On Display in Mid-Missouri: The healing arts and hearts at work in Jefferson City

Featured Sliders / Home Essentials / Stories / July 17, 2019

By Jimmy Mustion

Jimmy Mustion

There are many artists who help heal through their talents and those who heal with a kind, caring heart in Jefferson City. In this article, we will feature just a handful of those amazing individuals through their own shared stories.

Dr. David Lancaster, photographer

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing medicine is working with people who have had life-altering events and help them to regain their function. I am a physiatrist, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation: or as I like to call myself, “A doctor of function.”

I have the pleasure to work with a fantastic group of nurses, therapists and social workers at Capital Region Medical Center on the rehabilitation unit. As a team, we take care of people who have had a disease or traumatic event that has caused a functional impairment such as hemiparesis, fractured bones, inability to speak or swallow. We work together with the patients to teach them to overcome their injuries. The physical therapists help with ambulation, balance and endurance. They teach the patients how to walk with assistive devices such as a walker or cane, and how to go up and down stairs.

David Lancaster’s photograph “Girl Swimming.” Submitted

Occupational therapists assist with activities of daily living. These are the daily routines everyone performs such as grooming, dressing, cooking. They will focus on fine motor skills while manipulating small objects like buttoning a shirt. If there are speech, or cognitive impairments, the speech therapists help with fluent speech, cognitive processing, or abstract thinking. For dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing, the therapists help by using swallowing exercises, and strategies to prevent aspiration.

Once the patients finish with their daily therapy, the nurses have specialized training and help to re-enforce what has been taught during the therapy sessions. The nurses do this in addition to monitoring their patients and administering medication. As the patients transition closer to discharge back home, the social workers play a key role is setting up all the social support systems including home health, special equipment and aids to help with activities of daily living.

As the medical director, I am involved with the medical care and coordination of medical specialists that may need to be consulted. To be successful, it involves a close working relationship with the entire team. We meet every day for a team meeting and discuss the progress of every patient and to try to identify barriers and how to overcome them in order to make the patients as independent as possible.

Cindy Lowell, RMA

I have been employed with Capital Region Medical Center for 16 years as a registered medical assistant. I was fortunate to have been able to go back to school at age 40 (after losing my factory job of 21 years due to the company moving out of the country).

Being a nurse to me means showing up for work and doing the best I can to care for my patients, whether that means giving a hug, a touch of my hand, nurture, prepare, teach or just to listen to them. Being a nurse is wanting to exercise your skills in the arena you were taught in to the best of your ability, and showing dignity to the patients and families during their time of need.

Nurses earn the trust of patients, families and communities so therefore are privileged to hear their stories. Their stories point us in the right direction to find the most effective scientific evidence to guide our practice to helping them. Once we know the practice, we can act with care. When patients get warm care, they are more likely to engage in successful behavior change, and more likely to be adherent.

Dr. David Lancaster with Cindy Lowell, RMA. Submitted

During my childhood, I always wanted to help people in any way I could, I always wanted to give back. My grandma, Addie Loethen, was my mentor growing up; my grandparents had so much love for each and every one. When I was about 13 years old, I had visions of being a nurse and my grandma was so supportive even to the point of after graduation helping me get into nursing school. When I was 16 or 17, my grandmother developed health issues and was diagnosed with diabetes. Grandma needed to take insulin injections every day. My grandma needed someone to give her the injections and I was happy to do that for her. I remember so many years ago (40 to be exact) having to learn to give the injections on an orange at the hospital before I was able to give injections to my grandma. Unfortunately, my grandma passed away my senior year of high school and my nursing dreams were put on hold. Now, 40 years later I am living out my dreams and hope to continue for many more.

Life takes people in many directions but to be able to come full circle is an awesome feeling. I know my Grandma Loethen is with me every single moment of every single day and I can only hope I am making her proud.

Artist Leann Porello, executive director of Capital Arts Gallery

Everyone can benefit from having art as a part of their life. Art heals the mind, body and soul from the everyday struggles we all face.

