Thursday, April 14, 2016

Disability research can be fun! And so can tecfidera :)

...seriously, though, it can be. I've decided to work on an article (or two) on the impact of Lionel Barrymore's Dr Gillespie character in the 30s-40s Kildare/Gillespie series of films. There's been some work done out there on the impact Barrymore's wheelchair use in films (he worked almost exclusively in a wheelchair due to arthritic pain and injury from 1938 till his last film in 1953, one of the very few actors to actually be in a wheelchair and act) may have had on the "normalizing" of wheelchairs and users. Now, it seems the evil 50s undid some of that work on screen, with the return of evil/victim/"super-crip" wheelchair users, but I have to admit, the popularity of the Kildare series and Baryrmore's really high profile is something unique to the time.

Anyway, so it's been fun because I get to watch all 9 Kildare films and all 6 Gillespie films for quantitative analysis first (article 1), then take that and work up an article on the impact those films had on public perception of wheelchairs/users.  I'm very glad I can watch them on a computer so I can grab images to help explain what I'm trying to do.  Here's a couple:
Lew Ayres & Lionel Barrymore, Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (LB did play piano and composed--one of his pieces is played at the end of this film)
First entrance of Dr. Leonard B. Gillespie in the series, in Young Dr. Kildare, 1938

I'm learning a lot about how much work went into creating the character and filming him--Barrymore had by this time been working at MGM for almost 15 years and after he had to use a wheelchair, he made 36 films, not counting narrations. He was considered both too popular and good to let languish, and the Kildare films were incredibly popular and profitable for MGM, which made 2-3 a year.

And besides all that, Lionel Barrymore was a great actor! It's been fun to watch the Kildare films and explore his other work. It makes my tired brain, which is finally coming out of a relapse, feel better.

To that purpose, the Tecfidera I started seems to be working out. I haven't had any side effects I notice, and my tummy is pretty much made of iron. I don't anticipate tummy upset. I'm not too worried about PML, especially since that month of relapse was horrible. We're still waiting on the ocrelizumab to be approved, which would be fantastic. It was a godsend when I was in the Phase II trial for it 8 or so years ago now (2009).  Even better if it helps PPMS too.

Off to work and do more coding and watch more Barrymore. Cute cuss in his time, too:

1929, The Mysterious Island

Newest tattoo, LB as Davidson in Sadie Thompson, 1928. I'll be getting his brother John as Hamlet on my other calf at the end of the month. Yes, I have a few tattoos, all of which I can if I choose cover up :)