A week ago, Connie experienced back pain so severe, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where she has been ever since. She is being treated for a fractured vertebrae and other complications. If she can eat well and walk again, she will go to a nursing home in Saratoga Springs for rehab and physical therapy.
She has experienced severe back pain for some weeks, and the hospital is trying to help. Red and Maria came with me.
We spent about 45 minutes visiting Connie, and she asks to be remembered to all of the people who have been writing her, and especially to the Mansion residents and staff. She misses them all and hopes she can return.
She doesn't know how long she will be there, and while she hopes to return to the Mansion, she doesn't know for sure if that will be possible right now. Neither do her doctors.
She agreed to be photographed and asked for news of the Mansion. She was very happy see Red, and brightened considerably, he maneuvered his way over some tubes and wires to get close to her. I asked Connie if there was anything she needed, and she said she would love to get some little Word Search Puzzle Books, it is difficult for her to focus much on anything else right now.
I asked if she would like to receive letters and she said she would, you can write to her or send her some of those books: c/o Constance Martell, Saratoga Hospital, Room 340, 211 Church Street, Saratoga, Springs, N.Y., 12866. She and Maria had a long talk about her health and outlook.
Connie has become important to me, to Maria, to Red. Red often sits by her feet at the Mansion, and Connie loves to talk with him and be with them, their spirits have connected with one another. Connie was one of the first residents of the Mansion I came to know well, and people all over the country have sent her yarn and knitting tools and books, this has altered her time at the Mansion and, I think, her life.
We did a lot of good work with Connie, and plan to do more. We got an air conditioner for her room, a Kindle fire, antique knitting needles, books and magazines, patterns and sketches. Her room if filled with your gifts and kindness. She has gotten thousands of letters from all over the country and some of the world.
She and Maria have become good friends, and are planning a number of fiber projects to do together. We hope she heals, and comes back to the Mansion soon.
I do not know how long Connie will be in the hospital, or when she will be transferred to the Wesley Senior Rehabilitation Center, also in Saragota or what other treatments she might need. Now, she is in Saratoga Hospital. She has not yet been transferred to Wesley.
To stay at the Mansion, residents must be mobile and self-sufficient, it is an assisted care facility, not a nursing home.
I need to confine my work with Red and Gus to the residents of the Mansion, it is very important to me to stay focused on that, and as a general rule, I don't follow people who leave the Mansion. That would be chaotic and exhausting and would cause my work to unravel. I think many of you understand that to do this work – or to love and know the people we meet in this work – requires balance and focus and boundaries.
We can fill in some holes, we can't change reality.
I will not be updating Connie's condition unless she asks me too, feel free to send her letters, photos and cards, and if possible, those little Word Search books, I know she would appreciate them. If she leaves the hospital I will relay that if she gives me permission.
That is entirely up to her.
The people in the Mansion are older and frail, otherwise they wouldn't be there. There are frequent trips to the hospital, sometimes to nursing homes. Sometimes people return, and sometimes they don't.
There is a constant movement of people in and out of the Mansion. Everyone deals with this in their own way, and I have learned to stay bounded and focused and to know what I can do and can't do. I tell myself to think small and stay small. Hopefully, Connie will return to the Mansion soon. She says if it is God's will, it will happen. Good enough for me.
Godspeed Connie, and get well if you can. So many of us have come to love and admire your courage and honesty and creativity. It is always a great pleasure to help you and encourage you.
We will stay in touch with Connie and see her from time to time, if we can, and if it is appropriate.