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.

@healthytoday

They are all carved, cut, and sanded from a spruce from Mt Taylor NM. I stained them different colors. Also made a set from red cedar. Have another set made with masonite and painted. That's the one set that I still have. Picture came in side ways?? (Tilt your head). I see them as a horse waterfall.

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@healthtoday these are gorgeous I wouldn't part with them either everyone is creative My husband made arrows as we were into archery A friend of ojrs made Bows .

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@healthytoday

Really struggled with afib after Christmas being too strenuous. As I am recovering and close to normal rhythm again, someone suggested to me to turn off the nightly news and instead watch funny tv/movies or listen to peaceful, harmonious music. When you think of afib, you realize it's the heart in a state of chaos. With this understanding, I want to restore harmony to my heart and the rest of me. Adding more harmonious music while I do yoga stretches adds this ingredient. Apparently, I need a lot of harmony to keep my heart in the state of harmony. Maybe my motto might be, if it isn't harmonious, I'm not interested, ie, nightly news.

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@healthtoday Ive had problems trying to relax before bedtime and yesterday I bought a water fountain Water falls over rocks and lights change colors along with relaxing music I like ocean,brooks it is relaxing for the mind@body.

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Sounds soothing. You can also purchase sounds that are soothing and may prompt sleep, such as the sound of waves on a beach.

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@harriethodgson1 that's what I do listen to nature sounds and watch the waterfall

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That's great.

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@healthytoday

They are all carved, cut, and sanded from a spruce from Mt Taylor NM. I stained them different colors. Also made a set from red cedar. Have another set made with masonite and painted. That's the one set that I still have. Picture came in side ways?? (Tilt your head). I see them as a horse waterfall.

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@healthytoday These are whimsical. Really like them. A horse lover and long ago wrangler.

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@harriethodgson1

Sounds soothing. You can also purchase sounds that are soothing and may prompt sleep, such as the sound of waves on a beach.

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@harriethodgson1 Or a cat purring. Or a breeze blowing softly through the pines. Or owls hooting. I have a CD for sending you into relaxed state, called Evening Rapture. I rarely got through it, as it would relax me so.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@harriethodgson1 Or a cat purring. Or a breeze blowing softly through the pines. Or owls hooting. I have a CD for sending you into relaxed state, called Evening Rapture. I rarely got through it, as it would relax me so.
Ginger

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@gingerw I love all thes nature relaxing tapes I,ll have to look for that one

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@gingerw

@harriethodgson1 Or a cat purring. Or a breeze blowing softly through the pines. Or owls hooting. I have a CD for sending you into relaxed state, called Evening Rapture. I rarely got through it, as it would relax me so.
Ginger

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@gingerw I have discovered some free nature apps. I have a small wireless speaker and place it by my pillow. I find it is helping some to find sleep. Do enjoy the thunderstorms. I found the small wireless speaker on a clearance rack. Best $5 I have spent in a while.

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@parus

@gingerw I have discovered some free nature apps. I have a small wireless speaker and place it by my pillow. I find it is helping some to find sleep. Do enjoy the thunderstorms. I found the small wireless speaker on a clearance rack. Best $5 I have spent in a while.

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Sounds like a wonderful, soothing array to promote sleep.

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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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Here it is! My story as a Mayo Clinic patient using my own art for healing…. and thanks Dr. Fogelson. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

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@jenniferhunter

Here it is! My story as a Mayo Clinic patient using my own art for healing…. and thanks Dr. Fogelson. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

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@jenniferhunter Great story. Kudos to you and the entire team at Mayo!
Ginger

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@jenniferhunter

Here it is! My story as a Mayo Clinic patient using my own art for healing…. and thanks Dr. Fogelson. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

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That's really an inspired story. As an artist I understand how the expression of yourself in made whole and complete when put into terms of paint, pencil, canvas, and paper. I believe the goodness of the arts is to give us humans a cathartic tool, a metaphor, to express those things which need to emerge. He commented on your detail; and to me, that reflects the detail of Mayo Clinic. Integration of aspects of healing and art brought both you and the Drs skills to a level of excellent. Nothing less could have completed the surgery and recovery it seems to me.

