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In which Life only somewhat resembles Television

28 Feb

Last Wednesday, I came home from the hospital and watched an old episode of ER while attacking the pile of dishes that had accumulated. Flatmate and I are both on peripheral surgery rotations and seem only to be at home long enough to sleep and eat, and so the less important things have become less important. I was self-righteously smug when I was able to yell out the diagnosis (to the kitchen wall and the dirty spoons) for a high school athlete who presented with tenderness in the anatomical snuffbox. But my smugness was to be shortlived, for I learned that what I should really be doing on my surgery rotation is forging signatures on procurement paperwork, showing up at the clinical director’s house in the middle of the night, and being the first assistant on an LVAD implantation. I suppose all of those venflons and surgical clerk-ins have been a waste of time, then.

Incidentally, I have a non-medical friend who asked once why we watch medical dramas and this is the answer to that question: so that we can be insufferable when we get the diagnosis before the television doctors and so that we can mock the hell out of them.

And then with order restored to my kitchen, I sat down to watch Junior Doctors: Your Life In Their Hands. It’s a good concept for a documentary and one that hasn’t been done since the epilogue series of Doctors To Be back in the 80s, and the evidence from the first episode suggests that the BBC have done it well. I didn’t have the constant urge to say, “WTF, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my life!”, although I admit that I’m not quite sure how a person can get all the way through medical school and remain blissfully unaware of the fact that the day job part of F1 will be almost entirely paperwork and bloods. It’s a good show and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all develops over the next five weeks.

The show has the added element for me of being based the city that I grew up in, those hospitals are the hospitals that I visited my family in and was treated for ridiculous childhood concussions in and did all my work experience in. Only not, because the RVI was never that shiny and A&E was at Newcastle General.

It seems as if my family are all watching it too, and so are many of the families of other students. It’s as if this is acting as a not entirely comfortable window into our world. My parents were freaked out by the rectal, but they were more freaked out by the cartoon lightbulb that switched on in their brains and said, wait, she’s going to be a doctor, like a doctor doctor, oh my God when did that happen, but she was only eight years old the last time we checked. In truth, I understand that reaction. It was a lot like my own reaction.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in Blog, Medicine

 

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