I don't always intend to be topical, you know. Sometimes I have backlogs of ideas waiting to be written. Other times, though, something emerges into the ether which is simply too big for me to ignore. This week, Matt Smith has quit as The Doctor. I've talked about the importance of Doctor who to me before. Consequently I'm not going down that road again. But I can't ignore this news. So I thought of a few arguments and applied a crowbar too them. But then I do have some standards. So then I thought about why this actually matters to me. So here is why. A back-to-basics piece about how it is for me being a carer, and what the cure is.
Uncertainty seems increasingly to be a factory in modern life. In my entire lifetime (32 years) my dad has had three jobs and three homes. In the last 8 years I have had three jobs and nine homes. I may have an unusually high home:year ratio, but I there is no doubt that owning your own home is harder than it was a generation ago, and that the idea of a job for life is increasingly a thing of the past. So we all face a degree of uncertainty about our futures. But in a changing world, carers face more change than many.
There are so many variables. There is no way I could remember my wife's medication without a list. Doctors often ask 'have you ever had…' before issuing a prescription. I can't remember. Well, sometimes I can, but we've been through A LOT of tablets trying to get the right combinations that do their job and don't create horrendous side effects. Then there's all the doctors we've ever seen. What her current diagnosis is changes from time to time, and what exactly is wrong with her right now changes fairly frequently. A couple of years back I ploughed my way through a weighty tome of Fibromyalgia before we discovered it wasn't actually what she had at all.
Then there are the unexpected changes. Like the time she had a fall in a supermarket and I rushed out of work to find her sitting in an ambulance unable to remember her address or what was going on. Or the time I was called out of work because she couldn't stop being sick. These are the worst sort because they are not merely unsettling but scary, and require your immediate and often decisive attention. I'm not going as far as to say that her life has ever depended on my action, but I have felt that her wellbeing could be seriously impacted by a judgement one way or the other.
We seek comfort in the familiar. A favourite spot, a favourite book, a comfort food. Or drink. So the Doctor Who theme, with its 50-year legacy of television history, and the appearance of The Doctor to fix everything, is, as much as anything, a reassuringly constant presence. Unlike anything else in culture that can always been confidently turned to, The Doctor has this nasty habit of regenerating. Ask any dozen or so die-hard fans and I bet you get no more than 3 or four agreeing as to who the best Doctor was. So while I remind myself that the previous two regenerations1 produced Doctors I liked just as much as the last one, the fear remains that at some point a regeneration will be produced who is just not the comfortingly familiar figure I look for. Might be this one. Might be the next. Who knows? Thank… well, I was going to say 'thank god for DVD' then I thought 'thank bob' fitted better. Then I decided it suited better to thank The Doctor.