health care

Healing Art: The Saint Catherine's Collection

 As 2018 came to a close, so did the installation of the final pieces of Saint Catherine’s collection at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, MA. Twenty of my images are now permanently housed on the walls of this medical/surgical ward.

At a reception to celebrate the installation it was gratifying hear from the nursing and support staff about how this art makes them feel, and what they observe as they walk past it day after day. Conversations with visitors in a gallery setting usually center on technique and artistic considerations. With the hospital staff the discussion was about the spirit and power of water, the calming power of imagery and the respect and beauty to be found in all stages of life. 

When patients come onto the Saint Catherine’s ward, their welcome packet now includes a brochure about the artwork in the hallways. For patients and their families these images are places to rest their eyes, to focus on something non-medical, and to be a destination for the challenging post surgical walking that is key to recovery.

I feel privileged and honored to be part of this program.

Guanjuato Musings

You can’t paint any country with just a few brush strokes. In contrast to news stories that paint all of Mexico as a place of narco-trafficking violence, there is a world of civilized services and practices here that are totally missing in the “supposedly” safe USA. 

Safe, clean, affordable bus transportation is one of them.  Twenty years ago, the government abandoned its rail service and put those funds to work to create a bus system that really works.  Imagine, clean well maintained and staffed bus stations, wifi, tv and ipads for rent on buses.  Here you can you can buy your ticket online with a reserved seat.  It is not necessary to arrive an hour early to stand inline hoping for a seat.

Last weekend we took a first class bus from San Miguel to Guanajuato.  It is about the same distance as it from our home in Dartmouth to Boston.  Before we boarded, a uniformed employee of Primera Plus bus company, made sure the arriving bus was clean and placed new antimacassars on each seat. The seats were large and comfortable – unlike airline seats, you can actually recline without giving the person behind you claustrophia or a panic attack.  Wide shouldered guys like David are not hanging over the adjacent seat.  The windows have shades, as well as curtains, and the AC works fine. The round trip cost was less than a one-way ticket from New Bedford to Boston.  Yesterday’s first class buses are retired to become second class buses…

While American health care is supposedly the envy of the world, Mexico does a thriving business in providing health care to foreigners who travel here for procedures that cost 2-10 times more in the US: dental implants, cosmetic and other non urgent surgeries.  In the last few weeks, no fewer than four of my San Miguel acquaintances have told me about the dermatologist they visit here every year.  She gives them a thorough exam and removes all suspicious moles etc for not much more than my co-pay at home.  I have a “pretty good” Blue Cross PPO but between co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles, the same service in Massachusetts will cost me hundreds of dollars above the premium I have already paid. 

If you look, the picture is always richer, deeper and more finely nuanced–but the 24/7 news cycle won’t slow down enough to see what is really there.