Art for Healing

Posted by Harriet Hodgson @harriethodgson1, Oct 26, 2018

Kudos to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art for allowing physicians to write prescriptions for free admission to the museum. And kudos to Mayo Clinic for its art program. From the beginning, Mayo Clinic believed that art can uplift patients and foster healing. Whether it’s Rochester, Jacksonville or Scottsdale, Mayo Clinic displays a wide range of artwork for patients. The Rochester site published a brochure for a self-guided tour of artwork. I live in Rochester and every time I’m at Mayo, I take the time to look at the artwork.

@jenniferhunter

I read that too and found it interesting. I think the creative arts help everyone stay connected, and it sure does reduce stress for both doctors and patients. Hiking and nature photography are a good way to participate too.

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Jennifer, I used to paint. I loved water color. I was pretty good, but then life, job, and kids took all my energy. I even taught art in elementary school for a while. I loved doing that!
I also enjoyed calligraphy. I use past tense because my hands tremble from the anti rejection meds that I need due to my organ transplant.

So I am giving my attention to fabric and needle work. I have a need for control and I like patterns. Here is a thread and bead project (green)that I created. And one from a pattern.

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What beautiful work, @rosemarya !

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@rosemarya Beautiful work! I'm glad to see your pictures and read all the comments about creativity and healing. It is something that I feel has had a connection for me for so many years. When I am not creating either with words or crafting, there's a definite difference in how I feel physically/mentally/emotionally. My hematologist-oncologist is a nature photographer by passion, and her office has walls filled with all the amazing locations she has been to. There is a deep appreciation for the creative side of life for those who have life held in their hands.
Ginger

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@rosemarya

Jennifer, I used to paint. I loved water color. I was pretty good, but then life, job, and kids took all my energy. I even taught art in elementary school for a while. I loved doing that!
I also enjoyed calligraphy. I use past tense because my hands tremble from the anti rejection meds that I need due to my organ transplant.

So I am giving my attention to fabric and needle work. I have a need for control and I like patterns. Here is a thread and bead project (green)that I created. And one from a pattern.

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@rosemarya These are intriguing and would require focus to create. Partial to the green one. Amazing all of the ways there are to be creative.

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@rosemarya

Jennifer, I used to paint. I loved water color. I was pretty good, but then life, job, and kids took all my energy. I even taught art in elementary school for a while. I loved doing that!
I also enjoyed calligraphy. I use past tense because my hands tremble from the anti rejection meds that I need due to my organ transplant.

So I am giving my attention to fabric and needle work. I have a need for control and I like patterns. Here is a thread and bead project (green)that I created. And one from a pattern.

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@rosemarya Watercolor is my favorite. It's the most difficult, but so beautiful when the light reflects off the paper through the paint. Thanks for posting your work. These are nice! I'm glad you can still do them, and I'm sure they bring you joy. Here's another thing that creativity does for us… we can think outside the box, and see possibilities and problem solving that others might not see. I think our environment influences us a lot even when we are not aware of it. If we surround ourselves with something beautiful and meaningful, we feel at peace.

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@gingerw

@rosemarya Beautiful work! I'm glad to see your pictures and read all the comments about creativity and healing. It is something that I feel has had a connection for me for so many years. When I am not creating either with words or crafting, there's a definite difference in how I feel physically/mentally/emotionally. My hematologist-oncologist is a nature photographer by passion, and her office has walls filled with all the amazing locations she has been to. There is a deep appreciation for the creative side of life for those who have life held in their hands.
Ginger

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@gingerw Yes, I know what you mean. For me, there is no better feeling than to be satisfied with something I've created, and I can ride that wave a long time. Sure, I admit my mistakes and learn from them, but step by step, I get closer to the painting that I see in my mind, and when I get close to that, I'm happy. It's kind of like breathing to me. It sustains me and sends me forward in discovery of something new.

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Thanks for the like.

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A great idea … prescribing a museum visit … I forwarded it to the Rochester Act Center

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Great idea to forward it to the art center. Thanks Steve.

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@jenniferhunter

Sometimes words are just not enough to say thank you. I am a fine artist. For a couple years, I had been unable to control my brushes and was in constant pain because of spinal cord compression in my neck. I stopped painting because I couldn't produce the quality of work that I expected. I was getting worse and couldn't find a surgeon to help me until I came to Mayo Clinic and met Dr. Jeremy Fogelson. As the days drew closer to my surgery, I had to find a way to be confident and calm, so I used sketching and listening to music to relax. I had been drawing pencil sketches of Dr. Fogelson as my own art therapy to help me on my journey. It helped me get to know him in my own way. I did other things to confront my fears as well, but I always returned to art and music when I needed to escape for awhile. I was calm on my surgery day and everything I did to prepare myself worked like a charm. While I was recovering, I wanted to paint again and to create something for my surgeon. Prior to my surgery, I was loosing what I cherished most, and my surgeon returned that gift to me.

