The Cost of Being Fragile

On December 6, 2014 I was admitted to the Emergency Room for acute pancreatitis caused by a gallstone that passed into my pancreatic duct.  Through the process I spent a week in the ICU and more than three weeks in the hospital recovering slowly with rehabilitation and nursing care. My family watched over me every day. Physical therapy, endless blood work, new dietary restrictions, and abdominal surgery occupied much of my life over the next several months. There is nothing that my doctors believe I could have done to prevent this medical crisis.

I walked away with a body that felt different, complicated, and hard to trust again. I was amazed by the simultaneous fragility of my internal systems that can so easily fall out of balance and the raging resilience of how my body fought to return toorder again – a fight that I had no conscious power over.

This collection of artwork is my way of grappling with the experience. The work taps into the dream-like situation, where survival and basic human needs were all that I could focus on and where my body transformed dramatically within a short period of time. The work utilizes the original medical bills that I received. I want to explore the physicality of this now-abundant material with all the colors, phrases, and systems. Dealing with the financial aftermath continually inundated the healing process.

Perhaps the cathartic act of drawing and manipulating provides me a sense of power over the things that I have no control.


Etchings on paper with medical bills


Silverpoint on paper


Lino print on paper with medical bills
























































































Copyright Faith Williams Art