My friend Joan Considine Johnson is a writer on the television series, DOC (on the PAX network and starring country singer Billy Ray Cyrus), and she wrote an episode that featured a storyline about CF. She sent me a tape (with a donation), which Jules and I watched last night. I'm being lazy, so I'm just going to paste the email I sent to Joan right here:
We received your donation and the DOC tape yesterday. Thank you so much for helping out.
Julie and I watched the episode you sent last night and I thought it was very good. I like this show. I wish I watched it more. Nice job on the script, too. I like how all of the story lines had a connection. The teacher who suffered a great loss in her life ties in with the nurse and the loss she felt. The theme of parenthood between the nurse and the lawyer related to how the cop and his wife handled their son's predicament. And of course, all of this, loss and parenthood tied into the girl with CF, who has lost both parents and must now face her own mortality.
It must have been tough trying to explain so much CF info in an hour program, and still stay within the confines of your structured series. "7th Heaven" did an episode about CF this year, too. One of the leads has a stepsister with CF and they featured said sister as the character on the show with CF. I’ll be honest, I liked the way DOC did their show better.
(On a side note, the only reason I even watch "7th Heaven" is because the lead from my movie had a reoccurring role the past two seasons).
There were two things that really struck me about the episode, being a parent with a child who has CF.
1. I felt that the girl was a little old just now learn she had CF. Although I've heard of varying cases of the disease, for as sick as she was supposed to be. And actually, she didn't seem that sick to me to have pneumonia. I realize this is nitpicking (and I really liked the young actresses performance, otherwise). Again, this is just what I felt.
2. The story that the nurse tells Bill Ray about her brothers seemed very heartfelt. What brought me to tears was her telling him that as her second brother got sicker and sicker, she was able to understand and realize that he might die. And I immediately thought about my daughter, Sophie. She is so close to her baby brother and loves him so much. She ism protective (like most big sisters of brothers), but she's also so aware that something is different with his "sixty five roses". I can't bear to imagine what pain she may feel someday if...
I don't even want to write it.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Take them with a grain of salt. Congratulations with the show. It's nice that there is still programming out there that the whole family can watch together, and with quality writing, too.
Finishing off this posting, it's strange because I can be cynical when I watch TV, and there were moments when I was watching the opening of this episode I was like, "Oh, this is so...." Don't get me wrong; I really DO like the show. It's just easy to pick on a series that is trying to be wholesome (like the PAX network promotes). Anyway, my point is, and Julie said the same thing, that the moment Billy Ray Cyrus reveals that this teenage girl has CF my heart broke. Julie said she wanted to cry. We knew what the plot was, but it didn't matter. I guess it's probably hard for some people to understand unless they've been faced with a similar situation in their lives.
There is a song in the show sung by country singer Tammy Cochran called "Angels in Waiting". In the episode of Doc, Tammy plays the nurse who lost her brothers to CF. I guess in reality, Tammy also lost brothers to CF. The song is heartbreaking.