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I'm a fan of the show Private Practice, and for those of you who don't watch, the character Charlotte has had her arm in a cast the past 3 weeks after a beating during a brutal rape. Seeing her in the cast has had me thinking of turkey sandwiches, so I thought this would be a good story / tips to share during Thanksgiving week.
When I was 17 I had 2 surgeries over one summer so that I only had one foot in a cast at a time, instead of both at once like in the picture, right. They were the only times I've ever had summer surgeries, so we weren't really thinking when we decided it was a good idea to go to see fireworks on the 4th of July in 90+ degree weather with my leg in a below the knee cast. You sweat a lot in 90+ degree heat even when you're not in a fiberglass cast. Mix that heat with the heaviness of a fiberglass cast which has been on you for about 2.5 weeks or so, and dead, gross, nasty, sweaty, ITCHY skin ensues. And it doesn't go away.
I would not recommend spending anytime outside in a cast in the summer. It was itching so bad all that night and the next day that I was crying because it WOULDN'T STOP. My mom called the hospital and said she just didn't know what to do with me, she felt so bad. She talked to my surgeon's assistant, who is a nurse and an absolute genius. He said #1 to give me lots of benedryl, which I am very sensitive to so I passed out for the rest of the day. #2 he said to get an ice pack and put it on my thigh of that leg. I wouldn't recommend using ice in a baggy, as when it melts the water could leak and drip down into your cast. Use one of those fake ice blocks.
[Love my non-scanner, taking a picture of a picture with my phone skills? This is a very unflattering picture of me after my most major surgery, done at Gillette when I was 13. Bad picture, but the easiest to find.]
Your brain can't process both stimuli at once, it gets overloaded, and so you both stop being itchy, and your thigh doesn't feel cold. I would keep thinking that the ice block needed to be replaced, that it had thawed, would put my hand on it to take it off, only to find that it was still plenty cold. IT WORKED SO WELL, I had ice on one leg or the other for the next 3 months.
What does that have to do with a turkey sandwich you ask? Nothing. That's cast tip #1. Cast tip #2 is that I went back to Minnesota to have that cast taken off and have the next surgery done. After getting the cast taken off, I was waiting to see the doctor, vigorously finally scratching at my leg [FREEDOM!] and all it's nasty flaky skin, when the surgeon's assistant came out to get me. Me with the nice pile of dead skin on my wheelchair footrest. I was scratching so much so hard that I was giving myself a rash.
What did he say to do? He said to go out and buy a small jar of Miracle Whip (he said this only works with Miracle Whip, and I have no comparison experience with which to dispute) and slather it on my leg and leave it there for a bit. Wipe it off and presto, all the dead skin comes off with it. Who came up with this? I have no idea. But IT WORKED, so much better then the soaking I used to do after my other surgeries. Worth smelling like a turkey sandwich for a day.