October 23, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: Handy Guide to Medicine

For those of you who have never watched the popular medical show Grey's Anatomy, you are missing out on an incredible educational resource!

Crabby remembers when the show first came out, they made a big deal about employing expert advisers to make sure that everything they portrayed was realistic, or at least somewhat within the realm of possibility.

Good to know! Because Crabby sometimes watches the show in order increase her knowledge of all things medical so she can pass it on to you.

OK, so that's a lie. Really she watches Grey's Anatomy for the sometimes witty banter and to see who's sleeping with whom. (Sleazy aside: who even cares anymore about boring old George & Izzy, or Meredith and McDreamy? Crabby thinks it's time they scrambled the bedroom pairings a bit. Let's try Meredith with Christina; McDreamy & Callie; Miranda & Richard, and maybe Karev & McSteamy in a Gratuitous Shower Scene). (And for those who don't watch--no, that wasn't a typo. McDreamy and McSteamy are two entirely different doctors).

But as long as she's absorbing so much medical information during her weekly visits to Seattle Grace, Crabby thought she'd include some here, since Cranky Fitness is a serious blog about Health. So here we go, some Important Medical Info courtesy of Grey's Anatomy!

1. Hiccups can easily be fatal. Especially if contracted by a person who is nice but has hung around for a suspiciously long time considering she doesn't look like a conventional television star.

2. But falling into the frigid ocean and remaining submerged there without the ability to breathe for like, almost an entire hour, is not generally a very serious medical problem. There are of course some unpleasant side effects: you could contract nearly irreversible Relationship Tension with your brooding lover. But other than that, expect full recovery.

3. When a patient comes in needing treatment, it's important to pick the right doctor to help them. In a hospital filled with trained medical professionals, how do you choose? Simple! You pick the doctor who is the most emotionally involved with the patient. Doctors make the best decisions when they are treating their own children, parents, lovers, ex-wives, nieces, and romantic rivals. Fortunately, during any given shift, at least one out of every four doctors will experience a close friend or relative arriving at the hospital emergency room near death, so such emotionally intense doctor-patient relationships are easy to come by. If a doctor is stuck treating a stranger? No problem! An intense relationship, often romantic but sometimes hostile and volatile, will soon develop between them.

4. If you are an inexperienced intern, don't worry about boring "scut" work. There's only a little of that you'll have to do. Mostly you will be seeing--and treating--bizarre and rare conditions straight out of the most obscure medical journals. Think you'll never see a "one in a billion" case in your career? Think again! These will be daily occurrences.

5. Alzheimer's can completely disappear! Not just for a lucid moment or two, but for days and days at a time, allowing complicated emotional dramas to play out with a completely high-functioning, fully cognizant patient. Then, at the most ironic moment of course, the disease will reappear again.

6. Most major hospitals are staffed by only five or six doctors and an equal number of interns. Aren't they amazing? The nursing staff numbers are harder to tell--because apparently nurses don't generally have names or personalities. Nor does anything interesting ever happen to them, unless they are lucky enough to sleep with one of the doctors and cause Romantic Complications.

7. Hospital staffing rules are apparently quite strict: no one is permitted to work in a hospital who is much over 40 (unless they are a Cranky Administrator or an Inexperienced Guest Intern Played for Laughs); nor is anyone allowed to be gay. But quirky and often annoying gay people can come to the hospital as patients! This enables the heterosexual doctors to demonstrate how Cool and Tolerant they can be.

8. Hospital work is dangerous! Not only do bombs go off, plagues spread and patients become violent, but at least once a year, three out of every four doctors will face a career-altering or life-threatening medical condition themselves.

So Crabby could go on and on... but she'll spare you. She used to like this show. She found the more "female" point of view refreshing; the doctors were irreverent and frisky; and the show seemed to have some smart writers who had a deft hand with humorous dialog.

