You’re pretty much alone, when it comes to cast care. And it’s far more than simply keeping it as dry and clean as you can. With a toddler that’s dragging themselves around the floor, the cast goes through a heck of a lot wear and tear. It’s unavoidable. And it is already patched up here and there with extra padding to try and stop all the edges from rubbing. It looks like a child’s craft project gone horribly wrong.
We had to go back to hospital today because the boy broke his cast. It cracked around the hip of his broken leg, and was barely holding on at all. I phoned the plaster room in something of a panic, and they were totally calm, and a little flippant about it. I guess it’s not a big deal. So, off to the fracture clinic to have it patched up.
And that’s all it was; a quick patch up. It took, probably, less than ten minutes. And my son screamed and fought through the whole thing (leaving me with some impressive bite marks on my arm). He just associates hospitals and medical uniforms, and having anything done to his leg, with pain. Understandably.
I said to the plaster technician “I bet this happens with toddlers all the time”. She rolled her eyes and nodded. “I expect we’ll be seeing you again pretty soon,” she replied. Great.
Two weeks in, and today I discovered that we’d been doing his nappies wrong all this time.
When his cast was put on, they put his nappies on in surgery, so I didn’t get to see how it was done. Afterwards, the first poo he did, I asked a nurse to help me change him. She whipped off his under-nappy so quickly that I didn’t get to see how it had been done. All we’d been told was to ‘tuck the nappy into the cast’.
So, what we’d been doing, was tucking the nappy in around the legs, and then fastening the top of the nappy around the outside of the cast. What this meant was, everytime he did a poo (and he does pretty epic ones), it was free to shoot straight up underneath the cast front and back. It was impossible to keep clean, and he ended up with painful sores where his skin was rubbing against the wet, dirty padding. We couldn’t understand how we were supposed to prevent it.
So I looked online. I checked the Steps Charity website, and downloaded their information document. For the first time, I saw the advice of ripping the tabs off the nappy. I went on to their YouTube channel, and my suspicions were confirmed. Two weeks of doing it completely wrong. One stinky cast. One sore toddler. The nappy needed to be inserted fully inside the cast, left undone, and tucked up and under at the front and back. Now it made sense. Then a large nappy secured around the outside of the cast to hold everything together. Two weeks of doing it completely wrong. There is just not enough support given in hospital to prepare parents for taking their children home.
Less than a week since the last patch-up, he’s done it again. Looks like it’ll be another trip to the hospital today.