(Series 17, ep.6) Adrienne’s story line was never going to end happily. The actors and writers haven’t flinched from showing the emotional devastation, the little highs but many more lows of dementia for both the suffererer and those around her, particularly her family.
Sandra Voe gave the character of Adrienne great intelligence, humour and grace, which made it even harder to watch the disease make her act in ways that weren’t really “her” – physically attacking Serena being just an outward sign of her deterioration.
So when Adrienne looked her daughter in the face and asked her to “pull the plug” on a life that was increasingly slipping out of her control, we knew she meant it. Serena knew she meant it as well, but as a doctor and as a daughter she pushed it away. In the end, she didn’t have to make the decision and Adrienne’s death (following another stroke) was quiet, gentle and very, very sad. Continue reading
(Series 17, ep.5) The writers of this episode used the fact that it was being screened on Armistice Day to add another poignant angle to the story of Adrienne’s dementia – and to give us the magnificent sight of Serena driving a mobility scooter.
Serena encountered Eric (Dudley Sutton) in the car park. He was an old soldier in full military regalia, selling poppies and riding the aforementioned mobility scooter. He also had an excellent line in persuading senior doctors to part with cash. Unfortunately we know that the car park is never the safest place to be, and Eric got mugged. He wasn’t too badly hurt (he had a dislocated shoulder, but he popped that back in himself. The piece of broken samurai sword that had been embedded in it since the war was a bit trickier to deal with), but his injuries meant a short stay in AAU – where Adrienne had just returned, having been ousted from the ward she was in for plot reasons. She’s (understandably) not keen on AAU. “This is the worst hotel you’ve ever taken me to, George,” she complained to Raf, “and the staff are appallingly rude!” Continue reading
(Series 17, ep.3) Mo might be “Doctor Mo,” star of Radio Holby’s crowd-pleasing medical phone-in, but that’s not really where she wants to be career-wise. She wants to be Miss Effanga, Holby’s well-respected hot-shot CT surgeon. In the zone, but not, as Jac pointed out, “the comfort zone.”
So Mo did what CT surgeons seem to do when they have a point to prove – she decided to do a spot of risky, history-making, ninja-level surgery that makes everyone else go, “Surely you’re not going to try that?”
Was she over-reaching herself and putting her patient at risk? At one point in theatre even Mo thought so. It was the point at which the machines go beep and people start wanting to page Jac. What Mo needed at that point was a pep talk. Possibly a pep talk from a devilishly handsome anaesthetist who just happened to have pitched up on Darwin that very day. It was only Jesse, back to be a thorn in the side of Selfie, but more importantly for this episode, to help Mo believe in herself, carry on with the procedure and save the patient’s life (and buy him a surfboard afterwards). Career credentials restored, Mo resigned from her Doctor Mo job – from now on we must once again call her Miss Effanga. Continue reading
(Series 16, ep.50) The storyline about Serena’s mum has been bubbling along for quite a while. When we first met Adrienne we saw how intelligent, funny, independent and kind she was. We saw the relationship between her and Serena was loving, mutually respectful, but with the standard tensions that two women who are more alike than they care to admit will have when their circumstances change and the daughter starts to become the carer. The progress of Adrienne’s dementia has therefore been upsetting to watch, and in last night’s brilliantly crafted episode it reached a crisis.
Serena brought her mum to hospital, suspecting that she was suffering from TIA’s. Raf (not at all Smug in this episode) thought A&E or Keller were more appropriate places for her, but Serena insisted she stayed on AAU where she could keep an eye on her. What would Raf do if Adrienne was his mother? she asked him. Raf agreed to keep her on AAU, but said he would be in charge of her care. Continue reading
(Series 16, ep.43) This week we discovered that Serena’s mother, Adrienne, has “a penchant for a silver fox.” Luckily for her, a thrilling example of the genre had just arrived back in Holby in the form of Ric Griffin. Apparently he’s got Jess all sorted out and safe somewhere, and now he’s back.
His presence was good news and bad news for Serena, under fire from Selfie who thinks her role as a carer for her mother means she can’t give her best, medically-speaking. She thought Selfie was only trying to edge her out because Ric was back, but on the other hand Ric is an enormously reassuring, calm presence. This is just what you need when your mother’s dementia has reached the stage where she’s smashed every mirror in the house and most of the mirrors in the AAU toilets. “At least 21 years of bad luck,” calculated PLA Jr. Continue reading
(Series 16, ep.40) It was the day of the grand unveiling of the Herzig 5. It hardly seems any time at all since we were gasping and marvelling at the Herzig 1, does it?
The problem was that Elliott, as we know, hasn’t been well. He’s been dropping things, falling over and getting tetchy. He’s had an MRI. He’s looked at the results in a troubled manner. It’s something scary and big, and it’s not what you want when there’s a ground-breaking, life-saving piece of kit to showcase and Selfie is relying on you to sell it to the world.
It all culminated in Elliott going wobbly in the middle of doing the operation, just at the point where the machines were going beep. It was all going to go horribly wrong! Elliott’s life’s work would be in ruins! If only there was someone who could take over… Continue reading
(Series 16, ep.33) Where was Ric Griffin in this episode? He was behind the camera, as Hugh Quarshie had his first bash at directing (there’s an interview about that here).
Content-wise, we were back to Smug/Smug/Posh (which took a not completely unexpected twist) and Custodygate (which didn’t). More amusingly, Mo has gone all showbiz and Adele has gone all Darwin.
The most engrossing storyline was Serena’s. Her mum Adrienne reappeared, this time as a visitor, come to see her friend Roger, who was a patient. It quickly became clear that Adrienne was suffering from the Curse of the Holby Visitor – nine times out of ten they end up having something worse than the patient has. In this case, Adrienne was showing signs of dementia, which Selfie verified with a quiz after Adrienne nearly killed Roger by giving him soluble aspirin, which he was allergic to. It was clear that Adrienne was going to need support, and Serena was soon on the hunt for a nice care home. It’s not that she doesn’t love her mother and care about her – it was etched on her face that she does – but both mother and daughter are feisty, independent types. Serena was left with no choice but to have Adrienne move in with her for now – an arrangement which is bound to take its toll. Continue reading