But this was before they decided that the realistic life and death drama of a big city hospital wasn't exciting enough. Apparently you need to have Spectacular, Incredibly Unlikely, Ironic, and Ridiculous things happen every few minutes in order to retain viewer interest.

Now, alas, Crabby can barely stand to watch it.

Does anyone else tune into this show or other medical shows? Any of 'em good? Any particular pet peeves about the ones you watch?


  1. One of my sisters was a doctor and she used to watch ER (when she had time) during her residency. And laugh her butt off. 'nuff said.

    My favorite doctor show is House, which is terribly unrealistic, but amusing.

  2. Hi Missicat!
    I keep hearing great things about House and will have to check it out. Though I do hear that the main guy is awfully prickly and kinda hard to root for--which could be part of the show's charm.

  3. The Bag Lady avoids network television - don't get her wrong, not for any noble reason, but the cowboy usually has the remote tucked under him while he's asleep on the sofa! That said, she has never watched Grey's Anatomy, but will watch House whenever she gets the chance. It is, as missicat says, terribly unrealistic, but amusing. And the Bag Lady LOVES the Law & Order shows - all of them.

  4. We started watching House last year and quite enjoy it.
    As far as good television, well, Crabby, get into your time capsule and go back to the 70s. You'll find me there watching All In The Family and Mary Tyler Moore.

    As for medical dramas, I enjoyed St. Elsewhere, and I'm old enough to remember Marcus Welby, MD, and Dr. Kildare.
    And the Britcom Doctor In The House was stellar as far as my memory of it goes.

    And thanks for the warning about hiccups.

  5. After working in a health care environment and labs all day the last thing I want to do is watch any hospital drama. But the real bane of my existance? CSI.
    You could not get a more scientifically screwed up show....well except CSI. I honestly get angry the few times I've tried to watch it. I've pretty much been turned off all hospitally/sciency/crime shows...I just don't care enough about the characters and the (lack of) medical knowledge and science just angers me...especially the overly gorey murders, and absolutely freikishly rare conditions and cases they have on there (and the inaccurate or impossibly fast lab analysis...oh I'm getting annoyed just thinking about it!).
    I may be revealing my geeky side, but I need either useful info or serious tension, dialog and characters at risk... lately all I've been watching is Holmes on Homes (for reno tips), Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood and Doctor Who. I've been tempted to watch Dexter or a few other shows, but I find a lot of shows don't seem to write good dialog or bother to go beyond the predictable. I Watched House a bit, as I'm a fan of Hugh Laurie and found the show to be OK...I just didn't care enough to keep watching. I just don't watch much TV anymore...if I'm not intrigued, I don't stay around.

  6. Scrubs, baby, Scrubs.

  7. I like House. Who cares about the realism there. I love him because he's such a jerk.

    My pet peeve with ALL medical shows is the CPR. They all do crappy CPR, with bent elbows and the body next to them instead of below them. (arms horizontal instead of vertical). You can't possibly push hard enough like that. I get that this person doesn't really need CPR and is an actor so they probably don't want to break his ribs, but there's gotta be a better way to fake it.

    And yeah, I still watch Grey's, though I pretend it's a soap opera, not a medical show. Then you can like it.

  8. The only good television shows in the last, oh, six years:

    -Arrested Development
    -The West Wing
    -House, because it doesn't pretend to be realistic
    -The Office
    -Venture Brothers
    -Firefly again

    And hey, no worries about the "No Gay Doctors" rule. According to J.K. Rowling, Hogwarts instructors can be--and some are--as gay as doornails! Being a wizard sounds much more awesome than being a doctor, anyway.

  9. House, hands down is the medical 'drama' to watch. The man is so irreverant and the show so unrealisitc that it makes for great television. They know you're not buying it, they just want to entertain. It works. House is such an ass. I heart him.

