Fay Ballard – Wednesday 24th January 2018 – 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.

Last week Deborah had talked about her niece, Vicky, and her new career as a fashion blogger. She hadn’t seen Vicky for some time, remembering fondly changing her nappies, and I’d suggested finding her site on my iPad. Success! Deborah thought she had identified her, and we sent a message using the family nickname.

After leaving the Ward last week, Vicky emailed back a question: ‘Is that you Do Dah?’ and I explained Deborah’s circumstances.

This week I debriefed a very delighted Deborah and we sent Vicky several photos of the Deborah with her collage, allowing myself time to introduce the iPad and its magical powers to Deborah. A reply came instantly. Wonderful! They were back in contact.

I’d been thinking about the American artist, Cindy Sherman, and her photos where she places herself in various disguises. Could we dress up and take selfies together using my mobile and send these to Vicky if I brought in some clobber next week? Brilliant! And we shared happy memories of dressing up in silly hats and jumping on beds in department stores and fancy hotels.

Tina was keen to draw her Disneyland scene and began by imagining the Magic Kingdom with its multiple pink and blue towers. Then Mickey Mouse and Goofy. She’d taken a trip to Paris and had gone up the Eiffel Tower, but would have preferred visiting the Magic Kingdom instead.

‘Who’s your favourite character? I asked. ‘Donald Duck. Who’s yours!’ she replied. ‘Minnie Mouse!’

She then sang a wonderful rendition of U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, and I had to join in.

Michael woke and was eager to continue his painstaking watercolour. I brought in a special flat brush today and we used this to define the lines of the beach huts, adding colours to each one as we worked. Next we began adjusting some of the colours elsewhere. Such careful, slow work. And worth every minute we agreed.

The hospital Rabbi, Ari, came to see Michael’s work after hearing about it from other patients. Bowled over, he asked if he could buy one.

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