I don’t really like reality TV, and I couldn’t care less about celebrities. So it’s odd that I quite like I’m a Celebrity! It’s a tv show (full name: I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!) where celebrities are dropped in the jungle and have to complete trials usually involving creepy crawlies in order to get decent food and/or supplies. I also hate bugs. The public chooses who stays and who goes (to an extent).
November has been a bad month for me health-wise for a few years. 2013 marked the start of me getting back to back chest infections. 2014 I spent the best part of 3 weeks in hospital as an inpatient. In 2015 I got told I was ‘critically ill’ and continuing to work at that point was dangerous. 2016 *touch wood* is looking a damn sight more positive and less dramatic, albeit I’m still ill.
And here enters I’m a celebrity. I spend a lot of time watching TV and it’s on every night. I started watching it properly when I was in hospital in 2014 for the 2 1/2 weeks. Visiting times were from 7pm-8.30pm and my husband and 2 friends faithfully came every evening and because one is a nurse, I was allowed off the ward, which I desperately needed, to go to the public (closed) canteen area, because I would still be medically supervised. But I really didn’t cope well with being left afterwards. It turned out I had an undiagnosed endocrine condition, which meant my hormones were completely haywire (imagine woman in labour kind of scale) and so being left alone caused massive emotional meltdowns. Plus the reeducation plan and diagnostic tests I was on was horrendous so I was already fragile. So visitors leaving me made me massively stressed, which, it turns out is something my body really can’t cope with since the hormone I don’t make is the stress hormone, cortisol, hence the meltdown.
My friends and my husband used to deliver a usually sobbing me back to my room and hand me over to either Mary or Sue, my lovely night nurses, who would try everything they could to settle me down before my breathing deteriorated and I needed a nebuliser. Routines are common in hospital so at 9pm we’d get given evening hot drinks and biscuits, and at 10pm was evening meds which meant I couldn’t sleep until I’d had them. So I’m a Celebrity was on when I was given a hot drink and a snack and kept me occupied until I was given my evening meds. Then there’d be the ‘after show’ discussion I could watch while trying to sleep. Once the night nurses worked out that I was watching it, they used to distract me by asking what had happened on show the night before when I was upset. I was the youngest patient on the ward by about 50 years so lots of the other patients were already asleep or didn’t need anything until the drugs round, meaning they could make time to chat to me. One healthcare, Lyn, would make me get my pjs on while she was making my drink for me and then watch me get settled in bed with the tv on because, for whatever reason, it really calmed me down focussing on it and having her keep me company. Then she’d come back at the end of the drinks round and make sure I was ok again. When I was discharged from hospital, watching the show acted as a kind of transition and gave me the ‘stability’ I needed at that point while I adjusted.
Last year, i watched it in the morning after breakfast. I felt guilty about not being in work so it gave me something else to focus on once I’d emailed in my cover work. Both years, it helped me out because:
– I felt ‘trapped’ in hospital so I felt I really understood what the contestants were feeling regarding wanting to get out! Thankfully without the bugs…
– it gave me a routine and something else to focus on
– hospital food might not be great but at least I didn’t have to starve or eat bugs
– it gave me some kind of stability when it felt like everything was falling apart
– it made me laugh
– my concentration was dire, a new to me symptom, so watching something ‘easy’ helped alleviate the frustration I felt about that.
– it gave me something ‘neutral’ to talk about which wasn’t about my own life or what was happening.
So yes, it’s trashy TV and is probably rigged, and goes against what I’d usually watch. But I like the familiarity of it 🙂
Photo: ITV Image