Confort TV in a Medically Mandated Time

Thanks for all the encouraging comments after my last post. It felt like talking from the bottom of a well, and it reminded me of this short based on a Brene Brown Talk:

RSA does great animated shorts

The first week felt weird. People see a broken arm and go ‘okay’ while scrutinizing mental health. I admit to doing the scrutinizing my coworker when she walked out. I turned a blind eye to things going on at work in the interest of surviving, caregiving this time for an ailing workplace. Putting myself first is still new and will come with those judging me as selfish behind closed doors. I shrug and keep putting myself back together.

I get up and listen and tackle some of the clutter in my home. Lately, it’s a little bit at a time with my energy at an ebb. I have a follow-up appointment in early March to see about more time. Sleep has turned into a big issue. I don’t know if it’s the new meds or menopause, but I wake up at 1 or 2 am and can’t go back to sleep. Then I have 3-hour naps like I did yesterday.

Want to know when the alarm bells started to ring?

Imaginary Richard disappeared.

No steamy fantasies, no imagined conversations, overall nothing. My mind was a numb wasteland, never mind trying to have enough executive function needed for work. Now, it’s a desert, a better metaphor and something I can work with. The desert mother and father I read about would walk away and find solitude in chaotic times. They wanted to hear God’s voice speak to them and at the moment. I don’t know if the voice I hear belongs to God; I know it’s not harsh (thank heavens) and coaxes me to cancel my workouts to get sleep. Everything hinges on rest. It also tells me to eat veggies or have a bowl of seasoned chickpeas. I need protein to get my strength back, and much of my comfort eating involves something fried.

Remember the old Springsteen song about flipping through 57 channels and nothing on? I gave up cable years ago and subscribed to 4 streaming services (Amazon Prime with the occasional channel, Disney+, Crave, and Netflix). I flip through them and find myself uninterested, with a few exceptions. In fact, two shows with widely different characters and moods provided comfort.

First up is Peacemaker, a show written by Suicide Squad director James Gunn during quarantine. Nobody asked for this show, and it looked like a horrible idea. Sure, why not watch it. Usually, I press the ‘Skip Intro’ option on a show. Well, not this time:

Created, written, and sometimes directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), the show is not only funny a surprise, but it’s also heartfelt. I enjoyed Gunn since his horror-comedy ‘Slither’ and Guardians volume 2 was a ride and continued his theme of what makes a family. While I come from a family of WWE wrestling viewers, I never really tuned in, but John Cena continues to be a welcome surprise. (I remembered watching a Dave Batista match with my family, and he’s another James-Gunn find.)

The show has enough flashbacks to Suicide Squad; you don’t really need to see it. It’s its own universe, although it does have a pleasant surprise during one episode.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the new edition of ‘All Creatures Great and Small.’ I remembered the 1970s version on PBS, especially Peter Davidson as Tristan Farnon, mostly because he was the new Doctor Who, and they aired it one time. (I enjoy seeing an actor’s backlist after discovery. See Richard Armitage.) This one starts with Nicholas Ralph, an unknown Scottish actor in the role of James Harriot as he settles in the Yorkshire Dales and the vet practice headed by Seigfried Farnon (Samuel West, The Crown, Prince Caspian in the PBS Narnia series and more.)

I mean, look at its opening, another one I don’t skip:

I had to find find the actual opening theme and credits

The show finished its second season on PBS with a Christmas episode (it airs earlier in the UK), and I used my Audible credit to get the new audiobook additions narrated by Ralph himself. Also starring in the show as Mrs. Hall, the housekeeper/cook/surrogate mother is Anna Madeley. Hey, why do I know that face? I thought. Oh, perhaps she’s one-half of one of the hottest kisses I ever saw on stage for an Arthur Miller play. Yup, hello 2014, Elizabeth Proctor.

I really like Mrs. H, a woman dealing with a son not speaking to her after walking out on an abusive husband. (It’s heavily implied the marriage was bad and not safe during one episode.) In the second season, she befriends a man who’s also a veteran of WWI and met when his beloved dog was sick. The dog, for him, was a lifeline and a pet. Watching this romance, like the main romance of James and Helen, sweetly unfold makes me sigh. It’s nice to not be cynical for a little while.

