Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Unbelievable Blessing;Painting for Cancer Patients

Three years ago I was recovering from a serious illness. I suffered from chronic fatigue and intractable pain. But I had been making progress in my recovery and I had reached a point when I wondered if I could push myself to do more and not make myself sicker.

I decided to volunteer at my local hospital. During an orientation program I heard the Oncology Clinical Social Worker talk about an art program that she needed artists for. I am so grateful I decided to check it out.

Now when I go to the hospital I carry a tote bag with my paints, brushes, and volunteer name tag. I ride the elevator up to the fourth floor and head to Tracie’s office. She is the oncology ward social worker. She has a small list for me of patients who may enjoy having a painting done. I get the “art cart” which holds the rest of the supplies I need and head to a patient’s room.

That patient decides what kind of painting they would like. Usually it will be a painting of a favorite place, either a childhood memory or a well remembered vacation spot. I set up my equipment and start to ask questions. What kind of flowers are in the garden you remember? What color was the sand on the beach! Were the mountains snow capped? I try to get my patient to be as specific as possible. And while they are answering my questions, they remember all kinds of things they may have forgotten.

And we talk. And I ask more questions, and before we know it, they are smiling and talking in an animated way. They are happy recalling the events that took place and the people they love and, for a little while, the chemo therapy drip fades away. Their mind’s eye no longer sees the bed with the sterile white covers and maybe they forget that they’re old and bald and sick.

After an hour or so, they seem more relaxed and so glad that we had our talk. And I present their painting to them and they are so happy! I tape it to the wall and they have something to bring home that is a happy memory.

I pack up my kit, and stow it on the art cart. I go back into the room and shake their hand, and smile, and tell them I will be praying for them. And sometimes I’ll give them a wee kiss.

I don’t think I could feel better than I do as walk out of that room, knowing that I have made a difference in that person’s life.

I am blessed because they are blessed.

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3 comments:

Giftbearer said...

Wow, what a great project!

Fishstikks said...

What a wonderful story!

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

That is such an amazing thing you give to people! I am sure you give them a much needed repreave.

LIFE IS JUST SO FULL OF COOL STUFF!

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Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States
My nane is Judy and I've been a christian for more than 3/4 of my life. I believe in redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that God, the Spirit lives in me and gives me the power to do His will and to live a joyful life. I have a Godly husband, a grown son and daughter. I live on a farm with 3 goats, 2 chickens, 2 horses, a cat, a dog and a python. I am an artist and a singer. I was a full time stay at home mom, the hardest job you'll ever love! I have two handmade shops on Etsy. Leaning on the Promises www.leaningonthepromises.etsy.com (Hand Painted Walking Canes) and Beaver Creek Pottery www.beavercreekpottery.etsy.com and an Etsy shop for selling Vintage and Antiques. Jersey Pine Pickers www.jerseypinepickers.etsy.com I post about my relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, about the things He teaches me, delights me with and how He uses me.