Friday, January 21, 2011

Why I Hate Medical Dramas

Ok, I don't actually hate them. That's a bit of an exaggeration. I've been known to watch a few... Grey's Anatomy, House, the seasons of ER that didn't suck. But when I recently watched the premier of Off the Map (out of curiosity, just to see if it had potential), there was a moment in the show that made me realize just how many times I had seen the exact same thing. And how annoying it is.

You've seen it too. There is a moment - maybe not in every episode of every show, but still ridiculously often - when the patient is pouring her heart out to the doctor. At first the doctor is in a hurry, and not in the mood to deal with the patient's annoying problem. But then he remembers the lesson that he's trying to learn this week, so he stops, focuses, and decides that this time he's actually going to listen. The patient emotionally describes her background story in incredible detail. The doctor listens, his heart slowly being softened. (You can tell this by the glassy-eyed look, the slight tilt of the head, and the poignant music playing in the background.) When the patient finishes her teary soliloquy, the doctor takes her hand, gives it a gentle pat, and with the most sincere and determined face that he can manage tells her that he is going to do everything he can to make it all better.

Now, I can't say with any authority that this never happens in real life. I haven't been to every doctor in the world. But I think it's fair to say that I have been to more than my share. I have a touching back story. I can do a teary soliloquy. But I've never had a doctor take my hand and tell me that he's going to do everything he can to make it all better. Not even close. It's been rare that a doctor has ever even pretended to care a little bit, let alone deeply and sincerely. (I'm not bitter, any more. It just is what it is.) Pretty much, in my experience, the doctors deal with you only as much as they have to, and then they're gone.

On a not completely unrelated note... I finally heard back from my surgeon's assistant. (Bet you didn't see where this post was going, did you?) She told me that the surgeon had looked at the CT scan, and that everything looked fine (nothing out of place, etc., etc.) She said that she could still schedule me an appointment if I want... but... you know... everything looked fine, so....

As touching is her obvious desire to help me was, I decided not to bother. (Why drive to an office an hour away and pay $40 just to hear "everything looks fine..." again?) Fortunately for me, that weird extra pain that I was having has pretty much worked itself out anyway. I'll probably never know what was causing it, but now at least I know that there is no obvious underlying problem that needs to be fixed. So that's something.

I haven't made my mind up yet about Off the Map. I might give it one more chance. But I'm pretty sure that I've seen my surgeon for the last time.


  1. We watch Grey's Anatomy, House and Private Practice, but had no desire to watch Off the Map because it just seemed like "Grey's Anatomy in the Jungle."

    I think of the three medical dramas, House is my favorite. I love his sarcasm and overall snarkiness.

  2. Yeah, House is more realistic because at least he doesn't even bother pretending. And you know how I feel about sarcasm, so yeah, of course I'm going to love him. :)

    I watched Private Practice for a while, mostly because I like several of the actors in it, but I just got too busy to keep up with it. Off the Map pretty much is "Grey's Anatomy in the Jungle" (or, as my husband put it, "Lost with Doctors.") The scenery was very pretty, and there were some amusing moments, but with my busy schedule I don't think it's going to make the cut.