I called his nurse and we arranged for my followup appointment to be on his surgery day, so I could get photos of him in his scrubs. He enjoyed posing for my camera in the exam room for a few minutes and even made me laugh. I had to work out how to match the photos of him with my photos of the Plummer building to make it look believable. I put the history of Mayo behind him with the beautiful carved doors of the historic building, and that was a challenge to draw and paint them in accurate detail.

It took about a month to create this watercolor painting, and I would have to take breaks and lay down to rest when my muscles fatigued. At my one year followup, I hid the finished painting behind the curtain in the exam room until we finished the exam part of the appointment, and then Dr. Fogelson saw this for the first time. It was a complete surprise to him and he loved it. I really painted this for both of us… to say thank you when words were not enough, and to challenge myself to see if I could do it since it had been so long since I had been able to paint. I'm honored to know that he will enjoy this for years to come. I makes me feel good to be able to do this for someone who gave me back the ability to do the job, and knowing how much it meant to him is priceless.

Art has healing power, and creating art takes that one step further for me. I told Dr. Fogelson that there was an emotional side to healing and recovery, and for me that was to overcome the fears that had help me back in my life. Facing major surgery has a way of bringing all of that into focus. This was truly life changing for me in many ways. All of my experiences at Mayo, and my courage are all in that painting. It also represents the talent, the kindness and compassion of my surgeon. At Mayo, medicine is an art. It's also true that art is medicine.

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What an amazing gift to an amazing doctor from an equally amazing patient, @jenniferhunter! Thank you sooo much for sharing that moment with all of us!

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@hopeful33250

What an amazing gift to an amazing doctor from an equally amazing patient, @jenniferhunter! Thank you sooo much for sharing that moment with all of us!

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@hopeful33250 Thank you for your kind words. I'm very happy to share my story and hope that I can inspire other patients who are struggling to get through their own medical challenges. I agree, I was amazed by my experience too and think very highly of my surgeon for both his expertise and for being the down to earth kind person that he is. That is so important in a patient doctor relationship. I saw other surgeons before coming to Mayo who made me nervous and didn't want to answer my questions, and it's hard to trust your life to a person who doesn't try to have a compassionate relationship with the patient or who will not give you any choices about the procedure. They all decided against helping me and wouldn't take the time to understand (or accept) the complexity of my case. I think compassion goes a long way toward healing, and also having the patience to get the diagnosis and surgical procedure right. I've had wonderful results from my surgery. I wanted to be able to celebrate my surgeons ability, and to give him something he will see everyday that makes him feel good. Doctors are human and need to relax and enjoy life outside of their profession, and I wanted to be able to do something about that, and to be the patient that he will never forget because of gratitude. Doctors have stressful jobs, but we as patients can change some of that in the way we relate to our doctors. This painting will be something his family and heirs will cherish which makes me happy. Even before I painted the portrait, we had ordered the special carved gold leafed frame in order to get it in time. Dr. Fogelson trusted me in that recommendation and he chose the nicest frame from the options I gave him. I know this is just as meaningful to him as it is to me, and I am honored that he will enjoy the original in his home, and a framed print of it for his office. I'm getting that ready now and looking forward to bringing that up to him at Mayo.

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@jenniferhunter

@hopeful33250 Thank you for your kind words. I'm very happy to share my story and hope that I can inspire other patients who are struggling to get through their own medical challenges. I agree, I was amazed by my experience too and think very highly of my surgeon for both his expertise and for being the down to earth kind person that he is. That is so important in a patient doctor relationship. I saw other surgeons before coming to Mayo who made me nervous and didn't want to answer my questions, and it's hard to trust your life to a person who doesn't try to have a compassionate relationship with the patient or who will not give you any choices about the procedure. They all decided against helping me and wouldn't take the time to understand (or accept) the complexity of my case. I think compassion goes a long way toward healing, and also having the patience to get the diagnosis and surgical procedure right. I've had wonderful results from my surgery. I wanted to be able to celebrate my surgeons ability, and to give him something he will see everyday that makes him feel good. Doctors are human and need to relax and enjoy life outside of their profession, and I wanted to be able to do something about that, and to be the patient that he will never forget because of gratitude. Doctors have stressful jobs, but we as patients can change some of that in the way we relate to our doctors. This painting will be something his family and heirs will cherish which makes me happy. Even before I painted the portrait, we had ordered the special carved gold leafed frame in order to get it in time. Dr. Fogelson trusted me in that recommendation and he chose the nicest frame from the options I gave him. I know this is just as meaningful to him as it is to me, and I am honored that he will enjoy the original in his home, and a framed print of it for his office. I'm getting that ready now and looking forward to bringing that up to him at Mayo.

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@jenniferhunter
I can tell from your post that you are insightful and kind. I appreciate your contributions to Mayo Connect!

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