Fay Ballard – Wednesday 26th July 2017 – Auchi Dialysis Unit, Hammersmith Hospital

Artist Fay Ballard is leading a weekly creative workshop with dialysis patients at Hammersmith Hospital. She is writing a weekly blog in response to her experiences.

Deborah was eating a piece of toast and after settling down was ready to start. She looked carefully at the colour photocopies of the ward staff I’d brought in and began laughing at the possibilities running through her mind. Picking up a copy of Metro, she scanned the pages, chuckling, as she cut out suitable images to make her collage. She decided to work on A3 paper and very soon bits of newsprint covered her lap, bed and table. Barely able to keep up with her quick mind and agile cutting, I glued down the juxtaposition of images she saw. Busy at work, Deborah was thinking out loud hilarious captions to accompany the collages. Soon we had filled two sheets of paper with an assortment of images. Giggling, we were having huge fun. Then suddenly she felt unwell and our art making came to an immediate stop. The nurses made her as comfortable as possible and everything was cleared away in seconds. I knelt down gently next to her face and said we could continue on my return from holiday. She smiled warmly through her excruciating pain, looking forward to our next session. What a brave woman.

When I arrived this morning Michael had shown me a fine drawing he’d carefully made of the ward and asked if the perspective looked right. We reminded ourselves of the rules and then made a few adjustments. Next we altered a foreshortened door and added two bins standing at interesting angles. After being with Deborah, I checked in and found Michael had added some more features which were in perspective. We were delighted and then chatted.

Cheryl was awake and receiving medication. We talked and agreed to complete her picture on my return. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to talk at length to Olive and Irving. We touched base just before the porters came to take them home.

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