Skin and Bone: WHRA Request

May 8, 2013

Victor Enns
200 Lenore Street
Winnipeg, MB R3G 2C5
[email protected]


 Dr. Jerry Gray, Chair
Winnipeg Health Regional  Authority (WHRA)WHRA
4th Floor, 650 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 1E2 Canada
Fax: 204-926-7007

Dear Dr. Gray;

 I write to ask permission and support for art photographer Richard Hines to attend my scheduled hip replacement surgery on June 14, 2013.

 I’m a writer. Usually I write what I know, as the adage has it, though I also understand it’s an encouragement to know more. I am getting to know my body as it ages in some unexpected ways. I have had eight surgeries, spanning most of my life – from my hernia when I was three or four to the right foot bone fusion surgery completed this February by Dr. Hammond. I hadn’t left enough time for my photographer to be available for the right foot surgery performed by Dr. Hammond on February 28th who gave his permission provided the surgical team at HSC was willing for Richard to be present.

 I think I completed my last hip replacement pre-operative requirements today; the hip x-ray at the Hip and Knee Institute and completing and mailing the patient pre-admission form. I will do everything I can to be sure to have the surgery as scheduled as it will relieve a great deal of pain, and a successful surgery is my most important priority.

 Though the word of mouth on hip and knee replacement is strongly positive (despite some disappointments, I’ve only actually heard one and the patient was over 80) there is very little known about the reality of surgery and recovery. 

I hope to turn my hip replacement experiences into an art project, collaborating with art photographer Richard Hines. The project’s ultimate form will be determined by the work we do together, though I’m hoping for a gallery show for Richard with some of my text, and a book with text and photographs.

I have proposed to the WHRA media officer Heidi Graham that this is a unique case and an opportunity for the WHRA, the Hip and Knee Institute and Concordia Hospital to take some credit and provide a good news story, educating the public about how orthopedic surgery improves the lives of Manitobans.

 There will always be grumbling about taxes, but I don’t complain. In addition to my 10 surgeries by the end of 2013, neurosurgeons Dr. Owen Williams and Richard Brownstone successfully removed an ependymoma in the 4th ventricle of my nine-year-old son’s brain in 1995. I enclose a poem I wrote about that experience, and my summary cv to let you know this is a serious request for a serious purpose, and not a request I take lightly. I understand this is an extraordinary request.

 Richard and I will be happy to sign all waivers and follow any regulations and requirements to ensure no impediment to you or your surgical staff.

 Thank you for considering my request.


 Victor Enns

cc. Ms. Mary Wilgosh, President & CEO


            For Theo

 Suspended, slung
in mid-air for surgery,
son, you are alive,

a metal halo, screwed
into your skull
to still your head.

The swaggering neurosurgeon
cuts out a circle of your skull, pulls
it out like plug to reach your brain.

The careful knives know where
they have to go, removing
every evidence of tumour.

Learning to pray again
we wait
For the angels

To deliver you,
so lightly held
Back into our lives.

We rearrange what matters,
make proimises we will
be unable to keep.

By evening
the closure
Is handsomely sewn.

O what a beautiful scar!

(Theo had 33 radiation treatments and no re-occurrence. He is now a radiation therapist at Memorial University Hospital in St. John’s Newfoundland. )

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