Thursday, 28 August 2014

Doctor who: Deep breath

I am so over Doctor Who that I can't even be bothered to do a proper review / deconstruction of Saturday's Season 8 premier, but that's not going to stop me ranting about a few things.

Firstly, how is it that even in the very first episode they failed to create a coherent plot? Perhaps I missed a few salient details when I was rolling my eyes, but if the robots were incapable of functioning at all when the humans weren't breathing, how come nobody said "Hey, guys, we're slightly outnumbered here so if it starts to get overwhelming, just hold your breath for a bit to give yourself a break, maybe back away from the pointy arms a touch"? How come Clara thought it was important to keep moving slowly and awkwardly like a robot while she held her breath, given that the robots were only awoken in the first place by hers and the Doctor's breathing? How come they didn't just - I don't know - hold their breath, leg it to the magic sofa-lift, and get out?

And don't even get me started on the 'kiss' between Madame Vastra and Jenny. It makes me sick to think of Moffat patting himself on the back for his peak time lesbian kiss, easily dismissed in case any dinosaurs start complaining, "what? of course not, they had to put their mouths together to share oxygen! it's perfectly acceptable family viewing!" Their constant harping on about being married does not stack up against that little trick, nor against Vastra's about-face on Clara's "judgement" of the Doctor.

To recap: When Clara is expressing concern about the 'new' Doctor, saying that she doesn't know him anymore, Vastra demands her veil, telling the room that she's among "strangers". Clara goes to speak to her, and Vastra tells her (not unreasonably) that Clara is being unfair, and that she should know that the Doctor is the same person, despite his wrinkly old face. Clara is terribly offended, and rants angrily for a while, finishing with "just because my pretty face has turned your head, so not assume that I am so easily distracted!" Instead of shooting this down as the lazily queerphobic bullshit it is, Vastra removes her veil, telling Clara that she hasn't really removed it, but that Clara has finally stopped seeing it. 

This is monumentally insulting. It's predictable that one of Moffat's two queer characters fancies Clara (the only other woman on the show), because Moffat probably can't imagine queer women who have tastes and preferences, and who don't fancy a random woman simply because she's pretty. This, however, is the lesser crime here: worse is that Madame Vastra, who has been written as a straightforward, intelligent and ethical character, apparently has lost perspective because she has a crush. Her removal of her veil is an admittance of her capitulation to Clara's version of events. I was hoping that she would shoot Clara's nasty little jab down, pointing out Clara's arrogance in committing the same logical fallacy that straight men do when they assume that gay men fancy ALL men, purely because they're men, and that would have been a pleasing way of dealing with the situation. But no, of course not, of course the queer woman fancies Clara, because who wouldn't fancy Clara? That's the whole point of Clara. 

I had other things to say, but I'm too mad. I'll just mention this, though: apparently, Peter Capaldi's Doctor refused to have a flirtatious relationship with Clara. I read about this before the series started and was quite hopeful, but from the first episode, it looks like since they can't have the Doctor and the Assistant flirting, they will just make everybody talk about flirting all. the. time. And other people flirt with each other. And ramp up some 'sexual tension' between Clara and Vastra, oh, and throw in another mad vampish dominatrix type to be all obsessed with the doctor. 

As Twelve says, tediously, during the episode, BORING. Come on Moffat, for goodness sake. Learn some new tricks.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Top surgery 3: post-op

I had top surgery on Monday 21st July 2014. This is a record for me, and for anyone who would find an account of the process useful.

Recovery: post-op appointment
(Pre-op and opFirst 10 days)

My post-op appointment was on Thursday 31st July. Andrew Yelland certainly doesn't coddle his patients! He and a nurse (I forget her name, I'm afraid) ripped the dressings away none too gently, and there it was, my new chest, open to the air. 

Honestly, it was a bit of a shock. I'm a planner: I've read accounts of this procedure, and seen endless photosets of Mr Yelland's work (and other surgeons' too), documenting the process from surgery to the faintest of scars, and I thought I was prepared for how my chest would look. I don't think I was, really. The wounds looked just how I expected - a little smaller, if anything - and the nipples were as gooey and swollen and black/green/bloody as I'd seen everyone else's look. Nothing was markedly different from photos I've seen of the procedure, but somehow it was still shocking. I guess the tenderness of my skin played a part - having been completely under wraps for 10 days, I felt very exposed and vulnerable. I've felt that a little just when changing my binder - it's surprising how quickly I got used to being bound up full time. 

Mr Yelland commented that I was unusually swollen at the outer edges of my chest - where I had noticed myself in the couple of days prior to the appointment - and that the big bruise on the left hand side (which was hard to the touch) was also a concern. He told me to keep an eye on it, and asked that I come back to him in a month so he could monitor it. He took photos of my chest, then removed the staples from my nipples and took some more. He put some large plasters over the nipples and told me to take them off when I got home. He also told me that I should leave the binder off for the most part from now on, putting it on only when there's a chance of impact (driving, going on the tube) and leaving the wounds open to the air as much as possible (when lounging about at home).

I was really emotional after the consultation. I had trusted that the swelling was, if not entirely my imagination, then expected - normal - and would naturally reduce as my healing progressed. Andrew Yelland didn't exactly start back in horror at the sight, but he did frown quite a lot, and ask me to come back, and sign me off work (partially) for another month. He was as calm and cheerful as normal, however, so I'm not devastated or despondent - but in the back of my mind there's a worry that wasn't there before the wrappings came off. I guess that won't change until I see him again in four weeks' time.

I'll admit to having a little cry in the bathroom before the journey home, and another one when I got home and took the binder and nipple dressings off. It was partly pain and sensation, and partly emotion - relief at being out of the dressings, distress at the state of my chest, and a certain sense of anticlimax. I guess that, despite knowing better, I had built up the post-op appointment in my mind until it was much bigger/further along than it was: as silly as it sounds, I think I expected to be better. I knew that this surgery with this surgeon gives you an automatic fit note for two weeks, and I think I had believed that since ten days was nearly two weeks, I'd be basically back on my feet by then. 

I wasn't. I'm not now. I'm moving even more gingerly than I was before, and the first evening at home after being unwrapped (I got home at 8pm), the feeling of a loose t-shirt on my bare chest was so overwhelming it made me feel sick. I was on the verge of tears the whole time, and could hardly eat. I couldn't really talk to my family - I felt guilty about feeling bad, about my weakness, about my expectation that I would be better by now. It seems, in hindsight, foolishly unrealistic. I've rallied now, and am settling in for the long haul, and am trying to involve my partner and family again, having rather shut them out in my distress after the appointment. But I think it will be a longer journey than I realised.