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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 97 / 185

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Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice

91

patronizing, “That's a good girl.” The doctor decides to amputate the foot for fear of

gangrene. Luba fears her life would be over without a foot. The doctor tries to sell her

on a wooden replacement, but Luba dismisses the option with “what kind of foot is

that?” Luba tricks the doctor into letting her go home to see to her house and children

before losing her foot. Then, the tables turn. She stays at home and seeks the help of a

healer woman. After one month of poultices, the foot is healing nicely, and Luba gets

to keep it. The doctor seems unable to accept healing outside of his institution. Luba

laughs when remembering the doctor's letters warning of dire consequences, “You are

going to die, Mrs. Petreskue, ha, ha.” She lives and keeps her foot, but it is slightly

malformed and she has trouble finding comfortable shoes. The healthy, pastoral ideal

of the country [and community] is reinforced it saves her foot. This idyllic, healing

prairie image also appears in Sapergia and Ursell’s The Giant Who Wept.69 Beaupré

longs for “The sheltering hills where the sickness in my chest would heal, drawn away

by the hot sun and the clear sky”. He believes that proximity to his rural home’s

healing sun and sky would cure him.

The play raises questions that highlight the rifts between the rural and the urban,

and the treatment of immigrants and women when it comes to medical care in pioneer-

era Saskatchewan. Would the character's foot have gotten as bad as it did if Luba had

access to a city's healing resources from day one? Is her aversion to doctors a rural

woman's distrust of the city? Is it a layperson's distrust of the educated establishment?

The medical establishment at the time would have been largely male. The healer-

woman could represent a more nurturing, relational, or feminist ethic of care. The

healer-woman's gentle poultices contrast sharply with the male-doctor's aggressive

69

More discussion in the History and Isolation chapter.

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