Thanks to my patrons on Patreon and those who bought my art at my art show, it looks like I’ll be able to keep my home internet service.  Thanks so very much to all of you.

I haven’t been as productive as I’d like because I have a pinched sciatic nerve that’s left me in intense pain.   My doctor was out of town, so I had to go to a minor medical clinic then an orthopedic clinic.  Neither were very helpful. (I’ll write about that in a future post.)  I’ve spent a lot of my time flat on my back or propped up on pillows with my leg straight.  It’s the only way I can get even close to comfort.

I was afraid I’d have to cancel my show, but when my doctor returned, he gave me an anti-inflammatory shot, a prescription for anti-inflammatories, and increased my pain medication.  It hasn’t eliminated the pain but it gives me a few hours a day when I can get out of bed and do some creative work.  It gave me enough relief to have the show.  I didn’t get as many paintings finished as I’d like, but I had enough.  My son Timothy Allen showed his work, too.

I’ve always taken comfort and found pain relief in drawing and painting.  But for this bout of pain, I couldn’t do it.   I can’t sit down comfortably.  I can’t stand for long.  I’ve been able to accept my physical limitations in the past.  Using a wheelchair and a walker isn’t the worst fate in the world.  But without even that option, it was hard, hard.  If this was going to last forever, I’d ask my son to make me some sort of art station I could use in the bed.

I got a bed desk, so I could write, use my laptop, and prop my books up. (I’m getting a phenomenal amount of reading done.  Also watching movies til my brains ooze out my ears.)

But the bed isn’t very big, I can’t easily get up and fetch water or clean brushes.  Besides, I was in pain and depressed.  But for the hour or so I could get up, I worked on a piece exploring my feelings about having a long term disability.

I love drawing and painting hands.  A few years ago, I saw this piece by Portland artist Andrea Benson.  She creates amazing and insightful art using encaustic paint and layering techniques.   I got a postcard of this piece and it has been on my inspiration wall for a few years now.

String Theory: The Moment, 2008, Andrea Benson


I used the pose of the hands, though mine are less detailed.  I created a figure trying to understand herself.  It’s such a bitter thing to feel my own body is fighting me, is unraveling and there’s not a lot I can do about it.  Yet in the few hours I was able to work on this, I felt serenity.  I don’t have control over much of this life, and I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got.

She never knew
She Never Knew What to Make of Her Own Unraveling, Acrylic and collage, 8×10″

Art saves me over and over.  It doesn’t cure me though.  In this work I found a way to calm myself, to add a little hope and color to my unraveling.  I hope to make a bigger piece on this same theme when I get better.  This painting I’ll keep for myself.  An homage to the frailty of my body and the hope that when I’m released from the physical world, my elements will return to the earth and blossom.


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7 thoughts on “Unraveling

  1. Beautifully expressed, Joy. I experienced that kind of pain from my messy spine. It’s brutal. A burst of five days of prednisone helped me a lot.

    1. I have been offered steroids, but I’m afraid to take them because of my mental health issues. I’m looking for alternatives from my neurologist next week. Steroids will be a last resort for me. Glad they helped you. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the link. It’s a great blog and gave me ideas on how to keep arting around while I’m spending so much time in bed. Thanks, also, for the good vibes from Wales. Hope it warms up a little.

  2. All you need is “The Miracle Ball Method.” Go to Elaine Petrone’s website and purchase it – comes with two, 4-inch vinyl balls filled with air, and a small square full color photo’d instruction booklet: elainepetrone.com All you do is lie on them and audibly breathe, letting gravity do the “work.” Never used meds. Check it out!!

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