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Modern Medicine Man Mask


I really have to come up with my own stories, myths, legends when I carve. Did learn quite a wonderful array of techniques by studying West Coast style native art. But it’s time to stray into my own. The ideas keep popping-up right in front of my life. One mask I plan to carve very soon is the “Modern Medicine Man” mask. Its story is based on this incredible journey.

Bit of a scare with Mr. Marmot’s health in 2011. He was getting very slow and asked that Mrs Marmot and I cancel our “Girls” trip last spring. After many visits to the doctor, lots of funky prescriptions, and multiple tests, he was diagnosed in August with stage 4 cancer. There is no stage 5, I learned. He was going downhill every time I saw him and Mrs. Marmot having to pick up the slack. She was getting in-home assistance from nurses and loaned medical equipment. Mr. Marmot lost his driver’s license as he could not grasp with his hands, or apply pressure with his feet. He put his new walker-friendly car in Mrs. Marmot’s name. Made sure his will was up to date. Made and paid his funeral arrangements. Ensured his financials were in order. Filled out the EDH (Expected Death in the Home) and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) forms and made them visible/accessible on the fridge door. His many Marmot kids came to visit in July and again in December, a few months ago thinking it would be the last time they saw him. He was transferred to palliative care in town in early December, day after they left. I had to Google that word to ascertain its meaning.  Mr. Marmot was by now all pumped up with morphine, painkillers, swelling-reducers, blood-thinners and a slew of other drugs. That is how they treat illnesses nowadays. Prescription, prescription, prescription. We thought he would melt away before the new year he was so low. Both Grandfather and Grandmother Marmot died of cancer and all of his Marmot siblings as well. Not a nice prospect. Although Mr. and Mrs. Marmot tried to live a good healthy life, organic food, no junk, lots of exercise, homeopathic remedies, it seems it did not help the cancer side of things, other than give him some good extra years.

Mr. Marmot vs. the Modern Medicine Man

One doctor walked into the palliative care unit in mid-December, and declared that he did not have cancer, but had arthritis. Immediately transferred him back to intensive care, got his swelling down with a cortisone-based drug. They released him a few days later, and neglected to give Mrs. Marmot detailed instructions on how to wean him off narcotics. They treat street drug-addicts better! But he’s doing fine now, getting stronger, putting weight back on, walking again, without the walker, just a cane, joking, chatting, happy, loving and lucid. They had their new 55 inch TV installed last week – Netflix & Apple TV enabled! Not luddites at all but still very leery of western medicine. I suspect they will treat his arthritis with natural medicines as much as possible. Mrs. Marmot was quite disappointed, even angry at all of the local medicine men and women who had seemingly taken care of him. She suspects that their methods were flawed. They looked at their computer screens rather than looking at the patient. Mrs. Marmot did send a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, asking how this whole circus even got started. But she had rather channel her remaining energy into reveling in life than fighting the monstrous system.

Must carve soon.

Did carve.

Carving the Pill Pusher Mask from spalting alder

Carving the Pill Pusher Mask from spalting alder

Pill Pusher Mask, aka Modern Medicine Man Mask, by Francine Champagne

Pill Pusher Mask, aka Modern Medicine Man Mask, by Francine Champagne

The ears are plugged. The eyes are covered in copper, monetary rewards. Spewing pills made of copper. All about money, not always about the health of the patient. Some drugs are good, some are abused.

Now, if they would simply stop looking at their monitors and re-start looking at their patients, all would be well.

From → Mask Carver

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