Yes, there’s also Tricky-Woo, a footrest in dog form, over-indulged by his owner, but even finding a happy ending in the Christmas episode. However, the last scene shows a bomber flying high above the town, a hint the Dales are about to see the war come to its doors.

The Yorkshire Dales is the other star of the show with its lush green hills, divided by stone fences to keep cattle on land passed down from generation to generation. Much like Scotland after Outlander, I feel the Dales will see a spike in tourism with fans old and new coming to visit.

My aunt once remarked my brother, and I watch too many movies and shows. All this fiction, she felt, distracted us from the real world. Well, yes, that’s the point. If I watch a show to fill time or flick between streamers, it’s time to get up and do something else. I watched ‘Big Bang Theory’ on Crave at the beginning of the pandemic, a Canadian streaming service. I would watch on my lunch hour, skipping the breaks to add on for more time. I wanted to see other nerds steeped in geeky stuff, trying to negotiate adulthood. I also wanted time not dedicated to figuring out the latest technology or the latest conversation with dad’s nurse. I had enough real-world to deal with at the moment.

While the title mentions medically mandated, I have a doctor’s note and am taking medication; work also has a protocol for extending stress leave. I dropped off forms emailed to me at the doctor’s office, giving permission to disclose what’s happening and still subject to approval. I may not get more time, and my doctor may give me three more weeks. My aunt believes I am not dealing with reality, but reality depends on who says the word. I have the fact of work, dealing with low morale and staffing. I have the reality of the pandemic, still going despite what governments or a bunch of yahoos blowing horns claim. I have the reality of my parents gone and figuring out the person typing this post. Who is this person? Well, the answers will slowly come, but I do not know she’s not this job, and she has enough privilege to have this much time off already. I have worked since I was 16, and it’s not something I take for granted. I know time will help, especially time away, to get a clear understanding of what is next. For now, I look to fiction, especially audiobooks, with a comfort reminding me of a read-aloud at school.

2 thoughts on “Confort TV in a Medically Mandated Time

  1. You are you and if that you needs a mental and physical break then good. You’re not alone in feeling lost. Imaginary Richard disappeared for me two plus years ago. You know who has taken his place and yes he got the role in the HBO series we chatted about.
    Take care of you. You are no good to you if you don’t take care of you. Sending positive thoughts negativity is a killer anyway ❤️🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read this post a couple of times now — above all, sending you some more hugs.

    On the trivial level — I really loved “All Creatures” (although I think must have seen season 2 in synch with you — it just ended here as well — and I did not like it as well as season one; and I still don’t feel like Samuel West really plays that role very well). Time for me to dive back into the books, which were my original love and which are really long, so good potential anesthetics. There was something so incredibly calming about it. I think we are not the ony ones who felt that way.

    On the level of sympathy — I too have that issue where relatives don’t get that my consumption of media (books, films, tv, and lately cookbooks) is what keeps me going. I think it’s not just distraction or anesthesia — I think these things are ways of working out the problems in our lives in ways that don’t necessarily provoke our deepest levels directly. They’re an indirect approach to thinking about the issues in our lives. That was always how I felt about the most intense experiences of Armitagemania, esp as regards Mr Thornton.

    re: sleep — what you’re describing is a really common symptom of menopause. It can sometimes be addressed through hormone therapy. (I have decided not to pursue that, myself, but my impression is that most women do, at least for a few years of smooth transition.)

    re: absence of Richard fantasies (I remember exactly when that happened to me the first time — it was related to Cybersmile). Most of mine are now character fantasies, esp Thorin. Sometimes I think we need a blog as a gathering place for people who are leaving the crush. But you never know; it may yet return. It’s different for different people.

    re: the big issue here, which seems to me after multiple readings to be the relationship between grief, work, and the pandemic, which has ultimately snapped your will to continue living the same way you were, without giving you energy for something new, at least not yet — I hear you and think you are not alone. I hope your doctor makes the decision you want to get. I don’t know how to give up caregiving either and like you, when I am not doing it at home, I am doing it at work. I have to quit. I just don’t know how.

    Liked by 2 people

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