Friday, March 1, 2013
Year 4 Telling Someone, Y & R style.
The scene opens with two harried young adults rushing into their parents' beautiful apartment, and then seeing their father slowly escorting their mother down the steps of a staircase that sweeps from an unseen above. All are well dressed, reflecting the wealth of the vast Newman empire.
And boom. Mom, that's Nikki Newman, tells the children that she has MS. The children were stunned, and husband Victor Newman looked down at the carpet (demonstrating his emotional range) and then planted a quiet kiss on Nikki's forehead. Everyone swore to be there and there was a hug between Mrs.Newman and the kids. Victor looked at the carpet. Twice in one scene. Wow. He must be upset.
I'd like to congratulated the Young and the Restless daytime drama for their taking a chance with this story line. Granted its something to do with an aging character that the younger demographic that all TV programs crave as viewers (18-35 years) may not associate with as well, and Nikki, whose age is over 50, needs a story line. The Nikki and Victor relationship is one of the great stories in daytime drama (or soap opera) history, or so my wife tells me.
I did note a few things. First, Nikki looks like she hasn't slept in a week, that exhausted gaze that MSer's of every kind can associate with. Yet she doesn't mention exhaustion. The daughter asks Nikki if she has gotten a second opinion. "Yes, yes, Victoria, I've had all tests," Nikki responds. She does not mention what kind of tests. Let's assume she's had at least one MRI and a spinal tap (these are too yucky to talk about on TV unless you're Dr. Oz, I guess,). The son Nick says that he knows very little about MS, but his father notes that "We are learning something new everyday." He must be reading up on the latest from the MS Society, along with the request for another donation. Victor should get with all the other wealthy people on all the daytime dramas. We'd have this and everything other disease wrapped up next Thanksgiving.
"What caused it?" asks Nick.
"They don't know," says Nikki. "For some reason it affects women more than men."
"How are you feeling?" asks Victoria.
"I get numbness, tremors in my hand right now..."
Victor chimes in.
"Thousands of people around the world can, with the proper treatment, and the proper medication, can live normal lives."
True enough, unless you have of the versions of MS for which there are presently no treatments, and no medications, like I have and thousands of others do, as well. But I do accept cash donations, too, Victor.
One of the good reasons to give Nikki this form of relapsing remitting MS is that it can conveniently strike or disappear from the story line as needed. All the actress has to do is check her script. Alas, we don't get a script and conditions will determine good and not so good days.
Ms. Thomas, the actress who has played Nikki for many years, saw this as a chance to educate and inform viewers, and kudos to her and the rest of Bell Productions for doing so. For some of us the hug at the end of the scene means most when you can't take a pill to make things go away. Support from family and friends is crucial. Take a look at the scene from Y & R when Nikki and her friend (and ex-husband) Jack talk about her condition on Feb 21 2013
No matter how you share the news of this diagnosis (I actually called my wife from the doctor's office parking lot and told her. I knew what she would do. She'd look up MS and find out what she could from websites. When I got home, we both had the basics to begin the ongoing conversation,) some you tell will offer help and support, but most have no idea what you're talking about, and will think it's all in your head. Actually its in your head and spine, unless its not, like me, and then you have to explain that and watch eyes glaze over. And PSAs from the Osbournes gives very little.
Look, both the Newmans and the Osbournes are very wealthy (Yes, I know Nikki and Victor are just TV characters) and they can give their loved ones everything they might need. There are studies showing that as income reduces access to care for MS decreases. Might be a bit of a "well, duh" but there's not much out there anyway. Pick your neuro and whatever treatment that person subscribes to (and gets support from Big Pharma for). Ooops, don't have relapsing remitting MS? Oh, well. Keep a good mental attitude. Here's a lollypop.
The one true supporter you have who will do the best job for you is your reflection in the mirror. And that Invisible Support System that has been in place since the beginning of time that lives in your heart. Be well. Fight on.