Wednesday, June 19, 2013

i hate doctor shows

I have never understood the attraction for doctor or hospital dramas. Or comedies. For me, being in a hospital is not a fun experience, whether you are there for yourself or for a loved one. You are not only exposed to germs, but the ongoing dramas and foibles of fellow patients and their families.

While being parked in the ER on Monday night with my mom as we waited for a bed in ICU to open up, we were treated to one after another triage episode. A man who had fallen down drunk outside his apartment building whose neighbors had called 911. A woman on dialysis who was screaming for pain medication, and the debate after she had moved on by two ER male nurses over whether she had needed the dilaudid and their hesitation in calling the on-call doctor to approve it. Another woman, apparently from a local psychiatric facility, was visting her third ER of the day (this part of Florida has quite a few hospitals) and we were treated to the derogatory banter about her between the EMS techs who dropped her off and the RNs receiving her.

The nurses were quite professional with each patient, but we got to hear more of their behind-the-scenes chatter than we wanted to. We were there during a shift-change, so we also got to hear maybe more than if it had been early in the morning.

Television shows like House or Grey's Anatomy or ER have always held absolutely no appeal for me.* I really don't want to experience vicariously either the patient's rare disease of the week or their family member's fears or end-of-life decision making. Soap operas seem too hospital-centric, too. Not for me. If I have to view blood and guts, keep it in the realm of fantasy, like Game of Thrones or Lost or Buffy or Angel. If I want to watch a doctor on a show, let it be Dr. Watson or Dr. McCoy. I get enough real-life health drama as it is these days. I want to escape.

*The only exception to this rule that I can think of is Quincy M.E., which I used to love watching with my dad. But that was probably due more to Jack Klugman (Oscar, Oscar, Oscar!) than whatever health-related puzzle he was trying to unravel or topical injustice he was battling.
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