“A thunder-bolt out of a clear sky” 1890–1896

Melba Porter Hay

in Madeline McDowell Breckinridge and the Battle for a New South

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125329
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135236 | DOI:
“A thunder-bolt out of a clear sky” 1890–1896

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This chapter discusses Madeline's social life. A near-serious mishap, which she suffered in her cart when her pony Cigarette ran away with her, caused her chronic pain in her foot. Madeline underwent numerous treatments and surgery to resolve the problem. However, the chapter notes that the foot did not heal well and the doctors sent Madeline to another doctor to have her lungs checked and no problem showed up. Surgery in New York revealed the medical problem as tuberculosis of the bone and the foot was amputated by Dr. Gibney. The chapter notes that with the amputation of her foot, Madeline experienced one of the greatest traumas that could befall a young woman; yet she endured it without complaint and the adversity only invigorated her, while physical suffering increased her empathy for the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden.

Keywords: social life; chronic pain; foot; New York; tuberculosis; Dr. Gibney; amputation; adversity; empathy

Chapter.  10767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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