Windows, wellbeing, stitching and cancer

A room without a view

When I was in hospital I was in a room without a view and it felt extremely claustrophobic. It wasn’t very helpful to my sense of wellbeing. On a very simple level looking beyond one’s physical environment can shift perspective. It seems counter-intuitive to cut people off from the outside world.

This week I read about Danielle Raffaele an artist creating windows of healing by combining Indian and Japanese spirituality with medical science. Medical science shows that patients with a view heal faster. I find Raffaele’s approach interesting – creating physical pieces to change the dynamics of the space. I wonder what feedback she will get. We know from the Maggie Centres and also best practice in dementia that design matters to people and helps with orientation and contributes to wellbeing so it is more than likely that anything that Raffaele attempts at personalizing the space will help patients.

I prepared for going into hospital

One of the things I did was to treat myself to lots of wool and materials to crochet with. I planned to crochet lots of strands – simple, undemanding, repetitive actions. I wanted to do something tactile and with colour. I wanted to personalize my space in a manageable way. I was concerned about the process of making rather than what I would ultimately create from the strands. I know it kept me sane. I was really scared the morning of the operation – the waiting is terrible. You know you are going to be put to sleep but you are so awake and on edge before that sleep –it is exhausting – beyond rest. I crocheted while I waited and waited while I crocheted. Lonely and trance like – each stitch got me through the moment.

Benefits of stitching

I am not alone in enjoying the benefits of stitching. On the last Knit a Year on-line chatter Beth Barlow shared a blog on the book Surviving Survival. I learnt from that blog that knitting influences change in brain pathways, which can lead to the knitter feeling calmer. You say knitter, I say crocheter.

Whether you stitch or not I recommend you find a physical or virtual window to see you through the difficult moments.

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5 thoughts on “Windows, wellbeing, stitching and cancer

  1. Thanks Marcy. Keeps me sane and sometimes even content! Your quilt sounds intriguing – a form of crafitvisim?

    Some time after my treatment i participated in the Exquisite Uterus Project (great name don’t you think) http://klebesadel.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/the-art-of-resistance-the-exquisite-uterus/. An opportunity to stitch a uterus. I don’t do much embroidery but it was one of the most liberating things i have done. The physical nature of putting the needle in the material and working with the shape of the uterus was fantastic. I then sent it off and after the exhibition it was going to be sewn into blankets and sent off on another journey.

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