Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Spoonfull Of Sugar


Saving Mr Banks was on tv last night and it proved to be an unexpected gem of a movie thanks primarily to the standard of the acting. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L Travers ( the writer of the Mary Poppins books) were absolutely top notch and at the top of their game!
The film was ostensibly the story of how Disney courted the prickly Travers in order to get her to sign over the film rights of her beloved heroine but it had much more to say about how the ghosts of the past visit the lives of the living, and not always in a positive , healthy way.
I blubbed through the final third of it like a good un.

We all live with our own ghosts from the past. Bereavement, childhood disappointments, parent divorce, sadness, illness and abuse of all kinds , being a child is often fraught with damaging moments that disappear under the banality of life only to resurface at inopportune moments of adulthood.

I once washed a patient's hair when they were on skull traction. It was a tricky proceedure as the patient, a man in his fifties , had broken and dislocated his neck only a week or so before, but as his hair was matted with blood after the callipers had been literally screwed into his skull, the job needed to be done.
Slowly I rinsed the man's scalp with warm soapy water, making sure that spinal alignment was maintained, and as the bloody water flowed away into the bucket on the floor I saw he was  crying away large silent tears and those tears just didn't stop.

This emotional  'reaction' to paralysis and trauma was a common event in spinal injuries , especially when a nurse performed intimate cares with patient behind the safety of closed curtains, but my assumption in this case was oh so wrong as I found out after I had wiped away the tears the patient was in no position to wipe away himself.

" My Mother died when I was ten years old " The patient eventually told me in way of an apology " You washing my hair suddenly reminded me of her " .
He cried for an age afterwards, the grief about his disability  finally being unleashed by a dreadfully painful and precious childhood memory of a mother lost.

80 comments:

  1. That's such a sweet story and big baby that I am it brought tears to my eyes too.

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  2. Um, Tom Hanks was also in the movie "Saving private Ryan". Dunno about anyone else, but was a 'tearjerker' for me.

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    1. I found Ryan all too much.......it left me exhaused and dissatisfied

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  3. Oh, John what a moving story, I have a very large lump in my throat now. As regards the film, I wasn't interested in watching it, but after your review, will give it a go.

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  4. Heartbreaking but heartwarming. a little kindness keeps the wheels of the world well oiled x

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    1. A nice quote, who said it?

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    2. Not sure John, but it's one I often come back to.

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  5. I enjoyed that movie when it came out a few years ago and wondered why it was not a hit. It was a good story with the usual good acting by its superior cast. Maybe if they had blown up Walt, more people would have attended.

    The wounds of childhood are often unseen but at some time will spill out. That poor fellow had much to grieve over.

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    1. I wonder what happened to him, i dont remember

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  6. I cried while watching Saving Mr. Banks as well. I agree, from experience, that childhood trauma can definitely resurface and mess with your adult years. -Jenn

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    1. The poet Larkin, summed it up well..." They fuck you up, your mum and dad"

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  7. Wow, what a sad story. As a nurse, you see such critical moments in people's lives. I loved "Saving Mr. Banks."

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    1. All gay men love Emma Thompson

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  8. Many adults have a thin veneer of tranquility - underneath it hide our emotions waiting to leak out.

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    1. And they often spill out as if in a waterfall

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  9. Very sad story; and one that reminds us that 'there but by the grace of god etc...'

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  10. One of my favourite films of the past decade. I cry from the minute she starts to dance to Let's Go Fly a kite all the way through to the end. It's an absolute gem of a movie.

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    1. I would have thought you would have hated it

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  11. i love that movie. my mom died when i was little and it still sucks.

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  12. Moving story! I bet you've got many stories like this one about people in their moments of great helplesness.

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  13. I agree, two great talents and a good script= movie magic.

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  14. That's so sad. Those childhood ghosts have such lousy timing.

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  15. I don't know that I could do your job. I'd like to think I could but.....You have a beautiful soul.

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  16. For a really good blub, try Dark Victory.

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    1. Oh yes bette the frump turns into a swan

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    2. NO! That's Now Voyager. In Dark Victory she's got an incurable brain tumour. The ending's a complete blubfest.

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    3. Duh! Of course you are right...just hear cate blanchet will be playing margo channing in All about eve in the west end soon!

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  17. Made me cry again John. x

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  18. I loved Saving Mr. Banks almost as much as I loved your moving story of your weepy patient. My mother died when I was 16. I am 76 now and it still hurts. I miss her.

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  19. Oh God John that story really got to me and made me cry. I thought I was a tough old boot. I think sometimes stories touch a sore point and bring back memories (not always wanted).

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    1. Shit everyones sobbing...its like a greek funeral

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  20. As usual, a story that puts our own lives in perspective. Thank you.

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  21. I went to see that movie when I was in the midst of a horrible anxiety phase and I have to say that it triggered a great many memories and emotions that were horribly uncomfortable- not what I had foreseen.
    I think if someone washed my hair I, too would cry. Oh hell, John Gray- I am tearing up just thinking about it, thinking about you so carefully washing the blood from an injured man's hair.

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    1. Apologies for unearthing a little more pain dearheart

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    2. No, no apologies necessary. Life is like that and it was the sweetness of the image of you washing someone's hair that made me tear up.

