Late Feb. or early March 2004: This is the only photo Nora managed to take. We were ordered by hospital staff NOT to take pics and, because we weren't thinking, we obeyed. Now I wish she would have taken many more.

Here's a closer look. This was after five surgeries and after I got out of ICU and was placed in a regular room with another patient. You can clearly see the black, necrotic tissue that will soon be removed in yet another surgery.

03/26/2004: After five weeks without skin, the wound is prepped for grafting. They scraped it, plumped it up with fluid and got the circulation going (that's why it's bleeding so much), so it would accept the skin graft.

03/26/2004: The split skin graft is applied. They took donor skin from my right thigh, ran it through a machine that makes a mesh netting of skin, then put it over the wound.

03/26/2004: Even with the skin netting over it, you can still see how deep my amputated armpit's wound is. Before this surgery, Nora and I called my armpit "The Batcave." I lost count of how many staples were used.

03/26/2004: Here the foam covering (part of the wound vac) is applied over the skin graft, where it would stay and drain fluids for the next five days.

03/31/2004: The skin graft is finally revealed. The doctors said it was a "100% take" and were all very pleased with their handiwork.

04/05/2004: This was shot on my first return visit to the hospital after being released 36 hours previously. The skin graft's "take" was down to 97%, but I was still doing well.


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