Capital Arts wanted to implement a program for our community that focused on those healing methodologies by using art. Art Heals is a community-focused art program dedicated to transform, heal and empower individuals through the arts. Art heals by changing a person’s physiology from one of stress to one of deep relaxation. Capital Arts works with existing organizations in Jefferson City that could best benefit from group art therapy sessions including cancer survivors, domestic and sexual assault survivors, those with developmental disabilities, trauma survivors, recovering addicts and elderly communities.

Executive Director of the Capital Arts Gallery Leann Porello displays “The Mask” created through the Art Heals program. Submitted

Our program will draw from existing traditional art therapy practice methodologies, however Art Heals is not and will not be a licensed therapy program. Instead, to ensure accessibility, programming will focus on community visual art creation as a medium for expression over traditional “talk” therapies.
A few methodologies we use are collage, “how do you feel right now”, sculpture, group creation and visual journaling. Within these methodologies we have many different types of projects that can be customized to the participants needs. We provide all of the teachers, supplies, venue, etc. at no cost to the groups participating. We also have designed the program to be mobile, so we are able to do Art Heals sessions at other locations, which can be more comfortable for some of the participants.

We are so proud of this community-focused program and how it can really enrich everyone’s life. You do not have to have any art experience or knowledge to participate in our program. Our trained volunteers will walk you through all the steps to help create.

If you or anyone you know can benefit from this program, please reach out to us at Capital Arts. Our mission is to encourage, promote and support the arts in our community. Use your creativity to tap into your innate power from growth and healing.

Jack’s Stroke Survivors Rehab Team

In February 2002, Jack had three stents installed in his heart. He was told to head for the hospital if he felt anything was wrong. Things seemed to be going well, until Jack woke up on July 4, 2002. He was feeling dizzy and decided to check his blood pressure. Jack’s blood pressure was elevated so he took three children’s aspirins. This, the doctors told him, was helpful in preventing his stroke from being any worse and now he takes aspirin every day. Feeling confused he was rushed to the hospital. He described the almost four-hour ordeal, from realizing something was wrong through actually having his stroke at Capital Region Medical Center around 11:30 a.m. The emergency protocol for stroke victims in 2002 was not what it is today, largely due to Jack’s work lobbying for updates in procedure for incoming stroke victims.

Jack spent a week in ICU after his stroke. He could not move any part of the right side of his body. Jack spent six weeks of intensive rehab before he began to recover. He worked with two physical therapists, one for his upper body and one for his lower body. The woman who worked on the upper body rehab with Jack has now passed. Her passing gives even more meaning to what Jack has accomplished since his stroke.

Jack has formed his own active stroke survivors group. This group consists of stroke and heart attack survivors, who aid in the recovery of
other heart attack and stroke victims. The group changes over the years but has maintained five members. Jack has inspired the people he has worked with and has been inspired by each new challenge. Thank you, Jack, for the volunteered hours your group has put in helping other people with the same challenges.

Derek Ross, physical therapist’s assistant

Every patient comes to us with a unique set of needs and circumstances. No two days are ever the same. There is always something new to learn, and the opportunity to apply new knowledge and techniques to future patients keeps me engaged in my work.

The most satisfying part of my job is seeing our patients overcome adversity to achieve their goals. It is truly a privilege and pleasure to be
allowed into our patient’s lives at a time when they are vulnerable and help guide them to where they want to be.

Sara Krull, hospital volunteer

I began volunteering in earnest when my husband retired 19 years ago. We made the obligatory move to Florida, and once all the boxes
were unpacked and the dust had settled, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands.

After spending six years working at the St. Louis University School of Nursing, I knew I wanted to be in a health care environment again, so I got a volunteer job at a local hospital. My job was to deliver and pick up menus for patients on Saturdays. The first few times I went, I felt like I was just in the way. Nurses snatched papers from my hands and quickly brushed past me. I almost quit, but I knew the job had to be done, so I kept at it and grew more comfortable each week.

I met a lot of interesting people, and soon felt like I was really helping the patients, with more than just menus, I might add. When we moved back to Jefferson City, I knew I wanted to continue my volunteer work at a hospital. I contacted Capital Region Medical Center, and before I knew what hit me, I was knee deep in volunteering. I love being part of a great team. I love the connection I have with the staff and other volunteers. I love knowing that I am helpful to others. I love having a purpose. There are so many people in this world with problems far greater than anything I have ever encountered and for me, volunteering is way to give back and be thankful for a good life.

