18 April

Great News From One Of The World’s Best Nurses. Art Fest At The Mansion

by Jon Katz

We got to the surgical podiatry center at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. Karen, the wonderful nurse who has been helping with my foot for nearly two years, came in to take off the bandages and give me my first look at my toe-less foot.

I was uneasy about it. And sad.

“Wow,” she said, “this looks fabulous; I can’t believe how much this has healed.” Dr. Daly came in and said the same thing. It was nothing but good news.

In two weeks, the stitches will be removed, and I will be free to walk as I please, and I will soon be getting a second brace to help me.

It was a shock to see this, but Maria and I were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the wound was healing.

We were delighted when we left the center.

The foot felt fine, and I was sure it was healing well, but I didn’t relish my first look at the amputation site. It was a bit creepy for me.

My heart did jump at the sight, and I felt a stab of sadness.

I was happy that we are nearing this good end and I am immensely grateful for the terrific care I received from Dr. Daly and Karen and the staff there.

I think Karen is the best nurse I have ever worked with, especially over such a long time.

We just hit it off.

She is caring, skilled, and funny. We always laugh, even when there isn’t much to laugh at.

We started trading stores of people who fell for various reasons, and we were all – Maria, Karen, and me – laughing so hard they could hear us out in the lobby.

They couldn’t imagine what was so funny.

Karen and Maria are sisters from another mother.  They were having a lot of fun teasing me about my stubbornness.

I thought that if we could laugh together this morning, Maria and I could laugh together anywhere.

I got a new bandage for my foot, and then we rushed back to Cambridge to get to the Mansion.  I noticed the bandage was a lot smaller than the one just taken off.

Maria had planned a wonderful art project for the Mansion residents, and I wanted to come and let them see that I was alright and, more importantly, that Zinnia was coming back.  

I got the most wonderful greeting.

The class was just wonderful- I took pictures and will post them shortly. This was an exceptional way to return, I loved getting back to my work. I felt hollow without it.

The same goes for Bishop Gibbons, but that will have to wait a week or two longer.

There was much love in that room – for me, Maria, Zinnia, and the residents.

I wasn’t quite out of the woods.

When we got home, I was writing and went outside to look at the sky, which was darkening, looked down and felt a breeze around the wound, which was supposed to be tightly wrapped and protected.

For some reason, the new bandage had slipped down and exposed the wound, which Dr. Daly had warned me could be dangerous and risk infection so soon after the surgery.

I wasn’t doing much of anything at the time and went just a few feet.

It was cold and rainy, I didn’t go out much.

I called the nurses in the office, and they told me to return right away for a new bandage, so we went back.

Driving there took several hours to get a new bandage and get home. The day went a little topsy-turvy.

The wound was fine; there was no sign of any trouble or infection.

There were more antibiotic applied, some antibiotic cloth, and a firm and thorough bandage that I am certain will last at least two weeks.

Yet another nurse came in to tell me they were thrilled with the progress of the healing and confident they would be taking out the stitches in two weeks. She also used the term “fabulous.”

They reminded me to keep my foot dry. I can walk as much as I’m comfortable doing but they said I should give the foot some rest several times a day.

It was a good day from top to bottom; the bandage trouble had nothing to do with the wound or its healing; somehow, the bandage just slipped. It happens all the time, they said.

Every foot is different. They said I was very wise to report it.

So this is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Two weeks is nothing compared to the two years Maria and I have been struggling with my foot and poor toe.

We have closely followed our directions from R. Daly and it has paid off.  I listen carefully to Maria and the doctors, but I also retain the right to make my own decisions about my body and my health.

This formula works well for me.

We’re moving to a different place. We don’t have to keep my raised most of the day or put ice on the wound more than once daily.

Soon We will begin work on a new brace, the next big step in my work to get walking again.

It was meaningful to be back at the Mansion and get such a warm and excellent reception.

I stopped feeling helpless and useless, a common feeling after amputation. The nurses were nice and talked to me about emotional responses to amputations,

I hadn’t planned on that, but it was good to acknowledge it, write about it, and let go of it.

On the way out of the Mansion this morning, I got a tour of the new tablecloths we sent them – four different sets with see-through plastic covers – to brighten the mealtimes there.

They are beautiful and bright and colorful – wait until they get the rabbit one.

Pat, the head of the dining room, was pleased and grateful for the new sets, which permit the tablecloths to be switched around frequently.

She says thanks.

The residents in the dining room thanked me and all of you; I appreciate the support of this five-month program to brighten up the tablecloths. It lifted the heart.

It was a good day; I am grateful for it.

Time to move on to my May 12  sound wave surgery for my lonely kidney stone,  soon to be zapped by cosmic and laser blasts.  Since there is no intrusion into my body, I don’t need all those clearances.

Thanks for following this life adventure and sending me all those kind messages.

I’m not sure I have the energy to post the Mansion photos tonight, I’m getting sleepy. I’ll get to it in the morning.



  1. I’m so glad to hear the great news about the rapid healing of your toe area. And, glad you’re being careful so that continues. The tablecloth is lovely.

  2. Great news. I appreciate your step-by-step (pun intended) description of the physical, practical, emotional and medical things. Your openness and willingness to put your natural stubbornness and truly listen and consider different perspectives and possibilities just confirms that we are never too old to learn.

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