Fame! I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly!
Actually, to be honest, I was much calmer than that by the end of the day, but when it all started, I was all over the place.
Back in November of last year, OBBO, a support system I am a member of, wrote to everyone in the group to say that they had been contacted by the BBC asking to talk to any members of the group who were comfortable to give a quick appraisal of their story. Myself, I didn’t really have anything much to say as I was still very early in the process, but I thought there would be no harm replying to the request, stating that although I was still waiting for an op, I was more than happy to tell them anything that I knew and that might help them out.
I heard nothing back and forgot about it.
Then out of the blue I had an email from Nicola Lawrence from BBC Radio Oxford, asking if it might be okay to call for a chat. Now ordinarily when put on the spot, I will try to think on my feet and delay until I have worked up the courage to go through with the task at hand, but on this occasion I decided to take it on the chin and put some of that expensive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to use and ask myself “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Well I decided that nothing could happen, I was in my office in my home and under absolutely NO pressure to perform or to say anything I did not want to say.
Let’s go for it!
So I had my call back and the conversation went well. So well in fact that Nicola asked if I would mind being called back again from the Studio so that she could record an interview. There was no pressure, If I didn’t like a question, I don’t have to answer, if I felt I answered incorrectly, I could have another go. I had nothing to lose so we started an interview which as you would imagine was a standard question from the studio, answer from me and then repeat. There were no right or wrong answers, no one to disagree with my answer and no one to interrupt so things went pretty smoothly and I actually enjoyed myself. At the end of it, she remarked how well I had done and asked, would I mind doing a live interview on the Monday morning with Phil Gayle of BBC Radio Oxford. They were running a story that there was a significant year on year increase in the number of procedures being performed and wanted to get the view-point of people who were actually to be affected by the increase. As I was waiting for a procedure, I was an ideal candidate for the interview.
I thought about here request for a while and thought why not, I had nothing to lose or gain from it and maybe if anyone was listening to my interview, they may decide to look into the surgery themselves. So after agreeing, my next question was “What about the interview we recorded?” I was told that sound bites of it would be used on the hourly news when they discussed the increase in procedures. No harm I thought, little did I know that the sound bites would be on the hour every hour all morning! Anyway, Nicola thanked me, said that someone would call just before 8am and I would be linked to the studio in order to talk the Presenter Phil Gayle. Just as she was about to hang up though, she asked me if I would be okay if she passed my details onto the TV side of the studio, BBC South. I again said that I had no issue with it and thought, nothing will come of that so no worries, lets just concentrate on doing the interview on the Monday morning, a whole 60 hours away.
Well that weekend was one of the longest ever. Talk about nerves! I could not settle to one thing or another, I could not keep busy or my mind on anything wondering if I had done the right thing or was I going to have an anxiety attack as soon as I got the phone call. Keep thinking like this, I thought, and I won’t even make the phone call! Eventually the time passed and I was awake on Monday morning. Now I am usually and early bird but this morning was ridiculous, it was 5am! a whole three hours till the call. What could I do to pass the time till then? My head was a complete fidgety mess of incoherent mumbles! Eventually I pulled myself together with a good strong cup of Yorkshire tea and the day began to calm. I went to my office and started to do some writing and as I did, a zen like quality kind of came over me so when the call came through, I was as cool as talking to anyone I may meet through the course of the day (at least I thought I was, maybe someone else might believe a dry mouth and a squeaky voice was showing a touch of nerves)
So I had a chat with a DJ on live radio, I answered his questions and I gave my opinion of the process and help surrounding the procedures and at the end, felt like it had gone well. To that end, I had a few calls and text messages from people who had caught it and had been impressed. Actually, just a quick not to all those out there that didn’t think I knew what I was talking about and thought I sounded terrible, thanks for keeping your opinions to yourselves, much appreciated, after all, I’d never done it before! 😉
After a day of positive feedback and things generally appearing to go better than normal, I received a telephone just after lunch from Adina Campbell, the BBC South Reporter.
TV really was interested. Gulp!
Adina introduced herself and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed for a story they were going to run, a story about an increase in Bariatric Surgery Procedures. That sounds familiar I thought, where had I heard that before…?
She told me that herself and her cameraman could be there with me in forty-five minutes if I was interested in just putting a few things down on tape for her. Why not, why not indeed.
What about my hair? I was wearing my tartan pixie boot slippers and some jogging bottoms. This would not do. I needed hair gel, beard oil and fresh clothes STAT!
So she and Jonathan came to call and in no time we were discussing what they wanted, what she would ask and also if there was any back story or lead up they could show me doing whilst they did a voiceover. You know the thing, when they form the person walking along the street and into the shop where they are having a funky new haircut or some such. Well, we could think of nothing. There was a blank. So I said, how about we do some filming of me writing a script? Maybe you could get that into the story about being relatively housebound so all I really do is write and dream up ideas as a kind of escape via my imagination. ell I think that bit got missed because after my wonderful interview, all you see is me walking into my office and typing on my computer, lost a bit in translation there! Anyway, it all went very well. Adina and Jonathan had me at ease in no time and with the camera set up and Adina on the chair opposite and she was firing questions at me as she did so, I became more and more animated and almost hot under the collar trying to get my point across, that fat people weren’t lazy, we didn’t sit around all day eating McDonalds and drinking Alcopops.
We discussed the fact that I was overweight through a series of situations and injuries that had occurred over the years and that my fluctuating mental health never allowed me to address these issues completely each time. Now if I was being offered an opportunity to undergo surgery to primarily help address my weight and in doing so, secondarily be beneficial to a good deal of my other ailments so that they would become much more manageable, then yes I was going to grab it with both hands!
That last couple of lines there was pretty much all that was shown of the interview that took over twenty minutes to record, but I think I came over well and they didn’t make me look daft, they picked an ideal part of the interview that was relevant to the part of the report I was in.
Anyway, as they were leaving Adina and Jonathan both said that I had done very well and that if I was interested there may be an opportunity do some more filming should they decide there was a possibility of making some follow-up reports.
I quickly but calmly said yes.
SO watch this space…..