The Victim Mentality

After sitting on the hospital bed for a while, the confused private finally gets the idea. A cast must come off at some point, and this is that point. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “cut,” because he digs around for a pair of trauma shears, and starts near the thumb. “Seriously?” I say. “You don’t have a cast saw?”

He asks an E-6 nearby who gets one for him. He’s unsure about using it, very slow and safe. “I have to be careful not to cut you.”

“It’s a cast saw.” I say. “The blade oscillates instead of turning. It will only cut something rigid. Seriously, you could hold it to my skin and it wouldn’t cut me.” But he continues along as if it were a delicate surgery. Halfway through, I get frustrated, and rip apart the rest of the cast and pull it off. My hand is free. I can barely move the fingers. I pull hard and make a fist.

He disappears returning the saw and I wash my hand in the sink for a long time. In the Army, you lose that “victim mentality.”


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