Eventually, that area will slough off and youll have healed new tissue underneath, she said. The cartilage is technically not exposed.
Kassira said she had talked about reconstructive surgery with Poppo, and that he said: Well take it one day at a time. Hes very logical ... This is a long process.
How much reconstructive surgery Poppo undergoes will be largely up to him, Kassira said . Medicare and Medicaid are paying for much of his care.
If he doesnt get his vision back, is he more concerned about how he looks or about how the world treats him? Kassira asked.
The doctors said that Poppo, who has been homeless for more than half of his 65 years, knows he might be blind. Surgeons removed his left eyeball, and no one knows if he has sight in his damaged right eye.
They said Poppo knows what happened to him, knows its a huge news story, and that hes been portrayed as a victim of violence.
Hes talked some about the past including his days at New Yorks prestigious Stuyvesant High School but not at all about the future.
Hes had quite a bit or surgery and has quite a bit more to go, said Namias, who noted that hes getting a host of benefits now that he wasnt getting before. Of course, I dont think hed have traded this awful event for the benefits ... Hes just happy with where hes at and whats going on for him is OK.
Ive never used this word to describe someone before, Namias said, but hes charming. He really is.
Social workers and psychotherapists visit and chat. Poppo goes to physical therapy, and takes all medications by mouth.
He asks for orange juice and Italian food, and sports on television.
Namias said that Poppo asked if the doctor planned to watch the NBA Finals Tuesday night, and sent him off to the news conference with a hearty: Go, Heat!
Poppo also knows that a long-estranged brother in California has spoken to his doctors and is helping manage his care, Namias said.
Poppo has two brothers and a sister who lost contact with him 30 years ago. He also has a daughter in New Jersey who was 2 when she last saw him, and has said she thought he was dead.
Poppo often slept in the parking garage of Jungle Island, the Watson Island tourist attraction, where outreach workers for the homeless and police offered help as recently as April. He refused.
The doctors wouldnt speculate about how long Poppo might remain in the hospital or where hell go when he leaves.
The guy has got to be a survivor, living on Watson Island all these years, Namias said. I think hes become pragmatic about life ... Right now theres nice people around him and meals and theres hope.
Miami Herald staff writers Luisa Yanez and David Ovalle contributed to this report.