On to music and literary arts

My second day at Shands started very early, visiting the adult Dialysis Unit with the wonderful Madeline Austin. It's so obvious the joy these patients get from the work Madeline does with them. Some of them have been coming to the unit three to four times a week for dialysis for over 20 years! Madeline does a variety of visual arts based projects with the patients and the ward is decorated with cranes the patients have been folding in addition to making cards, writing personal reflections and decorating Madeline's funky stuffed gloves on a stick ( I guess you had to be there!). From there I went with Mary Lisa to the paediatric Dialysis Unit, where she was working with the kids on a variety of different projects. I must say the kids I met were all amazing artists.........their drawing and painting skills were very impressive! In addition they were a really friendly bunch of kids who seemed to enjoy the fact that I "talk funny"!

Lunch was in the Wilmot Healing Gardens where Cathy DeWitt (Musician in Residence) and her band "Patchwork" entertained an audience of patients, staff and carers. This provides a great opportunity for people to get out of the hospital and relax amongst the trees, with some great music and just reconnect with nature........a rare opportunity for some of them. After the concert Cathy took me over to AGH, which is another campus of Shands, but was originally the local community hospital. Here I met Barbara Esrig (Writer in Residence) and we talked a lot about her Oral Histories program........something very close to my own heart! The three of us spent some time with an extraordinary patient who is an author and poet and who entertained us by reciting a very moving poem he had written and then talked about his own personal story..........people really amaze me sometimes......how talented they are and how ready to tell their stories, all they need is someone to listen!
Barbara showed me the AGH history installation she had put together, which documents the development of the site from its beginnings and we talked a lot about the importance of history and legacy......a woman of my own heart!

My day finished with a trip to the Farmers Market, downtown and then I met up with Mary Lisa, her husband Lance, Cathy, Annie and her hubby Keith and Barbara for a lovely relaxing dinner and a couple of wines at a local Japanese restaurant. A fitting end to another extraordinary day. Photo of Barbara at the AGH History installation. Photo 2 of Barbara, Anne, me and Mary Lisa at dinner.

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