Saturday, November 22, 2014

Creative Practice Wk 5 - Carving out time to say 'Thank You'.

This week, we focused on cultural competency and what it means. In a hospital, there is a diverse group of culture and we need to be sensitive and respectful of people’s individual culture. Sheha Kilay gave us 4 tips on cultural competency with different cultural background.  1) Observe first and mirror the body language, 2) Appreciate the differences, 3) Don’t stereotype, 4) Be patient. These tips are great, but I was wondering what would be a universal in all culture.  Saying ‘thank you’ is a universal way of showing appreciation and respect.

Most patients feel grateful and want to give back to doctors, nurses, staff members, family and/or friends.  Some hospitals have a ‘conflict of interest’ clause by preventing staff from receiving monetary gifts from patients. One way for patients to show their gratitude is by making cards. Card making can brighten the day of someone else. Making a ‘Thank You’ can be therapeutic and fun. The therapeutic aspect of card making comes from relaxing, being productive, and keeping busy while spreading good cheers to others. It provides an outlet for creative expression which release important feelings or thoughts, allowing patients a voice to move forward. Making and giving cards is a great art form for connecting with people in the patients’ lives.

Instead of using store bought stamps and using stickers, I thought that patients would like to make their own stamps. Stamp making is easy and doesn't require toxic supplies. Here are the supplies needed: 1) A slab of SpeedyBall speedy carve, 2) SpeedyBall lino-cutters, 3) A pencil and a drawing to transfer onto the Speedy carve, 4) Ink to stamp the final product.

It is fun carving chunks out of linoleum because it takes you into a zone and makes you forget your worries. To start, you want to keep in mind that your stamp will print in reverse. Transfer your drawing onto the speedy carve and start carving off the areas you don’t want. I made a quick video for an example. Remember that anything raised will stamp so do a sample stamp on an old paper.  I made a card that states ‘you still give me butterflies’. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Creative Practice Fall B Wk 3 - Rhythmic Movement

With the concept of being productive while confined in a room or while waiting for news from doctors, I recently started a knitting program at my hospital to provide an alternative to waiting, loneliness and/or boredom. This program is an opportunity for patients to take back control by choosing how complex or simple the project should be with varieties of patterns, colors, combinations and textures.
I have been told by many people that they find knitting fun and that they enjoy making wash clothes as Christmas gifts. I have been told that knitting is a therapeutic art that uses the rhythmic movement of the knitting needles to bring relaxations to the mind and body. I have been told that it helps relieve stress while being productive. I have been told that the repetition contributes to a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
This week, I sat with the knitting facilitator to learn how to knit. At first, I was very excited. I was told to start creating a wash cloth, but I didn’t want to waste time making a wash cloth. I wanted to learn how to make knee cuffs to go under my boots. Little did I know how hard it would be!  It was really hard for me. First, the facilitator is left-handed so she taught me backwards, then she tried to show me the opposite way so I can knit right-handed. That just got me really confused. She started me off by casting the first row for me. Then I had to work on the second row on my own, because there were others waiting to learn. As I tried knitting on my own, somehow, I turned into a Tourette patient. My mouth was spewing out the ‘F’ word left and right. The last time I used the ‘F’ word was at least 9 years ago. I noticed my shoulders tightening up, my fingers choking the knitting needles and me holding my breath. It was stressful because I wanted to know how to knit instantly. I have been told that it’s relaxing! It wasn’t! It was stressful.
Two days later, after watching a YouTube Video, I had to learn how to cast my first line on my own, because I kept frogging it (ripping it out) and starting over. This photo is of my 7th attempt. I still feel like I am doing it wrong, but I have noticed that I am more relaxed and my fingers are starting to knit by itself. Maybe when I am not such a perfectionist, I might truly be able to enjoy knitting. In the meantime, I will just take patients’ words as to how therapeutic it is for them.

Here is the YouTube video I watched:
After 7 Attempts

My Aspiring Final Product