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a person using art supplies while bedridden in the hospital

My Art Theory

Prior to being diagnosed with NMO, I didn’t have many artistic hobbies. Meaning when I tried to do anything in art class - like paint, draw, pottery, or anything else - it wasn’t very good. Art was not something I enjoyed. I found it to be quite boring. When I was diagnosed with NMO in the hospital and started to regain movement in my upper limbs, they gave me art supplies. The kits had many things, such as drawing supplies like colored pencils, markers, crayons, and paint. I took out the canvas and the pencils and began drawing.

In the hospital with NMO

At that point, I was still very much going through an NMO attack. Nurses and doctors were coming to check on me every 30 to 45 minutes. The reasons they came varied.

So many "visitors"

Gastrointestinal doctors would come in to talk to me about my valve issues and give updates on things that they thought would help. I got blood work done every couple of hours. I was still getting IV medication, so that needed to be changed out quite frequently. I had a catheter, so I was still getting that fixed every time it gave me discomfort. It's probably because I had never had one before.

Stuck with NMO, hello artistic creativity

I was pretty much stuck in one stationary area. But still, I was so grateful that I had movement in my arms - and that they brought those art supplies in. I didn’t think I would use the supplies. Sitting there, so bored and having nothing else to do, I thought, "Why not?" I started to draw a hummingbird.

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Whenever someone came into my room, they asked how long I had been an artist. It took me aback! That’s something I’ve never heard in my life.

I never thought of myself as an artist

Actually, I’ve always heard the opposite. Being an athlete was definitely my high point - not art. Jokingly, my art teachers would say this. And I definitely agreed! When I heard this in the hospital, it intrigued me to see what else I could do.

Organs with talent: A story

Over the past five years since my NMO diagnosis, I’ve seen my drawings and paintings get so much better with each piece that I’ve made. It makes me wonder about something I saw on TV. It was about people that receive organ transplants - most often life-saving ones. They inherit traits that they didn’t know they had before, like talents in music, athletics, math, and even art.

The singing liver

One lady said that when she had received a liver transplant, she took on the ability to sing. She was intrigued because she was a scientist. She was able to track down her donor. It was a young woman that was an opera teacher and was known for her magnificent voice before she passed away in a car accident.

A heart for piano

The lady was stunned at what she heard. She decided to do a research study to see if others had the same experience she went through. One case she found was of a small boy who received a heart transplant.

He was just 4 years old. The boy had never touched a piano in his life. After the heart transplant, when he was healing at home, he decided to hop on the bench of the family piano. It was the first time he had done this.

His parents just thought he would toy around, and from the other room, they heard him playing a song. It was from the noise machine that he used at night. This little boy was playing the song exactly how it was written. His parents were shocked! They ran into the other room and watched the young boy. He wasn’t stunned by his talents. More so, he was doing something that he felt was natural.

After my NMO treatment, there was art in my blood

After the researcher found this out, she began to wonder if the same thing could happen to people with blood transfusions and plasma exchange. In the hospital, I had a plasma exchange for my very severe NMO attack. The day after, I was well enough to move my limbs, and the nurses brought me art supplies. That's when I drew the picture of the hummingbird. I wonder now if I had gone through something similar to the lady and the young boy.

This also interested me to see if other people with plasma exchange in the NMO community went through the same thing. Funny enough, I found several stories that align with mine!

Art relieves the stress of NMO and life

Art has become such a passion of mine for the past five years, and through my periods of not feeling good because of NMO. Whether I'm in the hospital or in the ER, or just long periods of being bedridden, I always lean towards art to get me through. Now that I have started to lead a somewhat typical life, art is something I do to relax from the daily stressors. Art is something I was never able to do to help my stress before. This is just one more thing NMOSD has taught me!

I often wonder about the person that gave me their plasma. They saved my life. Were they an artist? I'll never know it, but I often lean toward it and see that it's true.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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