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@healthytoday

That's really an inspired story. As an artist I understand how the expression of yourself in made whole and complete when put into terms of paint, pencil, canvas, and paper. I believe the goodness of the arts is to give us humans a cathartic tool, a metaphor, to express those things which need to emerge. He commented on your detail; and to me, that reflects the detail of Mayo Clinic. Integration of aspects of healing and art brought both you and the Drs skills to a level of excellent. Nothing less could have completed the surgery and recovery it seems to me.

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(This post is about my patient story in the Sharing Mayo Clinic Blog)
https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/
@healthytoday

How insightful, and you're right. Thank you for commenting, as I had not realized some of the symbolism in the portrait until I read your words and thought about it. In doing this painting and making these connections on many different levels, I learn a lot more about the mystery and real magic in the healing power of art.

Everything at Mayo had the level of detail in all the care that I received very much like the detail in the painting. Often I find meanings like this long after I've painted something that has symbolism for what was going on in my life at the time I created the painting although I'm not consciously aware of it.

I feel like this is the most important painting I have done and it does represent my transformation into a patient who can embrace and celebrate the goodness and the gifts I've received from advanced medical care. I am a person who kind of bridges both worlds because my parents had encouraged me to become a doctor, and I had an interest in biology and earned a degree in it. During high school, I had been awarded a fellowship from the American Cancer Society, and learned about disease by seeing actual tissues and organs in the pathology labs of a hospital. At the age I was when those decisions were made, I didn't have the courage to face the trauma that doctors see. After college, I worked for a neuro-anatomist as a research assistant at a university and sectioned tissues from brain studies. I did some drawings for publication as well as coordinated the lab and assisted all the grad students and post doctoral fellows who were doing research with the professor. Eventually, I left the lab to go to art school. That background gave me the ability to visualize and understand the problems I was having with my spine.

That foundation gave me a unique way to look at things which is why it made perfect sense to me to use my art as a way to discover a pathway to face my fears. I first heard of Mayo from a doctoral student in the lab. During the time I was looking for surgical help, I was reading medical journals, and I found what the other surgeons missed.

I knew that in coming to Mayo, I had found my destiny and my science background brought me there. Just walking in the door and seeing all the art work at Mayo helped me feel at home. I loved the artistry in the carved doors of the Plummer building and all the history of Mayo in the symbols and figures on the doors. I saw Dr. Fogelson as part of that history which is why I used the doors as a background for his portrait to represent Mayo's history behind him and his place in it. It also gave me a good design of complimentary color to set off the blue and white of his lab coat and scrubs.

There are many circles here in the images and the connections. He suggested the photo of us for the story in front of the stained glass at St. Mary's Hospital. That is where my day began waiting to be called for surgery after check in which again is symbolic as I circled back there in meeting him, and the blue in the glass related to the colors in the painting. Dr. Fogelson met me that day in-between his procedures so he was dressed like the painting. In the painting, his clasped hands form a circle that takes the viewer up to his face and back to his hands, and I painted him that way because he often does this. The symbols on the doors of the Plummer building have many circles, and I think that in following my path to Mayo, I circled back to embrace the medical career path that I didn't follow. In painting this for him, I wanted to match the excellence of his surgery with my painting skills. It was a big mountain that I needed to climb after not being able to paint due to my condition, and to be able to do this as the first post surgical painting was pure joy, and I cried when I knew that my artistic gift had been returned to me.

In the circle in the stained glass window behind me is another symbol (cropped out in the story). A friend pointed out the meaning of the Latin words on the stained glass window in the photo.. "DEVS MEVS ET OMNIA" which translated is "Mine prepares all" or "God is my all" and perhaps this is another reason that I was drawn to Mayo to be healed, and I think about the spiritual history of Mayo and the sisters who founded the hospital. The "fleur de lis" symbol in the stain glass represents "perfection, light and life." I do know that he was meant to be my doctor as much as I was meant to be his patient and we've learned from each other. I also see connecting with others here as completing this circle, and my wish to share my story as part of that circle.

Jennifer Hunter and Dr Fogelson at St Marys with portrait 3

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@gingerw

@jenniferhunter Great story. Kudos to you and the entire team at Mayo!
Ginger

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@gingerw Thank you, Ginger. It was meant to be.

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