Erika Gerth, volunteers in outpatient surgery waiting room

Service to others has always been a core principle for my life, so it should come as no surprise that I chose to become a nurse, and later, an early childhood educator.

After years of raising a family and working full time, I found myself with time to pursue other interests, and joining the partners at Capital Region Medical Center became a reality. Serving in the outpatient surgery waiting room and facilitating communication between the medical staff and the patients’ families provides not only a valuable service for the hospital but is deeply satisfying on a personal level. Factor in the joy of working with volunteer services coordinator Karen Sholes and her cadre of amazing volunteers, it is easy to see why serving as a CRMC partner is truly a win-win situation!

Mid-Missouri art happenings

The Village Art Studio still has a summer camp available for children ages 6 and older. The “Ole Mexico” themed camp is from July 22-26. The studio also offers a variety of classes available throughout the year and for birthday parties and gatherings for all ages. For more information, call 573-230-1414 or visit thevillageartstudio.com.

Capital Arts Gallery, 1203 Missouri Blvd., will have a “Creative Collaboration” exhibit open through Aug  6. The art will be made by groups of artists, not just one artist. The collaboration of multiple artists will open new perspectives. For more information, call 573-635-8355 or email artsadmin@capitalarts.org. The gallery is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Rick Jey hosts documentaries of regional, national and international artisans relating to all aspects of the arts. “Spotlight On The Arts” gives you a 30-minute, in-depth interview with an artist, while “Mid-Missouri Art News” features two guests for 15 minutes each. Taped at JCTV on the Lincoln University campus, the programs are available to view on CenturyLink or Mediacom public access chanels or on the “JCTVAccess” YouTube channel.

Larry Carver has released a series of videos each having a melodic tour meandering through compositional elements of his paintings. By pausing the video at each element, viewers will be able to produce their own versions of these works of art. Carver works in acrylic paint (a water soluble paint that dries quickly) on canvas. To access these videos, visit Cindy Powell Carver’s Facebook page. A new painting and video is posted about once a month. In addition, “The Game of Their Lives” can be seen on the Facebook page and in the hardbound North Light Book, “AcrylicWorks6” published this summer and available at amazon.com.

The SilverSmith’s Design Co. in Tipton, Missouri, is run Debbie and Sarah Smith. Debbie designs and re-designs handmade clothing, which can also be created from repurposed clothing. Both Sarah and Debbie make personalized jewelry they have recently started making personalized antique spoon and fork rings. These may be made of your antique silver or you may pick from their selection. They also have eclectic antique furniture. The shop, located at 11272 Highway 50, are typically open the first Friday and Saturday each month. For more information, call 660-473-1750 or visit them on Facebook and Instagram, @TheSilverSmiths.

The Columbia Art League is holding its “Members Summer Open” through Aug. 9. This exhibit features the artwork of the many league members. The “The Child Within” exhibit will follow from Aug. 3 through Oct. 8. The artists explore the aspects of the child that still remains in them, though they are adults. The gallery, 207 9th St. in Columbia, is open from 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 573-443-8838 or visit columbiaartleague.org.

The Mid-Missouri Art Alliance of Ashland is hosting their Summer Art Show series, beginning with “Two To Tango.” What does that bring to mind when you hear it for the first to? This is what the artist will explain through their work in this show. Stop by Mid-Missouri Arts Alliance’s gallery, 115 E. Broadway in Ashland, from 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, or by appointment. For more information, call 573-657-0711 or visit www.midmissouriartsalliance.com.

The Sedalia Visual Arts Association maintains a rotating art exhibit at The Sedalia City Hall in Sedalia Municipal Building 200 S. Osage, Sedalia, and featuring two new artists every two months. The association will also host a show at the Doddard Gallery at Daum Museum of Contemporary Art at State Fair College in Sedalia from through Aug. 18, with a reception from 6-8 p.m. June 27. For more information, visit sedaliavisualartassociation.org.

The Jefferson City featured artist is Brandy Racker through Aug. 8. View a collection of her artwork at the club’s website, jeffersoncityartclub-missouri.com and in an exhibit at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 1617 Southridge. The facility is open from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Jimmy Mustion is a professional artist based in Jefferson City who is involved in area arts organizations and galleries.

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