16 June 2008

This Is Your Life?

One of my co-interns (whom I admittedly dislike) was once raving about Dr. Gregory House, how he was her idol and how she wanted to be as sarcastic with her patients as he was with his. I said nothing as my distaste for her deepened. Apparently you're never too old not to know the very wise difference between what is acceptable on television and in reality. I would have been easier on her if she only wanted to emulate his diagnostic brilliance, but it seems like she has found her idol in cruelty instead. (For your information, this is the kind of intern who turns her back on patients as they're speaking, pulls out intravenous catheters without managing the bleeding from the venipuncture site, and looks with disdain on her co-interns. A real gem.)

For one thing, many of the problems detected on House (eventually, in the last 10 minutes of the show when the patient is near death and House's colleagues have lost their minds) can be deduced with skillful history-taking. Everybody lies, though, Dr. House might say. That's what rapport is for, asswipe. I did enjoy a few of the earlier episodes, though-- Damned If You Do (Season 1, Episode 5-- the one with the nun) raises some serious, poignant issues, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't think it was heart-wrenching.

Another show, Grey's Anatomy, came about during my clerkship year, and was hot news around the water cooler. I thought it was silly. My friends recognized it was silly, but they still couldn't deny that they were really just watching their fantasy of a hospital made up of attractive people. I didn't appreciate the barely 2-dimensional stereotypes of the show (dork, whiner, ass with a heart of gold, go-getter Asian, Barbie doll, stern resident with a heart of gold, blah blah blah), not to mention the excessive whining, unrealistic amounts of inter-office sex, and people taking everything too personally. It's exhausting.

Also, everyone looks way too old to be interns.

Of all the hospital shows I've seen (and I don't watch a lot, as compared to my other TV fetishes-- I don't like mixing real-life with tv-life), ER appears to be the most realistic and relatable. Unfortunately I also found it... Not very engaging. As slow as real life, apparently. My favorite exchange was this:
Rich-looking ER patient with what appears to be a sprain: I have been waiting here for five hours!
Character played by Maura Tierney: Sorry, we tend to lose track of time when we're trying to save lives.
Rich-looking ER patient with what appears to be a sprain: WAS THAT SARCASM?!?

... Sound familiar? Ha ha ha. It's also rude, mind you, but it's a more realistic kind of rude, the things you almost say when you're near the end of your tour of duty and dealing with a truly annoying person. But weirder things have happened in our ER (hey, it is the Philippines, after all...). Maybe that's the problem with ER.

Among those weird/normal things (note: these did not all happen to me in particular):
Stand-off between entire surgery team and a difficult watcher (complete with racist name-calling!)
Being clawed at by a delirious patient
Almost-catfights between obstetrics residents and patients in labor
Needlestick accidents with a known Hepatitis-B patient
Wrestling with a brain trauma patient in the ER who's lost it
Woman+family in denial of pregnancy even as her baby's crowning

Hey, maybe it's our experiences that should be televised!
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