Friday, July 21, 2006

Body cast myth?

Any seasoned search engine cast image hunter will surely tell you that there are some types of casts which are relatively easy to find pictures of and others that might as well be hanging out with the Ark of the Covenant. There are a number of reasons why this is, amongst them the fact that statistically far more people will wear (be it for medical or recreational reasons) a leg cast or wrist cast than will ever wear (let alone hear of) a Minerva or double hip spica. Another reason is that I tend to think people who are not into recreational casting may opt not to plaster (couldn't resist the pun) images of themseves when they were injured all over the web (for understandable reasons). So if such a person were to break their arm it might not be a big deal to show that picture, but the idea of having your image displayed for all the world to see when you're in a shoulder spica and a long leg cast, laying in a hospital bed with little more than a well positioned wash cloth as your wardrobe may very cross a comfort bearer for many people. Take into consideration too, that simply because a person wears a cast there is nothing to say that their picture will make its way to web.

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(Image of female recreational caster wearing a full body cast and catheter - a very realistic touch! - in wheelchair from her Webshots homepage, A Cast 4 U.)

For me, there is no better cast (much as I love DHS) than a full body cast. Yet if you scour around you will find that this definition means different things to different folks. The medical community by and large use terms like "full body cast", "total body cast" and "body cast" to refer to a large cast such as any type of hip spica, body jacket or other cast which covers parts of the truck and/or torso - it does not necessarily mean the same thing to those of us in the recreational casting community. Here (and certainly for myself) the words full body cast mean just that! A cast which includes a person's legs, arms and torso all conected together in a uniformed plaster suit. Optionally if may also include a casted neck, head, face, hands and feet, so that virtually every square inch of a person's body (except perhaps - if we're being realistic and not just wearing a cast for a few hours - their genitals) would be engulfed in a gorgeous rock-like blanket of plaster or Fiberglass.

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(Web find shot from a milk ad showing a person in a body cast that covers every part of their body with their limbs suspended in traction.)

I respect the medical definition of the term, but also feel that if it exists for the purpose of describing a head to toe cast there must be a plausible reason for this. To those that say Hollywood and urban myths have perpetuated the idea of a total body cast I will agree with you to a certain extent, but also think that there must be at least a few cases in real life (aka, for actual medical reasons as opposed to the past-times of casting hobbyist) when a person was wearing a cast that covered their legs, arms and torso/trunk, if not neck, head and face as well. It's likely that such situations were more common in the past, particularity in the mid 20th century when large (sometimes experimental casts) were used to treat a number of conditions and would have surely been used on injury patients who were severely hurt, perhaps in conjunction with various types of braces and/or traction. Modern medicine today though often seems to veer away from casts in favour for other treatment methods like traction or internal (or external) fixation devices. So where is one to find a real picture of a body cast? Well in this day and age the most likely place is (of course) on the web, where (if you're willing to dawn your Sherlock Holmes hat for a while) one can unearth photos of both every day people and cast models alike in body casts. As well - most likely because so few genuine ones exist - you will encounter sites with digitally altered photos that have been created to show people in body casts (you'll also encounter graphic and traditional styles of art the depict these delightfully wonderful big casts).

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(A digitally altered image which shows a hospital patient in a full body cast and oxygen mask. You will commonly find that a lot of "Photo Shopped" cast pictures include nurses and doctors, as well many lean towards an adult nature, such as oral sex being performed on the casted patient.)

Though I put out offerings to the gods every day that such a thing will happen, I think that it'll be a very long time (if ever) before we see an insurgence of body cast pictures. Many casters prefer other types of casts, models who are not into the lifestyle themselves (aka, they're no casting enthusiasts) may have an understandably hard time with both the idea, and act of, wearing a full body cast, and putting a full body cast on yourself requires at least one other set of hands. A few of the casting videos/DVDs for sale out there show women in body casts (try sites like Gips-Alpin, Leg Cast, and Cast Videos for clips and videos of casted models), and likewise a few casting pay sites also include pictures of women in body casts such as Fantacast and Castfetish.

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(This picture from Plaster of Paradise shows two [male] patients in almost full body casts, note that each one has an un-casted limb. What really appeals to me about this photo is that both people have their faces and heads casted as well as their bodies.)

I do not believe that body casts are an allusive myth. A great many casters, including myself utterly adore huge body casts. There is so much plaster or Fiberglass to love, each limb held perfectly in place, suspended in a stone-hard state of casted beauty. Though their popularity in the medical world may have dwindled greatly from the small following that it ever had, it's quite clear that so long as there are people who're into recreational casting full body casts will always be real.

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(Web find shot of a male recreational caster in a great looking white body cast.)