go away as I get it moving a little. The strangest thing, though, is the sensation of standing on my right leg and having real pressure through my foot. It hasn't really had any weight put on it in so long that just feeling the bottom of my foot against the floor is bizarre. Yes, I'm supposed to be wearing the boot most of the time... I'll go put it back on.