Friday, March 27, 2015

Felix Wants Out! Nurse Ratched He's Not.



note: Felix is Jim, my husband. Felix's life is slowly returning to normal after my knee surgery. He had all along said this was going to be really major surgery with a really major recovery. I didn't believe him until I woke up in recovery and looked at myself and felt the anesthesia wear off. Then I believed. After that he was continually on call for my care and began saying that he'd become Nurse Ratched from the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." He keeps claiming he has sent away for her costume (above) online for himself.

I thought his asking for her outfit was just a joke until I found out it is a rather popular costume for parties. If you think Nurse Ratched looks out of step with the times, you need to remember that the movie was made in 1975 with Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher (Ratched) but in 1963 it was a hit play on Broadway starring Kirk Douglas with Joan Tetzel in the Ratched role.. And before that it was written as a novel by Ken Kesey in 1962. In the post WWII years before Kesey's novel was released, mental hospitals were controlling their patients by overmedicating them and, even worse, doing surgery on them to calm them down, such as lobotomies. Unlike most mental patients today, back in the 1940s and 1950s, almost all such patients were long term hospitalized and usually by the state. So Nurse Ratched, and her extreme methods with mental patients, goes all the way back to those decades. Her hair and outfit fits that time period.

I did find Felix the Nurse Ratched cap, left. It can be made using the instructions on eHow here. Paper caps like this are true to that post WWII Ratched nursing time but have not been in use since then. Nurses rarely wear caps at all today. There is no standard dress uniform either. This remains a popular costume though so you can easily make one for yourself or your grandchild for Halloween. Felix could easily make this so I wonder if I will shortly be seeing him in it.


As an historical note, Kirk Douglas was too old for the Jack Nicholson leading part when Cuckoo's Nest was finally set to be made into a movie. However, he had bought its movie rights when he'd played the lead on Broadway. His son Michael wanted to go into the movie business but as a producer so Kirk gave the project to him. Michael's best friend and roommate was Danny DeVito so Michael gave him one of the parts and it launched DeVito's career. Ironically, Michael Douglas was a very successful, Oscar winning producer for years because he didn't think he would be as good an actor and especially as good as his father who was an old school movie star. As we all know, Michael was wrong about his ability to go the distance in acting.


So how does Felix resemble Ratched? Perhaps the thing Felix hates most about this recovery is that he's been forced to follow some of my shortcuts. Felix hates shortcuts. He is inherently suspicious of them. But he had no time for himself with me at home with this bum knee. Hating shortcuts may be the one thing he truly has in common with Nurse Ratched. She did not believe in shortcuts unless they were scalpels to the brain. Felix hates breaking his routine in any respect so they are soulmates over this issue.

In his new found Shortcuts mode I found him coming home with salads he'd made at Heinen's salad bar, with wraps from Heinen's deli, with take out Chinese from that great place one suburb over which only does take out. Then I found him using Walmart too. These are all my places, selected with the singular thought of it works and fast so use it. This is just like the shortcut directions I use for getting around, making my own maps so I am never hindered by traffic. He has discovered places with my shortcuts that he never even dreamed existed. Just imagine the mortification of it though: Felix using Oscar's domestic tips!

I will admit that Felix has been through the wringer. There are these little yellow slips of paper all over our breakfast bar because he had to set up a schedule for all of my medications. It was a deluge of medicine all through the day and night. That has now been cut way down. When I got home I was taking 12 oxycontin plus tylenol each day and that was a cutback in pain medication because I'd previously been on morphine all day and night long. The oxycontin is down to 1 or at most two, the tylenol I only use when I skip the oxycontin entirely, and so on. The problem with all this pain medication is that you have to take other medicine for its side effects. I am on a low enough dose that most of the side effects are gone so we are cutting out one medicine after another as each week goes by.


Felix also has tons of stuff stacked up in the dining room because he had to make me a hospital bed-day bed. He made it from a mattress I got free from Amazon as a top reviewer. It took him days and days but I love it. In all of those bags in the dining room is all my stuff including the art quilts I made for myself. So I have to go through the bags and sort all of the stuff. My laundry and clothing is sort of heaped over there too. Next to that is my other computer equipment. I look at it, think about it, and then erase it from my mind until I hit a better day in true Oscar fashion.

Now I am also occupied with an art project so Felix is doing some fun stuff too. He was going up and down to the garage today doing workshop stuff. Both of us creatively had come to a complete standstill until this week. This creativity coming to the fore is vastly improving our state of mind. A few times we felt ourselves becoming Jack (me) attacking Ratched (Felix), as shown to the left. But now that we are making some creative time perhaps that time has passed. Actually, with me playing Jack, I more commonly felt this way about my physical therapists but I controlled myself. Just. If you have never read the novel, seen the movie or the play, you really need to do so. It is an American masterpiece. Felix has seen it and is now busy exiting stage left as fast as he can so he can ditch his leading role in it.


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