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  22. Ahhh, so now I am having my first weep for the day ..
    I worked/volunteered at a rehab hospital many years ago. 4 men in a huge room, each one paralyzed .. life as they knew it, over.
    Every time I went into that room, they were laughing or cheerful.
    That memory comes back to me at the right times, when I think life is hard for me ... I remember ..

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    1. And life wasnt over at all........

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  23. Thanks for making me feel like crying, John. I am sentimental at the best of times, I am very sentimental at the worst of times.

    Tears are good. I liken them to pissing of the soul. And who doesn't need to relieve their bladder every so often?

    On a side note, your line of work has provided you with a treasure trove of insight into the human condition. Good job you haven't cracked under the impact.

    U

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    1. Indeed ursula, we can all do with a stress free lifestyle

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  24. if I ever need a nurse, I hope it is you John.

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    1. Be quick, i have only around 10 shifts left

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    2. WOW that is great news ten more shifts !

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    3. Ten more shits? That's one day.

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  25. I went around saying 'a pot of tea' in a very posh accent for the rest of the day after seeing that film.

    Lovely story, John. Thank you. xx

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  26. Loved that movie John... your right it is a gem... and one many may have dismissed when it first came out... But i thought both actors were perfect in their parts...What was the name of the actor who played her driver?? He was rather perfect too.... A lovely story too John... you have so many.... I hope the pleasant memories far outweigh the not so pleasant..... Hugs! deb

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  27. How very interesting John. I find at present that the most odd, unexpected things move me to tears.

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    1. And will do for a while yet weave x

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  28. Apologies if I have told this story before but you have reminded me of a number of visits I made many moons ago to a learning disability young man and his mum that he lived with. I was informed that his mum had suddenly died so went straight out to see how he was. when I asked how he was feeling he said that 'It feels like my first day at school' I went to my car after the visit and sobbed my heart out as he had expressed exactly how that time in your life feels when you first loose sight of your mum. I too have many stories like you but of community working not hospital. The people I have met along the way have taught me so much

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    1. Feelings like the ones we describe hit like sledgehammers

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  29. I do think you should consider writing a book when you retire. Your memories and experiences - and the so-poignant way you write about it would produce a best-seller.

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  30. For reasons I cannot quite figure out, I am not a fan of Tom Hanks and have mostly avoided his films, including the one you mention.

    However. I admire the way in which you began this post by telling of your reaction to that film, before relating your own experience washing the patient's hair. That was very moving. xo

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    1. I am not a fan either Francis..but he's very good in this and BRIDGE OF SPIES

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    2. His best film ever was "Philadelphia".

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  31. Oh you do write so well. I really, really think you should write a book or two or maybe lots of books. You had me in tears when writing about your patient. My Mum died when I was 3 years old, my two sisters were 7 and 1 year old. We all have emotional scars from that loss and it is true, they never really go away, but lie just under the surface to re-appear at difficult times. Sue H.

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    1. Thats very kind of you susan

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  32. I do enjoy your stories and would enjoy reading several books from your life. Especially all the farm stories.
    Yes ! sometimes even the smallest little thing can trigger a memory of happiness or sadness.

    cheers, parsnip

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  33. I too found this movie to be unexpectedly poignant. As a matter of fact, I referenced it in conversation this weekend.
    And yes, it's interesting how the oddest moments can dredge up memories of the past (good and bad) in a flash.

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  34. Just been to see "Their Finest". after reading your review of it. Really enjoyed it. Thanks!

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  35. Many things are sad and make me cry more than people imagine.

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  36. You've been in such tender intimate moments with peoples hopes, fears and emotions laid bare for you to handle so many times. It's good that there are so many wonderful caring folk like you when we really need them.

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  37. Poor dear soul...I shed a few tears for him myself.

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  38. Sometime it takes just a small thing to trigger deep seeded emotions about things we truly thought were long forgotten.

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  39. It was a good film. I didn't expect to like it but I did. You have such empathy with people John, they open up to you.

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  40. The fact that so many of your readers "teared up" with this blog illustrates exactly why we all read it. There IS such a thing as a good cry. Exercising our empathy muscles is a great exercise!

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  41. Funny, the unexpected things that can trigger a wave of grief or emotion. You must have seen lots of similar outpourings over the years.

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  42. I Loved that movie! And I loved Mary Poppins. I don't know how you do your job. I just don't. I reckon' the animals are your saving grace.

    Cindy

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  43. Oh that story! I just discussed this very thing in therapy today. No coincidences ;)

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  44. It is amazing the things that can trigger us.
    Miss Fifi

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  45. Your story had me welling up.
    I'll give that film a try - I've yet to turn off anything with Tom Hanks apart from 'The Da Vinci Code'.

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  46. Not the first time you have made me cry.

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  47. Oh my . . .
    so very sad
    a mother lost . . .
    your touch . . .
    presence

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  48. Someone being gentle with my hair always disarms me too. There was a family that took me in one school holiday as a horse mad teen and taught me a lot about breaking in horses and were so kind to me, but one of the things I remember most clearly is the mother brushing my hair for me at night. It was an unusually gentle and motherly thing for me to experience. Maybe that is why gentle touching of my hair now affects me so much.

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