A couple weeks ago, I joined millions of other Americans who have had gall bladder surgery. The surgery was not particularly remarkable, except personally. A robot-assisted cholecystectomy was my first surgery and hospitalization — and my first recovery that briefly had me doubting that I’d ever be me again.
Then along came Turner Classic Movies. I was at home, being carefully tended by friend Alice, who, along with friend Pat, made sure I was safe and warm and my dogs had company. I had installed myself in a guest room on a reclining chair that I could use for private rest without dogs jumping up on me (and my tender tummy). I was also near a washroom which seemed important, based on how often I was asked about my bathroom activities while in the hospital.
So there I am, tired and not interested in much including meals. What to do. I turn on a TV and quickly get bored with news of politics and am saddened with news of a storm in Texas.
I knew the cable channel TCM existed, but I had never watched it. However, I turned to Direct TV channel 256 and there they were — gorgeous young people in black and white and color falling in love, enjoying 18-inch waistlines, dressed in magnificent gowns and formal ware, singing, dancing, portraying adult fairy tales and otherwise taking my mind off anything current. Lots of rich people were in the movies and their homes were large and solidly magnificent, though often the “ordinary” folks won the day. Hairdos were full of curls and ringlets that only Hollywood could produce. Each movie also had a cast of wonderful older character actors who seemed to travel from movie to movie.
Because TCM was running a promotion where several movies starring the same folks were run in succession, I had the chance to fall in love with handsome actor/tenor Dennis Morgan and increase my admiration for actress (inventor of radium as Madame Curie) Greer Garson. Gene Kelly knocked my socks off (again) with An American in Paris and I had to look up his age in that movie because he danced so gracefully and was so athletic. (He was 38 years old; his co-star Leslie Caron was just 18.) I even had a chance to see a couple films with Marion Davies. I knew of her only as William Randolph Hearst’s lady friend. I assumed she was not much of an actress, being the boss’s girl, but she was charming and funny and really quite lovely. I looked her up, too. Marian Davies starred in nearly 50 movies and had a successful career even before Mr. Hearst.
George Sanders was in a number of movies played during my recuperation. Tall with a magnificent voice, I looked up his height (6’3″) AND discovered he had been married to two Gabor sisters (Zsa Zsa and Magda) and that he committed suicide at age 65 saying simply that he was bored with life.
And of course, who can not look at movies starring Elizabeth Taylor whose Cat on a Hot Tin Roof character was so beautiful that credibility is stretched when through much of the movie, Paul Newman’s character claims not to be interested in her.
While the beautiful people loved and lost and sang and danced, they also smoked….alot. Smoking was mighty sexy in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, but I found it somewhat painful to see all that smoking while knowing the consequences. And ethnic diversity? Hollywood of the 30s, 40s and 50s hadn’t heard of it.
I did make it through one book during my recuperation, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Founding of the FBI” — quite a fascinating true story.
So movie by movie with a bit of reading thrown in, my tummy got better and better, stopped hurting and even allowed me to pick up items on the floor and move and twist in an almost normal way. Initial recovery period: two weeks. The stitches and a drain came out at the end of the two weeks and my surgeon (Dr. Allan D. Macintyre) said if I needed anything else taken out I should call him. (Doctor humor.) He actually did quite a fine job for me, knowing how to operate a fancy new $2 Million machine that assisted him with the surgery.
Otherwise, my thanks go to the local medical care community which treated me wonderfully in all regards. (My surgery was at the new Henderson Hospital.) My friends who called kept me wanting to get back to good times with them. And yes, I thank Ted Turner for those wonderful old movies (with no advertising) that passed healing time in the most delightful way.