Saturday, September 01, 2007

A year and change - TV MDs and me

I do not have TV in Swaziland. Here in the Western Cape, there is cable. This being the case, I spent two hours the other night watching actors scurry around in white coats throwing around medical jargon and courting each other.

One hour-long show was the one where that angry, mean fella uses death-defying clinical intuition to make diagnoses so buried in red herrings and esotery that only the screenwriter has any clue what the actor-patient has.

The astute doctor-actor-jerk who stars is riveting as you never know who he is going to calculatedly heal or offend next. His name is Dr. Hose or something, and he is addicted to narcotics. The episode I watched ended with him getting arrested.

The other hour-long show was the one with all of those pretty, romantically intertwined folks that all seem to be simultaneously training to be pediatricians, internists, obstetricians, surgeons, and courtroom defendants. A hospital, with its mortality, humanity, and politics, makes for a superb soap opera backdrop.

I must confess that I found myself especially vulnerable to the tear-jerking, heart-string-pulling plots of these telenovelas, for they are quite reminiscent of my five years of academic clinical training, excluding the overacting and fickle romance.

The shiny hospital floors and big glass windows. The lily-white walls. The cornucopia of doctors and nurses so plentifully stocked that they have time to joust for ego points and lovers between seeing patients.

It all made me the slightest bit homesick. It is a sensation of vague yearning, the kind one gets when missing things that he or she doesn’t remember all that well.

As I write this, I have been in Africa for one year and change.


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