Saturday, 4 March 2017

Genesis of a Time Lord - Chapter 3: The myth of Cystic Fibrosis

Written in 1998, Genesis of a Time Lord used the mythology of Doctor Who to educate in a fun way the definition of Cystic Fibrosis.

Join James and find out how he came to know that Cystic Fibrosis is not all it's made to be.

Previously in Chapter 2:

“The Doctor,” Mum said, “asked if we, that is your dad and I, could help him with the child.” Mum smiled and wiped away another tear. “Of course we were delighted and always have been ever so proud to be of help to the Doctor in bringing you up. Though we did face some difficulties.” She said with a worried look. She looked at the shocked expression on my face. “Um, I’ll put the kettle on. You look like you could do with a cup of tea for the shock.”

CHAPTER 3: The myth of Cystic Fibrosis

Little did I notice my cup of tea had gone cold. I was too busy taking in all that had happened in the last few hours. Especially as in the last 30 minutes I’m suddenly told my parents were dead. Well, my real parents that is.

I was sat in the lounge with both my (adoptive) parents, who to me were still my real parents even though I knew otherwise. I looked at the photos that were now lying on a small coffee table in front of me. As I took another mouthful of tea, I suddenly noticed the cold temperature and placed the tea on a mat next to the photos.

I honestly didn’t know what to make of the news that suddenly the people I classed as my parents were in reality, were possibly strangers to my real parents. I suppose the main emotion was that of confusion. The visions I had earlier made me think of other things I vaguely remember happening when I was younger. Looking back on my life I knew somehow I was different to others. Not because I had Cystic Fibrosis, but there was something I recall happening in particular whilst I was sleeping, that, at the time I thought was a result of a strange dream. Now I was starting to question if all this links in with what I learned tonight.

Bringing my focus back to the present, I looked at my parents and said, “You told me there were difficulties. What difficulties were these?”

Mum looked at Dad, giving him a nod as though he would be able to explain the difficulties better. He explained that to survive the first 20 years of life on Earth, a Time Lord had to take tablet formed nourishments with meals. This was so that the Time Lord would get the diet required as though he or she was living on their home planet, Gallifrey. The implications a Time Lord experienced during these 20 years not only applied to their nutritional needs, but there were also procedures in place for their lungs, whereby specialist treatment was used to strengthen them to adapt to planetary atmospheres.

“This applied to all Time Lord children.” began my mother. What she said next was something I just could not believe. “Even you.”

“Blimey!” I thought, “I’m not sure how much more I can take of this.” In recent years I started experiencing a phenomenon where when I’m sleeping, I feel as though I’m floating above my bed. When I woke up, I felt as though I was falling from a small height and landed with a thud on my mattress. I never really gave this much thought and assumed I was still dreaming. However the dreams I had when these occurrences happened became reality a month or so after the dream took place. I just passed all this on as a coincidence. Though now, I started to wonder if I was somehow jumping through time and seeing events, not realising it and believing all that I witnessed were merely dreams that later became reality.

There was one dream I had years ago that until now I had completely forgotten about. A dream that I hoped would one day would become reality. Until now, I didn’t think that would happen. The dream was simple...to be cured from Cystic Fibrosis. As I sat there taking in all that was being said, Dad looked at me and said, “You don’t have a gene disorder. This was a cover story used to protect you. You are in fact a Time Lord. Cystic Fibrosis doesn’t really exist!”

For the last nineteen years I had grown up believing that some of my organs weren’t functioning properly. I had been living in the belief the people I lived with were my family. This news was something I did not expect to hear. The years I had suffered mentally as well as physically wondering every year if I was to see the next year and the next year and the next. Especially when I became seriously ill as I reached my twelfth birthday. During that time I did not believe I was going to reach an age where I would be old enough to drive a car, or get a job.

Primary school was the worst part. I absolutely hated it. Day after day I was constantly bullied because I was different and had to take time off whilst I went to the hospital to check if the treatment for controlling this horrible disorder I had was still working. As well as primary school, I also used to hate my sister because she did not have the disorder and as a result, she led a normal healthy life.

As I grew older I got close to her because despite the jealousy I had for her good health, she still loved me and was always there ready to protect me.

The feelings I was going through about being told I did not have the disorder were mixed. Although I was relieved and really happy that after all these years that dream I wished would come true HAD come true, I was also curious as to why for all those years people had pretended I had Cystic Fibrosis. What was more curious was if I was healthy, why was I taking treatments and being ill like I was?

Questions were forming in my head and started to roll off my tongue. “Why did I have operations such as the one I had at 3 days old to unblock my bowels?” I asked still unsure about what I was being told.

“Every five years,” Dad replied, “we had to increase the amount of nourishing tablets to be taken as you grew older to maintain your strength. However none of us knew by how much this was to be increased, so the Medical Science Team at U.N.I.T. experimented by gradually building up the dosages. Sometimes the increase would be too much and overfeeding you the tablets caused the blockage in the bowels.”

I placed my hand on my stomach where scaring was left as a memento of a major operation I had undergone at 3 days old to remove a blockage caused by a defective pancreas, which didn’t release enough enzymes to cope with the type of nutrition I was given. The outcome of this made me so ill that my life almost came to an end. Thanks to the mounds of help given to me by my family and consultants, I have lived to tell the tale of my experiences that are hard to believe when you look at how healthy I look now.

Still baffled about this, I asked, “How come the Doctor left you and Dad to look after me? Why did he not stay to be the foster father himself, instead of going off in this TARDIS thing?”

“Those images you have been seeing.” Replied Dad.

“Yes.” I said.

“They are aliens that are very dangerous and are greatest enemies of the Time Lords. These aliens also have a special vendetta against the Doctor.”

“Why?” I asked.

“If they were to learn the Doctor had fostered a child, they would probably come looking for you to take as hostage. The only way the Doctor would be able to save you then is by giving his life for yours. By keeping you on a planet where you resemble its occupants, this would make the task more difficult for his enemies to identify you.”

“So he kept away from me for my safety?” I asked.

“Yes,” Dad replied. “And U.N.I.T. came up with the common genetic disorder, Cystic Fibrosis, so those who knew about the Time Lords could distinguish between them and a human. It was the Medical Science Team of U.N.I.T. who started to help produce the treatment you have been receiving. So these ideas of you being ill were a worldwide government cover up for your safety.”

“What? But even I thought I had it.” I said.

Mum replied, “it was for your safety that even you and others like you believed you had this disorder too.”

Still not being able to take in what I was told, I asked for some further proof of all this. Perhaps photos of the Doctor and his TARDIS for instance. I saw my parent’s exchange glances and Dad looked at me and replied, “I’ll show you in the morning.”