Hello, This Is Your 36-Year Wake-Up Call…

Six years ago, almost exactly, I went to my doctor because I wasn’t feeling well, and after blood tests and all I came out with a diagnosis of diabetes. I was upset, understandably, but started on my oral meds and made a promise to take care of myself.

Last Wednesday, I ended up in the hospital with a gross infection (you don’t need details) that was made much worse because my blood sugar was way high and I basically haven’t been taking care of myself like I’d promised. Turns out, with high blood sugar, your body can’t heal itself as well as normal.

After being admitted to the hospital by way of the ER on Wednesday evening, I was finally discharged Sunday afternoon. I paid for the ER visit, I’ll have what I think will be 4 days of in-patient copays, plus all my exciting new drugs to pay for (more on that later). Then there are the doctor follow-ups. Oh, and I missed a week of work last week, and I’ll miss this week as well, and I’m out of PTO. All of this is to say, besides having the physical health manifestations of my poor disease management, I also am going to be in a bit of a tough financial situation, too.

Now, I’m fortunate, I know that. I’m living with my parents at this time, so no rent to pay, plus they can provide a lot of support. I have health insurance, and it’s pretty good health insurance, with all premiums covered by my employer. (The most frustrating part is that I have to elect my new benefits, including my FSA contributions, by the 15th, which isn’t necessarily enough time to know how much I’m going to want to put on the plan, but I’ll know to bump it up significantly from previous years.) The medical care I received has been phenomenal, both from the actual medical expertise to incredible emotional support through the kindness and tough love I got from the doctors and — especially — the nurses who cared for me. Nurses are the most important people in the world, if you didn’t know.

Overall, I’m fortunate that everything is “good”. I’m not in immediate danger anymore. I’m healing well and I’m hopeful to be back to work next Monday — I figure the 3-day week before the Thanksgiving holiday will be a good time to re-acclimate to going to work for 8 hours a day (and driving over an hour total in commutes), as well as practicing some better food habits. Also: giving myself insulin at work.

Because, yeah, I’ve left the hospital on insulin, not an oral drug. That was actually sort of my choice, in that I think if I’d insisted on not doing the insulin, they would’ve put me on the orals. But even as a big needle baby, I got comfortable with the insulin pens they were using for me at the hospital, and one of my nurses even made me start doing it to myself. (I wonder if she suspected that I might need to stay on it longer than I was ready to admit.)

Throughout my stay, I was constantly verifying my name and date of birth, which meant constantly remembering that my birthday is coming up this week (Thursday, in fact!). I’ll be 36. I’m not having any kind of age-related crisis, but this all going down right before my birthday does make for a pretty handy marker for a big set of changes in my life. I don’t know what goals I want to have before I turn 37 — I’m not sure what’s realistic at this point — but I do want to come up on my next birthday feeling like I made significant improvements over this one.

So, it’s my 36-year wake up call. I’m not hitting the snooze button.

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

XFRW: 1X03 “Conduit”

I’ll be straight with you: I am fighting a cold, tired, and this isn’t one of my favorite episodes. So this will probably be short. (If you are just joining us here, maybe you’d like to check out the first three episodes to see that I actually do enjoy this project!)

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it specifically yet, but I will not be doing 200+ posts in this project. Some episodes that fall to the bottom of the barrel will get combined into posts for quicker passes — the next post, actually, will be the first of these. So you may be saying, Katie, you just said this wasn’t one of your favorites? Why not combine this with another? It’s a legit question! But the reason is actually pretty simple:

(Fun Fact: Her middle initial changes to "A" later in the series.)

(Fun Fact: Her middle initial changes to “A” later in the series.)

This episode never really ends up connecting to the larger mytharc; possible abductee Ruby is very vague and tight-lipped upon her return about what happened. But what is so important here is that it’s really the first time we get to see how Mulder was affected by his sister’s abduction. We heard about the incident in the Pilot episode, but that was just the story, told pretty flat and matter-of-fact. But here, we get to see into his pain, into that missing that so often can’t be put into words.

They are not at all subtle in drawing the parallels.

They are not at all subtle in drawing the parallels.

Basically, this episode is a whole bunch of Samangstha (a word I just made up this very moment). It shows itself in nice ways, in how Mulder speaks with Ruby’s little brother Kevin (who’s somehow receiving binary signals from satellites?), in how Mulder’s happy to sass the national security guys shirtless to try and protect Kevin, and in how pained he looks when he think he may have found Ruby’s body — after all, if Ruby was abducted but is now buried, what does this mean for his sister?

And at the end of the episode, we even get a shot of Mulder appearing to be praying in a church:


While we haven’t really touched on it yet in the series, the church and religion are far more Scully’s area than Mulder’s, so this scene so early in the series is a bit of a shock when looking back.

Speaking of the end, the music during this last bit is absolutely beautiful. Mark Snow’s scores are always solid, and he manages the slide from dark and creepy to sweet and tender to light and humorous so well throughout the entire series. You can listen to it below, while reading the voiceover that goes with it.

DR. WERBER: But your eyes are open?

MULDER: Yeah, they’re open but it’s like, nothing’s happening.

DR. WERBER: Try turning your head.

MULDER: I can’t.

DR. WERBER: Why not?

MULDER: I don’t know. I can’t move, so I don’t…I just lie there in bed.

DR. WERBER: Can you see your sister?

MULDER: No, but I can hear her.

DR. WERBER: What is she saying?

MULDER: She’s calling out my name, over and over again. She’s crying out for help but I can’t help her. I can’t move.

DR. WERBER: Are you scared?

MULDER: I know I should be but I’m not.

