Tag Archives: Rita Tanner

Corrie Street 1 Oct. 2017

Hospital Corridor

Rita flat on her back, eyes wide open, being wheeled in a hospital bed along a hospital corridor. Visible to her only a white ceiling panel, a light panel, ceiling panel, light panel, repeat and repeat. hospital corridor - ceiling and light panels

My gut clenched. I’d been there. Walking alongside a hospital bed along a long white hospital panel. The elderly woman on the bed lying flat on her back, staring up at that same pattern of ceiling panel and light panel. Mewling with fear, trying to turn to see where she was – seeing only long walls of unbroken white. Screaming and struggling to get off the bed, to get away.rita-in-hospital-corridor

Me trying to figure out what was wrong, what was causing such profound fear. Aside from the anxiety that illness and hospitals engender, aside from dementia and hospital-administered sedatives. I looked up and kept my eyes up as I walked along. White ceiling panel, light panel, ceiling panel, light panel. Repeat and repeat, as far as you could see. It was terrifying. And I was walking, not ill, with all my wits about me.

Whoever created that small moment in Thursday’s episode has also been there, I think. Thank you. Hard job, to make something so quiet come so alive on screen. (Especially in the midst of the craziness of such a wonderful hen party as Eva’s!)rita cries

But that sigh -, that stark hospital corridor ceiling, seemingly never ending – conveys everything about the disorientation and fear felt by anyone in pain and anxious about what’s going to happen in a hospital.

For people with Alzheimer’s or any dementia, it must be horrible. Already disoriented maybe and in a new, strange place with no landmarks. Only a white ceiling interspersed with lights.corridor-ceiling

Hospital beds crank up to a sitting position. If the few seconds needed are available, doing so may ease the person in the bed. Seeing the context of the hallway – walls, floor, doorways – not just an unending ceiling going who knows where. Allowing the mind to paint unimaginable horrors on a blank white canvas that is really only ceiling and light panels. But you can’t see the whole when you’re flat on your back.

See my Seeing the World the Alzheimer’s Way for more on the long and winding roads of memory loss.

Corrie Street 17 Sept. 2017

Notes

I was going to pick the scene with Rita saying Len would be home soon. But then Friday, we saw her notes. Reminders to herself about who is who and important bits of information about them. Norris is allergic to nuts, Jenny is marrying Johnny.notes in cupboard

So Rita knows what’s happening to her. She won’t acknowledge it, maybe thinks it’s just normal forgetfulness. I thought that too, when her confusion and forgetting things started. But no, this week’s incidents seem to point only one direction – to Alzheimer’s or similar dementia.

rosie-reads-notesThe only people who are picking up on it are Gemma and Rosie, the two least likely to be listened to by anyone else. But maybe it’s good that it’s them. They both are compassionate. Both know how it feels to be dismissed and looked down on by others. They will take care of Rita, I think, and preserve her feelings and her dignity as best they can while also facing facts.

I like Gemma and Rosie together. That surprises me because, on their own, I find them exhausting to watch. So when they teamed up, I expected them to be doubly wearing. But that’s not the case. Their thickness rosie-and-gemma-read-remindersand their enthusiasm play well together. Maybe it’s because neither is always the ‘straight man’. Each of them can be the smart one compared to the other. Whatever it is, it works brilliantly.

The Lady of Law scene at the beginning of the week, where Rosie scared off Gemma’s horrible friends, showed how effective – and hilarious – their partnership can be. Now, with Rita, we’ll see new facets of Rosie and Gemma individually and together.

rosie-and-gemma-hear-rita-come-inIf it is an Alzheimer’s story, it’s going to be disturbing and very sad. But I’m happy if it plays out with Rosie and Gemma being the guides into it for Rita and the others. Maybe it’s because, of everyone on the street, Rosie and Gemma are most aware that they do not have the answers. And that is maybe the most important thing to know, and remember, when dealing with Alzheimer’s.

rosie-and-gemma-greet-ritaYou can’t change it, fix it or explain it. You can just go with it. Rosie and Gemma are already used to doing that in their own lives. I think they’ll be able to help Rita do it too. I hope so anyway.

See my ‘Look at Bingy’: Alzheimer’s and Distraction for more. Also, if you’re on CBC’s Coronation Street episodes site, be careful! The one marked Friday is a double. Monday’s first episode is in there too. Remember, we’ll now be getting two episodes on Mondays. 

Corrie Street Mar. 8/15

Snapshots

A woman walks into the Rovers with Kevin. If you had never watched an episode and just snapshots framed behind kev and jennyturned on the tv at that moment, I think you would know that her presence was significant. The two stop just inside the doorway.

