Post Number 2 for WeGo Health’s National Health Blog Posting Month: Write about a TV show based on my life or my blog.
Oh, my. Talk about booooorrringggg.
Sure, I’ve done a few exciting things during my lifetime, but like nearly everyone else in the world, my life is pretty routine. Normal. Even dull—at least, to anyone but me. Now, add daily chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis, and things get even less interesting.
But hey, I’ll give it a shot.
As the program starts, Wren is striding into the newsroom at a small, local newspaper. She’s the editor of the paper, along with being a reporter, photographer, graphic designer and the go-to person for clearing all copier machine jams. She’s feeling great this morning, greeting her colleagues and joking around. She pours herself a big cup of coffee and grabs a donut, then settles down at her desk to get started on the day’s editing.
An hour or so later the police/fire scanner on Wren’s desk starts blatting. There’s a big wildfire burning within the paper’s coverage area; firefighters, engines and aircraft from all over the region are converging on it. Wouldn’t you know, Wren’s two staff reporters are out covering other stories. She grabs her notebook and camera, her yellow fireproof jacket and NATO blue helmet, pulls on the hiking boots she keeps handy just for times like this and starts for the door … only to yelp with pain as her left big toe flares, suddenly, stopping her in her tracks.
What to do? She tests it gingerly and finds she can walk on the bad foot if she uses the cane she keeps handy in the trunk of her car, but shooting photos and writing notes while juggling it will be awkward. But if she’s honest, with or without the cane, gimping around on a dry, grass/brush/thorn-covered, steeply sloping hillside with a wildfire burning out of control nearby doesn’t sound very wise. She really shouldn’t go.
If she doesn’t, though, she’ll miss the story, not to mention the dramatic photos of firefighters battling the blaze. She’ll have to explain to her boss why
no one covered the story. Wren sets her jaw. She’s going to the fire, damned RA or no damned RA!
And so the show begins. Wren finds the fire and the firecrews, stays on the roads that run through the hilly, rural area, and shoots some nice photos of the leaping flames, burning oak chaparral and busy firefighters from a safe distance. She interviews the battalion chief and gets the details about the fire, along with some good quotes. She talks to a couple of other firefighters, too. Then, hot, sweaty and stinking of smoke, she hobbles back to the newsroom, has the photos developed, writes the story up and files it. She takes herself home and swallows pain pills before falling, wimpering, into bed.
Not very exciting, eh?
A good TV program—a TV movie would be best—would be much more dramatic, exciting and interesting. Our intrepid reporter with RA, who’s pretty and perky and in fabulous physical shape except for her flared toe, wanders around on the burning hillside shooting photos. Suddenly, her flare gets much worse, so much so she looses her footing and tumbles into a hollow. Since this is a movie, she’ll have broken her good leg in the fall. She ends up being rescued from the approaching wildfire at the very last moment by a handsome firefighter who risks his life to bring her to safety. Turns out he’s been in love with her for a long time but was too shy to tell her. Dazzled by his selflessness and his biceps, she falls for him, too. They live happily ever after…
Guess which version really happened?
Yep, the first. Exciting for me, maybe, but an audience would yawn and change the channel before the first commercial. Blah.
The reality of rheumatoid arthritis isn’t even a little bit glamorous. My experiences as a reporter and editor were rarely as potentially dangerous as covering the occasional wildfire was; instead, any TV show about me would work best as a documentary on my day-to-day life, showing the many ways that RA stops me from doing normal, everyday things like opening a peanut butter jar, driving a stick shift or even combing my own hair. It might show me limping around a grocery store, leaning on the cart, or gritting my teeth in pain as I pull the groceries from the cart and put them onto the conveyor belt for the cashier.
A TV show about those who cope with RA would focus on the courage and persistence it takes us to get through a normal, boring day. It wouldn’t be exciting, but it sure would be the truth.