What I’ve Learned at Seattle Grace

Curmudgeons on Parade: A Column by Hallie Dolin

Netflix may boast of its supposedly fantastic selection, but for my money, it’s not worth the eight bucks a month. They don’t even have the last three seasons of Metalocalypse, for Pete’s sake. I’ll admit that it has introduced me to a lot of interesting stuff, but given that most of the movies I like are tagged with “Unavailable,” I’ve had to make some pretty boring choices when I surf the site.

So one day, despairing over what to do now that I’d finished watching Scrubs, I clicked on the next recommendation in my queue – which happened to be Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, I’d already read all the mockery, but I figured that if it turned out to actually be crap, I could make fun of it with impunity.

I wasn’t wrong.

Okay, I’ve never watched soap operas, but this show comes pretty damn close to being classified as one, which is probably why I stayed spellbound through eight seasons of it. (The ninth, much to my hypnotized regret, is not yet on Netflix.) The show is at least ostensibly based on Real Medicine™, though, so I’ve gotten a few valuable pieces of information out of the show about what makes someone a good doctor.

– If you have any blood on your scrubs, it means your patient is dead. Real surgery is clean, neat, and full of just enough blood to be sucked away with a device!

– On a similar note, arteries don’t spurt. Ever. If they spurt, you did the surgery wrong and need to check with the guys from the morgue.

– 50% divorce rate? Try 99%! Only the sparkling protagonists deserve to have an angsty, wrenching, ratings-grabbing marriage that lasts more than half a season.

– Everyone talks during surgery, and if you don’t have a personal conversation about your Problems At Home while removing an appendix at least once an episode, you are officially uncool.

– Hot people = doctors. Ugly people = nurses. Really hot people with messy hair = that patient you get super-attached to just in time to see him keel over on the linoleum.

– Immediately rip your shirt off if you sustain a gunshot wound, even if the bullet is in your foot. That just makes you look more in need of sympathy!

– Intestines are funny. There’s just something inherently amusing about seeing a translucent tube full of digested food poking through your stomach.

– Who needs a liver, anyway? You can take a break to metabolize your food when you’re dead!

– Giving someone a heart massage after you’ve cracked their chest open is just as romantic as a back massage, and you save on the cost of scented oil, too.

What really peeves me off, even more than pieces of advice guaranteed to lead to terrible medicine, is that no one in the whole entire hospital – except for those serving as the villains for an episode – ever wears a lab coat. Nope, it’s scrubs or nothing, which makes me really regret the $1000 I spent in medical bills after wrestling the last size medium lab coat off another student at the Case bookstore. I guess that means it’s far more professional to go around looking like you walked out of the house in your pajamas. That really rocks for me, though, because Pajama Day is the best school holiday ever.

The good news is that the show has made me completely reconsider what I need to do for my medical-school interviews this summer. I was planning to wear a suit, but I think some dirty scrubs, smudged eyeliner, and mascara that someone has passionately kissed away will make a far better impression if I want to show I’ll be committed to my job. I’ll bring a list of incredibly rare diseases with which to diagnose the interviewers, and if they want to know why I want to be a doctor, well… I think the free drama that comes with the malpractice insurance is as good a reason as any.

Hallie Dolin is spending her summer in an entomology lab, re-defining the world’s use of the word “superbug.” She wants to change the world for the better, but isn’t yet sure how.

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