(Series 15, ep.35) Michael Spence is really at his finest when he gets emotionally involved with his patients (not in a sleazy sense, you understand; I’m talking purely professionally). When his heart is as engaged as his head, he gets all kick-ass like the time he thrust Little George Binns’ head at a corpse.
This week he struggled with the difficulties of being an extremely long-distance parent, with daughter Jasmine about to land at Holby International Airport any minute and Michael still up to his elbows in gastric unpleasantness. The patient who tugged at his heart-strings (and mine, I have to admit) was Seb, a young man who was dying of cancer. Seb had the weirdest father ever – a beardy man who looked a tad like Brian Blessed and seemed to have the emotional range of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Seb’s mother had popped to Uganda on some unspecified business, neither of them apparently thinking that they should really be with their son. They were a stoic sort of family all round, with Seb fairly comfortable with the idea he didn’t have long left – although he was afraid of pain. Michael decided he wanted to surgically buy Seb some more time to see his mother, and the only time the beardy dad showed he really cared was to kiss his son’s forehead before he went into theatre.
The surgery was less successful than it could have been, and Seb had to get used to the idea of his death all over again. Michael felt guilty, but possibly not as guilty as he felt when Jasmine’s plane landed early and Ric Griffin smugly did the chauffeuring honours. Jasmine is fantastic, and I loved how she swanned along the corridors with Digby struggling after her with a pile of luggage.
Michael isn’t the only one with parenting problems, of course. Down in AAU, a depressing venue at the best of times, Sacha and Chrissie were still grappling with the concept of Daniel being a saviour sibling for Rachel. It turned out Daniel was a perfect bone marrow match and eventually Chrissie signed the consent forms.
What she didn’t know was that tests had shown Daniel has a hole in his heart, which presumably means any kind of surgery would be more risky. And Sacha kept this information to himself (though Mo knows). Normally I would defend Sacha to the ends of the earth because he is The Nicest Man In The World, but he’s wrong here. I know he’s terrified that his daughter might die, but Chrissie should be aware of all the facts. She had my sympathy already, but when she talked in counselling about when her daughter Amanda died (still the episode that’s had the highest tissue count for me), you really had to feel for her.
Someone else with a more recent experience of bereavement is Widowed Dr Oliver Valentine. Still sleeping badly (in the on-call room beside a picture of Tara), still snapping at his colleagues and going through the motions with his patients. Counselling hasn’t helped, the kindness of Prof Hope hasn’t helped. What’s to be done? Wisely, writer Graham Mitchell decided to alleviate the anguish a bit this week by getting Dr Posh to work with Ollie on a tricky diagnosis. And I have to say that they made quite the duo. Dr Posh was a lot more fun with Dr Valentine than he was with Dr Honey last week, and having a bit of competition started to, if not quite bring Ollie’s mojo back, at least remind him that he possesses such a thing as a mojo.
Pregnancy watch: Jac has become committed to the concept of eating for two, snarfing Jonny Mac’s sandwich and cramming biscuits into her face like they’re about to be banned by the government.
Next time: Continuing on the same themes, as Chrissie worries about Daniel, Prof Hope worries about Ollie and Michael worries about Seb.
Posted by PLA More Holby City here