Who in the heck are these people and why would someone read about them while recovering from painful surgery? The first question is easy, especially if you are an ardent UK tv watcher. They are E.F. Benson's fictional Mapp and Lucia in Tilling, England. During the month of December yet another version of them was shown on BBC tv. These are Benson's most beloved characters and I include myself in their number. Readers go ga ga over them because they are so damn funny. They are two middle aged women who are locked in a state of perpetual conflict over which of them is in control of their village, Tilling. The six novels are set in that time between the two world wars.
What do you do while in a great deal of pain for an extended period of time? I am still in pain from knee replacement. I was in pain even longer with colon cancer as it was a month recovering from surgery followed by six months of severe chemotherapy. I would love to report that these were times of great creative endeavors and that I did some of my best art during this period. Nope. My creative self all but disappears in the throes of pain. So does most enjoyment of film and tv. Only two things seem to work for me while in the throes of great pain. One is reading novels and the other is listening to audiobooks. During the nighttime, I may turn off the lights at about 7pm and thereafter doze and listen until 6am. Normally I listen or read something which is entirely new to me. When I am in pain, I adore listening or reading to my favorites yet again.
I reread all 6 original novels and 2 homage novels as written by other authors. The library also had 2 of the audiobooks available so I checked them out as well on the Overdrive App on my iPad. I also downloaded the novels in the public domain from the US (2 of them) plus all 6 in the public domain in Australia. These are free. However, I had to read them vertically and I prefer reading them horizontally. Amazon has a omnibus of 19 works by E.F. Benson including his wonderful, hard to find ghost stories. I was able to read them all on my Kindle app for my iPad for $2.99. Go here if you too want the omnibus version. Now I finally feel like watching again the tv series from the '80s. Plus I watched the newest adaptation of it which was released this past Christmas of 2014. I have kept the video files of all of this tv work and am now in the frame of mind to see them. Ergo, I must be getting better!!!
Here are more of the Mapp and Lucia audiobooks:
I had steadfastly avoided all of the Harry Potter books. However, come time for my chemo, and I could resist no longer. All 7 books were in print or online and the audiobooks had also been released, by Jim Dale in the US and Stephen Fry in the UK. I had not realized prior to this that most audiobooks have one narrator for the US market and a different narrator for the UK audience. I hate to be disloyal but from what I have listened to as audiobooks, we Americans have a long way to go to beat the UK in audio voice narration. They must be enunciating in the womb!
I rapidly switched to Stephen Fry after giving both narrators a test listen. I got to the movies at the end of chemo, all 8 movies having been released by the time I finished. I then watched them and loved them too. I had originally planned on re-watching Seinfeld for my chemo. I tried watching it during my first chemo and could only watch for about 5 minutes. I had to turn it off. It was just too much. In picking these works, I especially wanted a story which continued. The Mapp and Lucia books have 6 novels written by Benson and 5 homage novels of Mapp and Lucia written by Tom Holt and Guy Fraser-Sampson. The Harry Potter books have 7 huge novels. If you want to listen to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter, go here.
CLARIFICATION: A friend and I exchanged points on Monday's blog entry via email and apparently I need to stress one item which I did not explain enough. Medicare, being a control junkie of an organization, has as part and parcel of your rehab stay that you must be capable of being rehabbed. It can deny coverage for this stay if you cannot be rehabbed (at skilled nursing facility or equivalent) and just are going to stay in the same position you are at point of entry. You are not being rehabbed then; you instead are a candidate for being in a nursing home. I think there is gray area for interpreting this "being rehabbed", which is why I saw so many people capable of doing very little, indeed doing that very little in the PT gym. But outright inability to do anything to rehab will run smack into that eligibility rule. If you are eligible for medicaid, this is where medicaid would cut in but you basically have to have no assets and no income other than government based (social security) to qualify. I doubt if very many people reading this column qualify for medicaid. Please feel free to email me if you likewise feel I need to be clearer on a point.