By Deb Carpenter-Nolting
Previously published in the Gering Citizen and the Western Nebraska Observer
October 21, 2010
Mary Susette had her right breast removed in May 1954, when she was 58 years old. Mary Susette was a writer, and she wrote up to the last minute before she was taken in for surgery, and then for the eight days she was in the hospital. The day after her surgery, she dictated to her secretary a fantasy story of a little man who fell in love with a dragonlike creature.
After she left the hospital, she felt her incision wasn’t healing as quickly as it should, so she followed a method that was used by Colonel Dodge in Kansas in 1870. He had soldiers expose their undressed stubborn wounds to air and wind. Since she was not in Kansas, she modified the remedy and sat before a fan in her New York apartment until the incision scabbed over. Then she resumed her life.