    As for Grey's... if McSteamy or Karev don't get some serious booty, screen time then I'm signing off. Enough of mopy Meredith, her stuttering half-sister and slutty Izzy. Over it. Oh, and when did kick-ass Callie become whimpering George's door mat? Ugh. Now you've gotten me started!

  10. OMG, I just killed myself laughing (silently, as I am at work!) at your post. Thanks for brightening my day, Crabby! Oh, but I still love the show. ;) It's my socially acceptable soap opera.

  11. I tried watching one episode of Grey's with my mom. Turns out some patient had a rare medical condition which caused her to put out some kind of nerve gas... and at that point I stopped watching. Seemed incredibly stupid.

    My wife likes House, but mostly because of the main character's snarky comments.

    As for me, I'll stick to Battlestar, Lost and Heroes. I don't like spending too much time in front of the TV anyway.


    Oh and Jim...

    I still can't watch Jane's Town without cracking up. Damn you Fox network! I could forgive you for Fox News, but not for cancelling Firefly!!

  12. God, 60-in-3, now I'm cracking up too. What a quotable episode that was.

    "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero!"

  13. I watch Grey's, as has been said, it is a social acceptable soap opera. I especially like it when we get to see the guys half naked!

    I like House because he's so cranky and says what he's thinking.

    I find the problem with network tv anymore, is they don't give good shows (like Firefly) a chance. If the show doesn't get the numbers in three - it's gone!

  14. I've never watched Grey's Anatomy, and now that I've read your post I probably never will. I have seen House a few times, and it's rather interesting, for exactly the reason you mentioned. But I really don't watch it, because I really don't watch TV all that much anymore. There are actually a few shows that I like and I forget to watch them!

  15. Why watch it when I've been living it!
    And a gentleman doctor never tells... :-)
    Dr. J

  16. This post was the funniest deal I've read this week. It easily could have applied to ER as well. To be honest I never knew much about this kind of stuff until I did my RN clinicals and when I did I found that oddly enough Scrubs was the most realistic to hospital life. Which seems weird but I think it's because it's not over the top with strange diseases and the docs are questioning what they do all the time.

    But after clinicals ER made me choke with the sheer inaccuracies and over the top drama. And I hardly ever even watch it. I haven't seen Grey's because that one doctor is gross (that Patrick fellow?) the lead. I can't stand looking at him. He's not as gross as Matt Damon but pretty close.

  17. Patrick Dempsey? Gross? Wow. I could stare at him for hours at a time :)

    I watch Grey's Anatomy every week (and Private Practice, and House, and ER, and CSI, and NCIS). It did used to be more believable (I mean, I don't think she was underwater for very long, but the fact that her heart wasn't beating for FOUR hours was a little less than believable - all my friends stopped watching at that point). But I'm still addicted to it, just like I'm addicted to the thirty other shows I watch. It's truly a nighttime soap opera. Not as good as it used to be, but I still want to know what's going to happen next.

  18. Oh lord, you guys have me totally cracking up. I'm glad I'm not the only one guilty of watching unrealistic soap opera-y crap.

    So sounds like House and Scrubs might be a bit better? And Firelfly, what is this firefly of which you all speak so highly? I know I'm out of it, but I never even heard of it. (I actually don't watch much tv anymore as it interferes with my internet addiction).

    I'm loving all these hysterical comments, thanks!

  19. Firefly is a glimpse at what sci-fi on television could be if networks were not run by fools. It was a gritty, extremely well-written, funny, scary, brutal, light, everything sci-fi genre mashup that could pretty much be described as "a western in space" (the money shot of the opening is a spaceship soaring over a corral of horses). I've seen all 14 episodes a dozen times and never gotten tired of them.

    All the info's over on wikipedia. I highly recommend picking up the DVDs; they're only 25 bucks.

  20. AFter one season of Meredith's whining, I'd had enough. I have 3 teens, I have enough whining at home. I don't need it watch it on television.

    I do thoroughly enjoy House. I always snicker when med people criticize House for its lack of realism. That's the whole show. It's not real in the slightest bit. But I do like it.

