Friday, 23 September 2011
Alzheimer's on Television
As Ann Shaw (who blogs here) remarked on one of my flu fogged posts earlier this week:
“There's nothing like enforced rest in bed to get you thinking.”
She is right, you know. All sorts of odd and (occasionally) interesting things bubble up in between naps. I tell myself to make notes, but it's too much effort to reach for the pen on the bedside table and I drift off again; who knows where the thought goes.
Except for one. I've forgotten which evening this week I sort of watched the premier of a new TV show titled, Unforgettable. It's another police procedural, this one starring Poppy Montgomery, late of Without a Trace, as Carrie, who has a condition which gives her a freakishly detailed memory of every event of every day of her life.
I was too fuzzy-headed to know if the show is any good, but one scene stands out.
Carrie is visiting with an old woman in a residential care home. The viewer is led to believe from other interactions that perhaps Carrie volunteers there and from a short exchange, we know the old woman is an Alzheimer's patient. She says to Carrie: “You look just like my younger daughter.”
As I said, I was too fuzzy to catch the exact sequence but you know, of course, it is revealed that Carrie is her younger daughter who the woman no longer recognizes. Mother's Alzheimer's/daughter's hyper-memory – yeah, yeah, I wasn't too cotton-headed to miss the heavy-handed irony.
Nevertheless, I like this subplot. Whatever the future of the show (the networks quickly kill off new ones that are not immediate hits), it is a good thing to acknowledge as a normal part of life the afflictions people (our families, friends and neighbors) face along with the pain, sadness and difficulties they cause.
Movies, television shows, videos, magazine and news stories of all stripes, online and off, help define our culture, play it back to us and show us how people cope in such circumstances.
Documentaries – of which there are dozens about Alzheimer's - are excellent educational tools, but when the same issues are addressed within entertainment storylines, we get some small sense of the day-to-day reality which I think is particularly important for the majority who have no personal experience (yet) with it – be it Alzheimer's as in this show or other health and cultural issues - we face in our communities.
So, good for Unforgettable and let us hope there is more portrayal of real life blended into entertainment dramas.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Mickey Rogers: A Tough Old Bird