Monday, January 30, 2006

Grey's Anatomy is Mean

I really have grown to like this show. In the beginning I just couldn't grasp how it could be that everyone could be so in love with Meredith. She wasn't very nice or that incredibly gorgeous and yet every doctor, intern and patient that came in contact with her was instantly madly in love with her. I just didn't see it. She's become more human and they've toned down the hero worship and adoration of Meredith Grey.

I loved that they were concentrating on the characters, more so than the medicine. I had to give up on ER. Has there ever been a more depressing show on television? Not only does no one leave that emergency room alive (doctors or patients), but the doctors' lives are all total train wrecks. Mostly, I had to give it up because of the machines.

I've diagnosed myself with PTSD. I know this is traditionally thought of as a soldier's problem. But, I think any really traumatic situation can cause it. We see a lot of people who get diagnosed with it when they have car accidents. I just don't like the machines. It's those hospital machines. Every week on ER they show those machines that the patients are attached to and the numbers all go down to zero and the lines stop being wavy and go all straight and that buzzer/ alarm sounds. I hate those machines. Almost two years ago I spent a week staring at those machines, reading my father's blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, trying to find some hopeful sign in the numbers and colors on the screen. I sat terrified, watching all the colors turn red and the numbers all drop down to zero, hearing that alarm watching medical personal fight a losing battle. I just can't watch that happen every week on television. It's too hard to see that.

Last night on Grey's Anatomy they had what most people probably consider to be a very rare problem. Christina and Alex examine a young woman with a rash on her leg. I saw it coming, but didn't want to believe it was possible. When they said the magic words, I lost it. The magic words were necrotizing fasciitis. When I first heard about it, it seemed totally unreal to me. It was the kind of thing you see on the cover of tabloids, not the kind of thing that happens to real people. Then it hit way too close to home. April 6 will be the two year anniversary of my father's death, from necrotizing fasciitis, flesh-eating strep bacteria, that the doctors couldn't be sure how it got into his body, but once it did, it was merciless and efficient, attacking every organ and his legs.

The only positive thing was that the Grey's Anatomy people actually gave a far better prognosis than what I've found to be the norm. The National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation has a place for people to document the stories of their loved ones, in memorials or in survivor's tales. Although the memorials are so terribly sad, it seems that the people who survive are so compromised that they have little quality of life. Sure, my father was a 61 year old diabetic and the girl on the show was a young healthy newlywed, but there are plenty of young healthy people who are cut down by this bacteria. I originally wrote a memorial about my dad and posted it on the NNFF website, but it was written by a shell-shocked daughter who just lost her father to an unbelievable and bizarre infection. I've been promising myself that I will devote the time and attention necessary to tell my father's story in a way that he deserves it to be told, but it's hard to intentionally make yourself relive it all. I'll post the memorial here as well when I get it written.

1 comment:

Barry said...

Its funny - towards the end of the last season, I fanlly gave up on ER and looked at Grey's Anatomy as providing a replacement. Until then, ER had struck me as compulsory viewing. I think it was when Carter went, there was simply no-one there at the centre of the show, in the way that Mark Green had been. Quite banal a reason for giving up on a show compared with yours - sorry to hear about your dad. I lost mine around three years ago, no machines involved, so it didn't have any impact on my TV watching.