Between them is a photo montage. It’s been hanging there all along, visible but not really noted. In this shot, though, you can’t miss it. Snapshots cut out and arranged in a frame. The people we can see in it are from the McDonald publican era. Steve, Liz, Michelle, Sean. The people of the Rovers, of the neighbourhood. History and community, and their value to this place, celebrated permanently on its walls.

steve at bar serves jenny and kevBy the camera angle, and the tentative look on the face of the newcomer, you know she has a place in this history, an uncertain place. Jenny Bradley has returned to the street where she spent part of her adolescence twenty-odd years ago. She is nervous of seeing familiar faces, but wants to reconnect with them and her past. Most of all, she is nervous of seeing Rita, her former foster mother whose trust she badly abused.

norris-rita-emily-mary-walk-inSoon another group comes through the Rovers’ door. Rita, Emily, Norris and Mary, milling about the entrance. The picture remains visible behind them. Like Jenny and Kevin, they do not notice it. Maybe that’s because they’re likely in it. They’ve been a continual part of Rovers’ history for a long time.

Only Norris takes a look into the room to see who is there. What he sees he doesn’t like. jenny-says-happy-birthday-to-ritaSo he turns his attention back to Rita. She wants to catch up on everything, having just returned home from a trip. She figures she knows who is in the bar and will greet everyone once she gets settled in. He tells her there’s a bit of news he hadn’t yet told her, and turns toward the room.

Rita and the others look toward the bar and see rita-looks-at-jennythe newcomer. Shock visible on their faces, and especially Rita’s. Anger, sadness, regret and fondness all conveyed in her look: a wagonload of history. And still the camera keeps the photographs in its view.

If, like me, you didn’t watch when Jenny Bradley was on the show, there’s a recap of her story at Bluenose Corrie Blogger.

Corrie Street June 8/14

Tuesday Steve said to Peter what we’ve all been saying. Friday, Rita did the same with Tina. Neither of the recipients paid a blind bit of notice, but at least the words were said.

you-need-to-stay-herePeter having a pity party for himself behind the Rovers. Steve happened by so Peter told him all about the mess his life was. Steve told him that if he loved Carla as he said he did then he should stay with her, that if he cared at all about Simon and his unborn child then he should stay with Carla, that if he was ruining Carla’s life by staying with her then why wouldn’t he maybe ruin Tina’s life as well if he ran away with her. Peter whined on, so Steve asked the central question, “what do you want?” and Peter answered honestly, if unhelpfully, “I don’t know.” In essence, Steve told Peter to grow a pair, the words he used in their next counseling session on the Rovers’ patio.

On Friday, Tina was saying her goodbyes. At the Kabin, she told Rita she was in love and he-went-through-with-itleaving with her new man. And he was married. And he was Peter Barlow. I don’t know why she would think that Rita would just say ‘congratulations’ and wish them well. But evidently she didn’t expect the volley she got from Rita. Rita’s words were not diplomatic. He uses people, he’ll leave you for the next passing fancy just as easily as he’s leaving Carla, he has a son, he’s only been married five minutes. Tina’s rebuttal was that he had known the marriage was a mistake while he was doing it because they already loved each other. Didn’t make it any better in Rita’s books. He did pretty well out of the “mistake”. So he’s moving on backed by Carla’s resources? “Love for sale” was Rita’s opinion on Peter’s loyalty. That comment tipped Tina over the edge.

Tina matched, and surpassed, Rita’s angry words. Who is Mrs. Tanner-Sullivan-rita-slaps-tinaFairclough to sneer about anyone else buying or selling love and friendship, she spat. Rita slapped her. This is a relationship casualty that I would lay at the doorstep of Peter Barlow. As Tina said before the blow-up, she and Rita have been friends, mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter. But no more, not unless Tina has the chance and desire to do a huge amount of groveling.

Before the night was out, Tina saw the truth of Rita’s words, in the spirit if not the Tina-hears-baby-announcementspecifics of her charges against Peter. She heard the evidence of his lies from his own mouth. Rita wasn’t at the Rovers to say “I told you so” but Steve was. The look he gave Peter said “you’d better get yourself out of this somehow, mate.” He then gave Tina the same look. I just hope Steve gets left out of explanations. He might want to use one of those tickets to Portsmouth before Michelle finds out what he knew and when he knew it.

Corrie Street Mar. 16/14

Old Friends

I’m sorry it took Rita’s marriage ending to see some lovely scenes with her and Norris.  said-rita-now friends Norris and Rita talk over teaIn particular, the two of them having tea and a heart-to-heart was good for all of us and showed how very much he cares for her and vice versa.

