13 April

Moving Right Along: A New Rented Lens, Some New Flower Photos – Magnolias, And Pansies. Getting An Early Start On Normalcy, Come Along

by Jon Katz

Maria and I were shocked that we went back to work for much of the day today, one day after my toe was amputated at Saratoga Hospital.  She had all sorts of things planned to do in the farmhouse while she watched over me. We are making new plans.

I had a rough evening, but I woke up at 5 a.m., able to stand up on my own (the walker is going to the Mansion tomorrow as a gift), go to the bathroom on my own, and eat solid food and clean myself up with soap, washcloths and alcohol wipes.

My leg is weak and very tender, and who can blame it? People keep assuring me I will keep feeling the toe, it will be a “ghost toe,” but I’m not feeling that at all. My tow has very clearly moved on, from my foot and my mind.

On social media, I see there is a tendency to think that what happens to us must happen to everyone.  I have my own quirks, I don’t need anyone elses.

I think I have a strong rebound capacity. I was home from open heart surgery and working in three days, a record up to that point for the Intensive Care unit at Albany Medical Center. A doctor told me once that attitude counts for at least 50 percent of living a long life. I believe that. We have all sorts of ideas about health and the body and so many of them are wrong.

(Today’s photos are of Magnolies and pansies, the only two flowers in bloom at the farm yet.)

Maria and I expected both of us to be tied up and out of work for most of the week, if not longer.

As usual, I blogged in the morning and did some research and answered many scores of e-mails, and took my new Sigma macro lens (compatible with Leica L series cameras now) out to see how this lens would handle flowers in the sun. We did our chores in town, went to the post office and the bank, put things back where they belonged, and in between, I elevated my leg, iced it every hour or so for 20 minutes, and finished a novel.

Maria is kind enough to make lunch and dinner today, I can’t really stand up for long.

Maria expected to take care of me the entire day and planned accordingly, but she was in her studio right after lunch and stayed there for much of the day.  I can mostly take care of myself. I can’t yet dress on my own or tie anything.

Maria is amazing, she is Maria Nightingale in the morning, Nurse Ratched in the late afternoon. She doesn’t really have that magical caretaking gene, but she has been absolutely wonderful to me.

We are glad to be returning to a semi-normal schedule so quickly, but it took us by surprise. I can’t wear shoes, walk far, shower, or generally dress for at least another week, probably two more. But I take more and more care of myself every hour and every day.

Monday, I go back to Dr. Daly to check on the wound, replace the bandages, and ensure there is no infection. When the stitches come out in a couple of weeks, I can wear regular clothes, shower, and start thinking about a new orthotic brace that will wake me. It seems things went well, we’ll know for sure soon.

The pain is sharp as advertised; the foot is very sore. The numbness went away this morning, and the pain filled the hole as expected.  I’m only taking Ibupropen, no opiods.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled with this new lens. Take a macro looks at some Magnolias and baby pansies, the only flowers in bloom here. I’m drooling to get out there with this lens in June and July.

Our rapid return to normalcy has caused us some confusion and new planning. Maria will be back in her studio for much of tomorrow, and I will need the next few days to take it slow and easy. I am exhausted and need to rest and help the toe wound to heal. So far, so good.

But there is still a way to go; I can’t get placid or distracted. I understand that the idea of amputation is shocking and troubling to people; I see that from my messages. It is just another space to cross; we seem to be crossing them all the time.


  1. I had a very beautifully wise Aunt Julie who always reminded me when times get rough attitude is everything and she was right! When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease her voice resonated in my soul and my doctor says a positive attitude can make a ton of difference with chronic disease. It doesn’t make it go away, but looking for the good in each day and appreciating natures beauty makes it tolerable. Your beautiful pictures are a godsend especially on some of those rough days. Glad you are healing, new adventures await😊

  2. I am not surprised you are up and doing what you love.
    I, too, have always felt that your attitude helps you get past hurdles.
    Loving the pictures, especially that picture of Maria, really captures her beauty.
    Glad you are doing well.

  3. Oh Jon. That “that magical caretaking gene” is not a gene but built into the enslavement weltenshlauung of the patriarchy.

    Not to be ghoulsh but did you see your post-Jon toe?

  4. My brother was a diabetic and he had a big toe amputated. In discussing the procedure, the doctor said that having a baby toe removed had a greater impact on walking and balance than losing a big toe. Weird, considering how small the baby toe is. He never experienced any of that “phantom pain”, either. He was also up and around very shortly afterwards and that was a blessing for his wife cuz my brother was a lousy patient. Following orders wasn’t his strong suit….. 😉

  5. I heartily agree with you and the Dr., Jon, attitude is 50% (I think more) of living a long (and healthy and enjoyable) life. You are living proof! I think most doctors have to oversell how hard recovery is, for various reasons. And as you said, we don’t all have to heal the same way.

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