A couple of years ago, I broke my hand. Of course, being right-handed, it was that hand that fate chose to fracture. Spent an unhappy few weeks with a rubbish cast on it (basically just a wodge of plaster over the back of the hand, with a stretchy bandage-thing over the top), which was more debilitating
than it should have been. Discovered during that time that my left hand is like the inbred, backwoods redneck cousin of my right - it's barely able to write, and stumbles its way through even simple tasks which my right hand can pull off with aplomb, if not a certain measure of style.
Just before Christmas, I broke that selfsame hand again - shut it in a particularly heavy drawer at work. To the accompaniment of an auidible "crunch". Not wanting to be lumbered with more plaster, I didn't seek medical attention. Luckily, it's healed up okay (although I do have a weird "floating knuckle" thing which I'm sure wasn't there before) - it was sore for a couple of months, but I figured that that was better than losing it entirely for a while under an avalanche of plaster.
As usual, I'm going to shoehorn a couple of ideas into a single posting. One of my friends had to cut his holiday short recently after his kid fractured his arm in a playpark. Ironically enough, the wee tot had cracked his humerous - no laughing matter. He's going to have to wear a cast for a good few weeks - and apparently medical science has "moved on" to such an extent that the cast he has to wear can't even be written on.
So - for kids: sculpted casts. An inch or so of plaster is enough to support the injured bone - add a little more and you can have custom casts for kids. I'm sure that little boys at least would love to brandish an insect arm for a month or two. Or, with a little more plaster and a waterproof paint-job, a broken leg could be transformed into an elephant leg for a while. Failing that, just use a mould to add Lego-style connective nubs to the unfortunate kid's cast, and he can make his own arm/leg/fun.
For the adults - well, I had a useless hand for a few weeks. It would have been nice to have had a foldaway corkscrew built into that rubbish cast. And a screwdriver. And a pair of scissors. Maybe also a tool for getting stones out of horses hooves, which I never would have used.
I particularly like the idea of having a couple of telescopic legs built into a broken leg cast, which, upon deployment, would turn it into an instant chair...