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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 98 / 185

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

92

surgical option. The doctor cannot imagine such a cure working, but it does. Did the

doctor dismiss Luba's desire for another treatment option because she is an immigrant;

she is a woman; or she is from the country? Perhaps it is a combination of all three

factors. In a recent interview, Sapergia said this play was inspired by a true story of her

own grandmother:

Grandma’s Foot came out of a story I grew up hearing about my grandma. I enjoyed the irony that the doctors in the story thought she was a poor, superstitious old lady because she ran away from the hospital, but, in fact, she’d made a very shrewd decision, “I would be really stupid to let them cut off my foot.” And then old-country methods of poulticing saved it. So I guess it comes out of the ethnic background and it’s very much a woman’s story too.

Sapergia takes great pride in how her grandmother stood up to the dominant medical

establishment -- i.e. patriarchal, Anglo-Saxon, privileged, and urban -- in order to save

her foot from amputation. Grandma Luba’s story is an example of rural residents’

anxieties regarding access to adequate and appropriate medical care being resolved by

individual resourcefulness supported by family and local community.

Death, medicine, and the farm are also at the forefront of Happy Birthday Arnie

by Dianne Warren (1985, 20:00). Though the play has comic moments, there is an

undeniable connection to the developing themes of age and distance from healthcare

being of concern to Saskatchewan residents. This fear is especially prevalent for elderly

(albeit fictional) residents like Arnie.

Warren’s play takes place on Arnie's 72nd birthday, which is being celebrated by

a small dinner party involving Arnie, his wife Louise, his brother Bill, and his sister-in-

law Ada. Arnie claims he has suffered a heart attack while in the garden and will spend

dinner in the bedroom. No one believes him, least of all Louise, who dismisses Arnie's

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