A letter from Alura to Charles Collins

Mukwonago, February 3, 1873

Dear Uncle Charles:

I rec'd your very kind letter some days ago and should have answered sooner but we were expecting Dr. Wolcott, a surgeon from Milwaukee out to see Father, so I concluded to wait until after his visit. He came last Thursday, Jan. 30th and the result of his visit was that the long dreaded amputation was performed. He said that it was the only hope of relief that Father could ever have. He said that providing that Father could survive another twelve months of such constant suffering as he has had during the past year and he thought that at the end of that time the arm would heal, he should not wish to amputate it but he saw no hope --- if he kept it ten years it must eventually come off, and Lin says there was no hope for it, for the Dr. opened it after it was off and the elbow joint was all decayed -- there was nothing left there but decayed matter and it is quite probable that the ---- with which Mother has dressed it for some months past is all that has prevented mortification.

It seemed horrible to think of before 'twas done, but I hope he will get along nicely now and it will only heal up as the Dr. thinks it will. It will seem so good to have him well enough to be around once more. We shall be a very happy family if that day can only come. I don't think we could have got along without Lin. He stayed and helped all through that terrible operation. It was an awful thing for him and worked on his nerves very much I think, but Father seemed so glad to think his boys stayed by him thro' it all. I did not know anything about it until the next evening.

I watched Friday night and also Saturday evening until twelve o'clock when one of our neighbors came and took my place.

I did not know I was tired until today when I got to school and then I felt worn out.

I am quite near home and I am so very glad. Father seems quite comfortable, considering. He had a very poor night Friday and he vomited almost all day Saturday. He was very bilious and had no appetite which worried us very much, but yesterday he was quite hungry and accused us of being stingy with him. Lin said then that he guessed Father would get well. Father fainted last night and Saturday night. He is very weak, but he jokes yet and ever jokes about his arm. Dr. Wolcott said that what Father has born would have killed forty ordinary men. He said he never before saw a man of so much endurance. I think Mother has endured a great deal too. There are not many women who would go uncomplainingly thro' as much as she has gone thro' during the past year. I hope she can rest this spring. Father repeated the Lord's Prayer when under the influence of the chloroform and then when he was recovering his senses he swore fearfully. But it is getting late and I am very tired so must say good night. I shall write to Aunt in a few days so that you may know how Father gets along and of course if there is any change for the worse I shall let you know at once.

Please write soon - your letters do Father so much good. Love to all - Your loving niece, Alura Collins

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