Mandie Bell, Reflected Memories, Acrylic on canvas, 2020
Mandie Bell | Student Reflection
The patient I interviewed was an active member of her community. Socially, she was an active golf player and regularly connected with her many friends. She has a vision disorder known as macular degeneration. This has put her social life on hold and contributed to many falls and ambulatory restrictions. As a result of the falls, she has spent a considerable time in Ballina Hospital receiving treatment and rehabilitation. She appreciated and enjoyed the rehabilitation program as it revitalised her social life.
During our reflection together, a highlight of her life and the family engagement was centred around Cronulla Beach. Her husband was a Life Member of the Surf Club and three generations of her family spent many years at Cronulla Beach.
My painting is based on this lady’s circumstances and her long, meaningful connection with Cronulla Beach. I have used this as the basis of my concept to convey the treasured memories that enrich her current life. The project has been a great opportunity to explore the problems of figurative painting and to produce an image so fondly held in the patient’s memory.
Patient Story | 'Broken Sight'
I led a very active lifestyle. I played golf, walked, did swimming and crosswords. My eyesight has decreased with macular degeneration and it has greatly impacted on my life. I can’t see things now and have an increasing number of falls, fractures and hospitalisations. My last injury occurred when I fell in the shower. I was left there for a long time and was confused. I felt angry and disappointed with myself being silly enough to fall over. I had worked so hard to get back to normal. It’s a double whammy; the injuries and poor eyesight. The last 3 years have been traumatic. I became depressed. I could not visit my family and have trouble getting in and out of cars. I have tried to be positive and made myself do things I wouldn’t have normally done. I am slowly getting my confidence back since the last fall. My day-to-day living has been affected. I am a real sea person - I miss the ocean.
Advice to others: “You try have to stay positive and do everything they ask you to do and cooperate; you definitely have to go with the flow”.
Macular degeneration is associated with ageing and the leading cause of legal blindness in Australia. It is possible to reduce the risk of losing sight by adopting a healthy lifestyle and having your eyes regularly tested. For more information, visit Macular Degeneration Foundation Australia