So often we just see him being nosy and judgemental about everyone and everything on the street.  We forget that he too has lived a full life, and has loved and dreamed.  He even carries a bit of a torch for Rita.  She relies on him, more than she usually is willing to admit.  We don’t often see them speak of personal and emotional matters though.  Norris believes in being the button-downed man.  Even when he is concerned and being supportive, he rarely verbalizes his feelings or wishes to hear norris-listensthe minutiae of another’s emotional state.  While he loves gossip, he doesn’t really want the emotional backstory to it.

We’ve seen a couple wonderful Norris moments lately.  Both were due to Hayley really and involved ballroom dancing, a passion they shared.  Norris taught Roy to dance before Roy took Haley for her big surprise in the Blackpool ballroom.  And, at Hayley’s wake, he saw something amiss with Mary and followed her out to the Rover’s patio.  He saw her dancing alone to music only she heard and he offered to partner her.

Now, with Rita heart-broken and feeling foolish, he alone of her concerned friends actually gets her to talk about it.  Emily and Mary had come offering sympathy and words of advice, she drove them out of the shop.  She didn’t want a fuss, didn’t want anyone incredibly-luckyfeeling sorry for her.  Norris quietly put on the kettle and sat her down with tea and biscuits.  And out it all poured.  He just let her talk.

At the end of it, she realized she had been horribly rude to two very good friends.  She invited Emily, Mary and Audrey to join her and Norris at the Rovers.  They had a good evening together, celebrating Rita’s birthday, yes, but more importantly their long-standing friendship.

Most of the current storylines of cheating, intrigue and nastiness are unsoftened by you-are-strongercompassion.  So it is especially nice to see one – the abrupt departure of Dennis with Gloria – followed by some quiet reflection and affection.  Rita herself might ask, why should it always be the young’uns having all the high drama?  It is not only the young ones who can break hearts and have theirs broken.  But viewers might also ask, why is it being left only to the older characters to give us those necessary but increasingly rare glimpses of shared history and friendship?

late-husband-lawrenceDifferent topic, but I have to mention it. Looking at the tiny urn of bingo lady’s husband’s ashes, Beth asks, “was he quite a little fella?”  LOL!

Corrie Street June 23/13

Rita-and-Tina-in-hall what happens with rita“What happens with Rita stays with Rita” is what Tina wanted to hear.   She needed to hear what Rita said moments earlier when they talked beside baby Jake’s incubator.  The baby is not yours to keep, Rita told Tina.  It’s quite natural that she would have a strong attachment to the infant she carried, but he is Izzy and Gary’s baby.  End of.

take-your-word-for-thatRita is the only person who could say these things to Tina without ticking her off.  Even so, Tina managed to hurt Rita by reminding her, perhaps inadvertently, that she could not know how it feels to give birth to a child.  Rita rallied and let Tina know that she supported her but that she needed to get over her feelings and remember that she was a temporary mother for the child of what-you-saidother people.

This was a powerful and nuanced scene between two women who are friends and, themselves, kind of a mother-daughter surrogacy.  Tina’s confusion and defensiveness was obvious, as was Rita’s deep affection and her trepidation about raising a difficult topic.

Tommy was glad to see the cavalry arrive.  A bit earlier he had said the same thing to just-in-timeTina but she was not taking it from him.  In order to show his love and support for Tina, he had go along with her idea of keeping the baby.  He cannot find the right balance between support and uncomfortable truths in addressing Tina’s wishes and intentions.  Even if he did, he is her boyfriend and is of the same age.  It’s a different relationship dynamic than with Rita.   Tina will listen to her, a woman and older, with more deference than she would to anyone, male or female, of her own age.  The two scenes nicely counterpointed each other.

Owen-entersJust when maybe Rita was getting somewhere with Tina, in walks Owen.  My husband said the Armstrongs and Windasses are like blackflies in a Canadian summer – everywhere, all the time.  You can’t get away from them.

All the actors in this story have been brilliant and Tina especially so.  Her facial and body language alone convey the torment she is feeling.  There have been inconsistencies in what she has said, as there likely would be in such a situation.  She told I-can-see-whyTommy that she realized the extent of her love for the baby when he became ill then moments later told Rita it had nothing to do with his illness, that she had felt it since he was born.  Both statements are true but, of the two, I suspect what she told Rita is truer.  With Rita, she can be completely honest.  Rita demands honesty from her and returns it even when she knows it isn’t what Tina wants to hear.

Tina-looks-at-babyRita’s initial doubts about the surrogacy are proving justified.  Standing in the nursery with Rita, Tina said “I always thought I was the least maternal person in the world.”  Therefore, she left unsaid, giving up the baby would not be a problem for her.  “Now look at me,” realizing that time and a tiny baby change you.  Her words to Tommy showed the price of trying to straighten out that confusion, the pain of “hating yourself for loving your baby.”