    St. Elsewhere was a great medical show.

  21. I really like House.

    Regarding Grey's, remember these other very important facts...

    You can operate on some kid's brain and talk to him at the same time to figure out what his problem is.

    Anyone can have quickie sex any where in the hospital and nobody will really miss them or care when they show up for the patient.

    ...and from this past week, when two bumbling "experts", one formerly chief of surgery get stuck and can't figure out how to complete the surgery they have learned how to do on the internet they call in the only capable Dr., a neurosurgeon, the only one available in the hospital, of course. AAANNNNNDDDDD it's a good thing he wasn't in the on call room playing hide the salami with Meredith because he also had to explain to someone how to jab a needle in some kid's eye in order to save his life!!

    God Bless Grey's Anatomy!!!

    Now regarding Dumbledore, WTF! I'm sorry, but you simply can not announce that one of your characters in a completed series is gay. Really. J.K. you only had 50,000 pages of text to reveal this tidbit and now that the whole thing is done and over you come out (sorry) with this relevant information!?!?! Honestly! You should be ashamed!

  22. Holly, too funny.

    I think one of the reasons for the high cost of hospital care is all those extra rooms they need to keep vacant for doctors to have sex in.

    Also, I thought the same thing about the whole Dumbledore thing. Very brave of Rowling to now announce one of the characters is gay. (It's like all those celebrities who finally come out once no one even remembers who they hell they are anymore).

    And jim, thanks for the Firefly explanation!

  23. I'm with ya. Used to be a great show, now it's barly tolerable!

  24. I used to watch Grey's....never started watching it this season...it was kinda jumping the shark in last season and the finale did not leave me wanting more....so I'm done with it!! I loved your list, though....too funny!!

  25. In order to watch House you have to learn two things:
    1. Everybody lies;
    2. It's NEVER LUPUS

  26. The closest I ever got to watching Grey's was when House announced himself to a patient as "Dr. McCaney." And now that I know what happens on G's A, I've saved myself valuable hours of TV watching. Thank you, Crabby!
    Not that I watch much TV anymore. I thought it would be fun to watch cable whilst on vacation... yawn. Ain't missing anything. (Well, except Monk.)

  27. The main thing I have learnt from watching Grey's Anatomy is never, NEVER go out with, sleep with or marry a doctor working in a hospital.

    Not only will they cheat on you with slender, studly colleagues. It also puts you at grave risk of catching an incurable disease / being shot / being blown up. To add insult to injury you then have to die slowly and bravely, while everyone cries around you.

    Far too dangerous for me.

  28. Oooh, can't stand Grey's Anatomy. But then again, I've been known to watch ER now and then, so what do I know? Actually all I really watch anymore is The Office and Biggest Loser. WIth the occasional "What Not To Wear". (Because if Stacey and Clinton KNEW me in real life we'd SO be BFF's...ok, not really, they'd laugh at my clothes, but they do crack me up).

    Although I really don't like Grey's (the only time I watched was the first 2 episodes, whick I think was when they were pretty popular) I still thought your list was hilarious.

  29. crabby, i started watching House last year and I like it better than Grey's. It's less soap operaish.

    Plus, Grey's comes on at the same time as The Office! But I did watch Grey's last year and was able to follow all the humor in your post. Good job : )

  30. But, but, but....

    Cally and the peds doc are having a gay affair. And she even kind of got her father's blessing.

    George died.

    There are so many unrealistic things happening in this show. I'm about ready to stop watching it.

    House is unrealistic, but at least it's something better. Not all about who's bonking whom.

    OMG. Firefly.. Post Buffy, Joss Whedon developed this brilliant sci-fi show with a killer cast and deep story. Fox kept it on the air for only 17 shows. They royally screwed Joss over.

    We are talking about having a FireFly viewing party during this winter- perhaps you would like to join me?


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