Member stories

TLN member stories: A healing garden for canines

Corrie the Cairn Terrier in his "healing garden."

Corrie, enjoying some outdoor respite.

Who says healing gardens are just for people? Thanks to Marijean Stephenson, an RN and TLN member, for sharing this story:

One of my Cairn Terriers, Corrie, recently sustained a serious pelvic and spinal cord injury after being hit by a car. I returned home after working a night shift and found him at my doorstep, just waiting for me. While I was at work, Corrie had dug under the fence surrounding the yard and went out onto the road. He had apparently returned to that same place he had earlier escaped after sustaining his injury and scooted up to the doorstep of my house.

Corrie has been spending the past few days in a large veterinary ICU (Veterinary Referral Medical and Surgical Care) in Indianapolis. His prognosis is surprisingly good: he will not require surgery to repair his multiple fractures, and will eventually be able to romp around the yard like he normally had done. I had thought I would have to euthanize my dog. I still cannot believe this miracle.

After I got off work early yesterday evening, I drove to the hospital to visit him (this place has visitation 24/7). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Corrie had been taken outside to their “healing garden” area by the veterinary staff. (more…)

“One plant and one deep breath” – TLN member stories

Photo by J.J.The Therapeutic Landscapes Network recently put a call out for stories or quotes about how contact with nature (or the lack thereof) affects them. We didn’t give many parameters; the stories could be about passive connection (sitting or walking in nature, or even viewing it from indoors) or active (gardening). We received some beautiful responses, some of which will be published in the book on therapeutic landscapes in the healthcare setting that Clare Cooper Marcus and I are co-authoring. Here is the first story in our series:

I was recently diagnosed most surprisingly with early stage breast cancer. Surprisingly because I had had a manual exam the month before with negative results. I have since had, as this was a rapid diagnostic clinic, an operation and follow up treatment is to start soon. Part of the personal issue with stage one is it can be hard to give myself credit for the impact of the diagnosis as I keep running into people with stages three and four. As a social worker I can find myself sometimes giving comfort to others. I have sought out my own social worker for this reason and she has been wonderful.  It is also on my balcony garden of tall tall bean plants, impatients, daisies and other flowering plants that I am able to rest and take in the impact and ramifications of what has happened over the last five weeks. I allow myself all the wild emotions and thoughts, as well as  the gratitude for the early diagnosis. It is also where I do body scans and meditation. It is through the beautiful breeze in the leaves that I feel complete and relaxed and it is with the visual stimulation of the colours and the shapes that I feel stimulated and optimistic. I am surrounded by an incredible array of natural healing sights and sounds. Who knew a little garden on a tiny tiny urban balcony on the ninth floor could be so important and healing. All it takes is one plant and one deep breath and I am deeply grounded and the world seems right again.

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