“Chicago Med”

By Sharon Birlson Kirkham

Every report card from the beginning of the year all the way through spring, until she promoted me into the 3rd grade (which I’m sure she was anxious to do), gentle Mrs. Hemming wrote at each grading

Sharon Birlson Kirkham

period the same note to my parents … “walks and talks.” My beloved sister, Diane, who teaches elementary school to this day, says I would undoubtedly be labeled ADHD if I were one of her students (not a joke). Back in 1955, Mother just chalked it up to “ants in my pants,” and today my husband Cary calls it “another wild hair.”

It’s been a busy early-morning couple of weeks for my little black pickup truck with the blue and white decal in the back window that reads “I Love Water Skiing.” It’s been parked in an intermodal lot in downtown Chicago for five of the past eight days with an 8 1/2×11-inch sheet of paper on the dashboard that has the words “Chicago Med” written on it in bold black Sharpie, a must have to qualify for entry to the free employee parking lot.

I’m still walking and talking, albeit very quietly on the set of the TV series “Chicago Med.” A monstrous complex called Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, a family-owned company, and a 70-acre film campus formerly occupied by the Ryerson Steel plant in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, is where I’m working. Inside one of the old, abandoned, restored warehouses, there is an authentic football-shaped emergency room movie set specially constructed for the very popular TV show.

The “ants in my pants” have pretty much subsided since the main thing we do as background actors, aka “extras,” is sit and wait… until the scene in which we have been cast is ready to shoot. There were triage burn victims, waiting room people, med techs, firefighters — the list goes on of the community of folks who were chosen for this episode. Most of us read and/or in my case, wrote a story, while we waited to be called to the set.

Most every day was 12-14 hours long. We arrived by 6 a.m. for sign in, wardrobe, breakfast and makeup. Yes, we were fed a delicious hot breakfast, lunch and dinner, and while I am bound and sworn to secrecy (a definite challenge), I can tell you the shows “Med” and “Fire” that I worked (also “PD”) will air the last week of September and the first week of October.

While I may or may not be on screen, I will be armed with my special ant spray, Cary will most likely pop some corn, and as the evening wears on I will still be facing the giants of not “walking and talking” for three straight hours while we watch as the older lady (a one-time reference to me made by the director) makes her TV debut. Hope you will join us!

SHARON BIRLSON KIRKHAM travels and writes. A retired flight attendant, she and her husband of nearly 40 years, Cary, were awarded travel privileges for life when she left her job in 2008. Their intention is to burn it up, and so far they’ve lived up to their promise. Sharon has written and self-published four books, the most recent an e-book, “Skygirl on Cloud 9.” Born, raised and graduated from high school in LaPorte, she and Cary are community activists. They love to travel, but always look forward to returning home to their beloved LaPorte.

6 Responses to ““Chicago Med””

  1. Bobbie

    Aug 13. 2018

    Fantastic. Can’t wait to watch.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Michelle

    Aug 13. 2018

    How fun! I’m right there with you tearing it up. Wish you lived closer. You’re a blast. Send me a note when this airs!

    I hope to see you soon!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Suzanne

    Aug 13. 2018

    Fun article

    Reply to this comment
  4. Monel

    Aug 14. 2018

    Enjoy the travel and the extra experience. It sounds like life is great! Looking for to new Chicago Med season.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Mark

    Aug 14. 2018

    Hi. I recognize your picture right away. It’s Mark the fireman from the set. Black and white hair. I liked the article. I miss the buffet. Hope to see you again.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Sharon Kirkham

    Aug 14. 2018

    Oh hi Mark…enjoyed our conversation on the set…especially the stories about your family. Told my son and husband all about your Dad and brothers. Yes, that buffet times three could land me in a heap of trouble. We did the “Fire” picnic at McCormick place today. Ttyl

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply