Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.
|passage deleted with a strikethrough mark|
|passage deleted by overwritten added letters|
|passage added above the line||passage with added text above|
|passage added on the line||passage with added text inline|
|passage added in the margin||passage with text added in margin|
|handwritten addition to a typewritten letter||typed passage with added handwritten text|
|missing or unreadable text||missing text noted with "[illegible]"|
|notes written by someone other than Willa Cather||Note in another's hand|
|printed letterhead text||printed text|
|text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc.||printed text|
|text of date and place stamps||stamped text|
This tiresome letter of explanation must serve for all three of you. I had a forlorn hope that in spite of many difficulties and obstacles, I would get home to Red Cloud6 for Christmas. My three nieces7 will remember that when they lunched with me two weeks ago, I told them I was very much bothered by a sore right hand. A few days later it became so painful I had to take account of it. I saw two surgeons and my general physicain8. I will give you their report and your local doctor can explain the situation to you fully.
The tendon of my right thumb, which runs up
into my wrist, is very much inflamed, with
consequent swelling of my thumb, etc. Of course, I wear my hand in a sling and use
it as little as possible, but it becomes a little more painful all the time. Your
doctor will tell you that there are only two remedies for this. One is complete
immobilization of the hand for a period of two or three weeks. The other is an
operation on the sheath of the tendon, which means two or three weeks in a hospital.
For that matter, complete immobilization of the right hand means a stay in the
hospital for the same length of time. Some years ago, when I was finishing "Lucy Gayheart"9, I had an inflamed tendon in the thumb
of my left hand and although it was bandaged against a flat wooden mitten for about
six weeks, I managed to get about, take some exercise, and finish the book. But when
a right hand is thus rendered useless, one cannot get on at all outside of a hospital. Of course, the medical men urged me to
go into the hospital at once, but I have determined to nurse the thing along in a
sling until after Christmas, if possible. I will be very inactive and will keep my
hand tied in a splint at night and for a part of the day, in order to rest it as
much as possible. Of course eventually, I will have to
have the thing attended to properly, because a permanent inflamation there would make any future writing out of the question. The doctors tell
me that this is not a very uncommon affliction. The people most liable to it are
washer women, and people who do fine mechanical work which necessitates the
repetition of small and careful movements of the hand. Writers seldom have it
nowadays, because most writers use a typewriter altogether.
I hate to write in such detail about a physical ailment, but I want you to understand
why it is impossible for me to travel under these conditions. (Just begin some
morning and try to do everything with your left hand, and you will find out just how
impossible it is
.!) I can use a pen for about five minutes without much pain. I
autographed a book for Carrie Sherwood today, and I hope to be able to write
sign a few checks for dear friends at home
before my hand is out of commission altogether. The final blow to my thumb was
caused by my autographing 520 copies of a special $10 edition of "Sapphira"10, which Alfred11 put out when he saw that the book would go well. He advised
me to autograph only 100 a day, but I had found so much awaiting me after I got home
from Canada12 that I felt I could not spare
five days. My apartment13 wasn't settled
and I had to shop for the house and for myself, so I autographed the whole 520 in
three mornings. The next morning I had a lump on my wrist.
I know this is tedious business to read, dear friends, but it is even more tedious to write it. And to live with it is as dreary a thing as I can imagine.W. S. C.