As her mother’s health deteriorates in BBC1’s Holby City (Tuesday), consultant Serena Campbell has a tough choice to make, as Catherine Russell reveals…
Serena’s mother Adrienne’s dementia is worsening this week and Holby’s deputy CEO has to bring her into hospital with a cut on her leg. How’s Serena coping with her mother’s deteriorating health?
“I suspect not particularly well. Serena’s one of those people that likes to feel in control of her life and, as such, finds it difficult to ask for help mainly because she’s embarrassed. Serena doesn’t want to admit to her work colleagues that anything’s terribly wrong.”
Serena’s turmoil is obvious to inpatient Angela, though, who takes an interest in Serena and her mother…
“That’s right. As Angela asks questions, Serena insists she’s fine. Then Angela reveals she’s a qualified psychologist, who has noticed Serena is stressed. Serena is NEVER stressed, but it’s clear the pressures of having to take care of Adrienne on her own are beginning to show – and the cracks are starting to appear.”
Holby boss Guy Self then fears Serena’s concerns for her mother will start to affect her work – and says she may have to make a choice. How does Serena feel?
“Adrienne’s condition is affecting Serena’s work in so much as, at the very least, she’s distracted. Serena has always feared Guy would say she can’t cope with looking after her mother and being at work, which is another reason why she’s tried to keep her mother’s condition under wraps.”
Later, Adrienne causes a scene when she smashes up all the mirrors in the hospital toilets. How is Serena dealing with the physical aspects of her mother’s dementia?
“Well, she isn’t dealing with it really. As the episodes progress you’ll see more and more aggression and violence from Adrienne, which Serena doesn’t cope with well at all. It’s a huge problem for her.”
Following the incident, Guy tells Serena she has a decision to make: is she a carer or a consultant? Can she be both?
“I think Serena can be both, but she’ll need to be prepared to ask for help. Serena’s got to admit she can no longer care for Adrienne on her own.’
Why do you think the issue of dementia is an important storyline for Holby to tackle?
“I think it’s come at a particularly pertinent moment – there’s a lot about dementia out there because we are an increasingly ageing society. If you look after yourself, you’ll probably live way into your Nineties… Well, your body will, but will your mind? Dementia is such a cruel disease and a really tricky subject to tackle, but it’s great that a continuing drama like Holby is prepared to deal with it.”