DR. WERBER: Do you know why?

MULDER: Because of the voice.

DR. WERBER: The voice?

MULDER: The voice in my head.

DR. WERBER: What’s it telling you?

MULDER: Not to be afraid. It’s telling me no harm will come to her, and that one day she’ll return.

DR. WERBER: Do you believe the voice?

MULDER: I want to believe.

Since it’s so early in the show, I wonder if watching this live and new right when it aired, rather than after I already had a lot of Samangstha episodes down, might give a more favorable feeling about this episode. It’s a little like the Pilot, in that I get sort of a “this is how it all started” feel from it, but not nearly as strong or satisfying. I’d love to hear if you have a different take! Leave a comment, or tweet me, or leave a reply on Facebook, however you feel more comfortable joining in. You can also share your giant binary drawings of your sibling or other loved one!

That's seriously impressive, Kevin.

That’s seriously impressive, Kevin.

As mentioned at the start of this post, the next post will be combining some episodes together: “The Jersey Devil” and “Shadows”. That puts a teeny bit less pressure on me to think of brilliant things to say about meh episodes, and it mean we get to a really awesome episode that much faster!

Thanks so much for everyone’ who’s read, commented, or liked a post on Twitter/FB! While I’m doing this for me, I also love when you all get involved, too.

XFRW: 1X02 “Squeeze”

It’s our first real Monster of the Week (MotW) episode! And despite only being the 3rd episode of the show, it’s managed to give a really lasting impression to viewers. Our monster, Eugene Victor Tooms, is certainly among the most memorable of the various XF villains.

It’s our first time seeing Scully outside of her new assignment, with other colleagues who respect her — but who clearly don’t respect her new partner. And so it’s also our first time seeing Scully’s real feelings on this assignment, and how she feels when people reduce her partner to “Spooky” Mulder.

She's not a fan.

She’s not a fan.

There’s a very interesting comment at the start of this scene, as Scully is catching up with her old FBI Academy classmate (Tom Colton). In discussing a bit of acceleration he got in his career, Scully notes that he “lucked into the World Trade Center bombing.”  While, obviously, this is referring to the 1993 bombing attack rather than the 2001 plane attacks, it’s no less odd to hear about it being a “lucky” thing. I don’t necessarily doubt that some might have considered those kinds of high-profile assignments as “lucky”, I wonder if it’s still considered that way these days. Does a terrorist bombing still get seen as an opportunity for career advancement? (It probably does, because human beings don’t necessarily change that much.)

The line is probably lost pretty quickly, because that’s when Colton starts ripping on Mulder and Scully is not having it. He mentions that if Scully does a good job helping on this weird case of his, maybe he can “rescue” her from the X-Files and she “won’t have to be Mrs. Spooky anymore.” Please, nerd. I also have serious doubts that other people call Scully “Mrs. Spooky”. This definitely feels like a dude who always wanted to get with her, missed his chance, and now could have a new chance, but he thinks he needs to rescue her. Dude needs to chill.

I like that Scully goes and tells Mulder about what people say about him, too. Mostly because it gives us this moment:


While Colton is trying to drag Mulder as loon — and Mulder plays into it gleefully by giving a lecture on the skin color of aliens — Mulder several times shows his respect to Scully. While at first he doesn’t expect the killer to return to the scene of the crime, he readily admits to Scully that she was right, and he backs her up to the other agents who say she just missed this one. He also gets a little territorial, at one point reaching out to pull at her necklace:


Interesting, Scully never wears a long necklace like this ever again. Just her cross.

Throughout this episode, Scully is not her own woman. Mulder gives her more respect, but only just. He’s okay with her going to work with the Violent Crimes team to investigate this from the “normal” side of things, but he still does his own investigation from the “paranormal” side. When Scully is happily assisting the VC team, they constantly throw disrespect at her. And yet, it’s not disrespect about her, but it’s all about Mulder. She’s just a target, a safe place to aim their mudslinging. Which means that this woman, who’s just happy to be invited to provide some insights to an interesting case, ends up covered in mud.

But it’s okay, because Scully is a bad ass, and she can handle a bit of mud:

SCULLY: Is this what it takes to climb the ladder, Colton?


TOM COLTON: All the way to the top.


SCULLY: Then I can’t wait ’til you fall off and land on your ass.

Alas, this bad-assery isn’t enough to keep Scully from getting attacked by our bad guy, who I realize I haven’t talked about much here, after starting off talking about how memorable he is. Really, he’s like the creepiest. Santa. EVER.


He prefers you leave a plate of raw liver out, not cookies.

He builds his 30-year hibernation nest by basically doing paper mache with newspaper. Makes me wonder: If he were to be back in 2023, would there still be newspapers that he could use? Hmm. Makes you think.

Also, we have the prediction by Mulder that Scully will be running the FBI by 2023. She’s got 7 years. Make a note.

This post ended up being focused a lot on how Scully was treated by a whole bunch of men around her. It’s something I didn’t notice when I was first watching the show, and it’s something I was interested to see if I picked up on it in this rewatch. Well, not the specific situation of everyone in the FBI fighting over Scully like she’s a prize to be won, but just from a more feminist slant. Considering how much of an icon Scully has become, it’ll be interesting to see how she was handled in the “text” itself. It’ll be interesting to me, for sure, so I hope you’ll be interested as well!

Coming a little later this week will be “Conduit”, and then next week there will be just one post. More on that later! Hey, if you’re reading and enjoying, feel free to leave comments, or to retweet my tweets or share Facebook posts. Spread the word! I’m doing this for me first and foremost, but it’s always fun to have friends along for the ride.