WHEN I LEARNED several months ago that I needed surgery and would be spending at least three weeks at home recuperating, I had big plans. I would read all those books I had never been able to read before, like Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse.” Described by a leading literary critic as “one of the greatest elegies in the English language, a book which transcends time,” and a favorite of my dear friend Greg Jarold, I was determined to conquer it although I had tried and failed before, many times in fact. I would meditate for half an hour each morning, paint a great masterpiece and possibly learn a new language.
Now halfway into Week 4, I have not gotten past the second sentence in “To the Lighthouse,” a sentence so inscrutable as to make my reading the entire novel out of the question. Meditation has eluded me as I keep getting distracted by images of the artificial hip installed inside me. As for painting, I am unable to sit for more than 15 minutes at a time without turning to stone, so that has also not happened. Instead I have spent the last three weeks, roughly between 2 and 5 in the afternoon, lying on a couch with an ice pack on my hip watching “Grey’s Anatomy” on Lifetime TV, with time off for short walks, appropriate nourishment and bathroom breaks.
I had never seen the show in its heyday, beginning in March of 2005, mostly because a), I don’t watch weekly TV dramas and b), I hate blood and gore. So it was surprising that I chose to go this route, but now that I have I’m an expert on the subject and can tell you exactly what happens in each and every episode, since each and every episode is exactly the same:
Someone young and vibrant who comes in with a minor complaint is diagnosed with a terminal disease. An old person dies. A lunatic threatens the entire hospital.
An ambulance arrives with an accident victim impaled by a sharp object sticking out of his/her head/heart/stomach.
At least two hot interns have sex with at least three equally hot residents, all in the hospital during work hours and often in supply closets or empty patient rooms.
An amazing amount of ooey-gooey, squishy body parts have incredible close-ups: Hearts, lungs, brains and intestines spurt blood everywhere.
There’s a crisis during each operation where machines start beeping and the patient almost dies, but after the application of pressure to the chest cavity, they survive. High-speed drills and scalpels are used with abandon by the sexy doctors hidden behind blue face masks, all while they exchange casual banter and jokes.
Every so often the Seattle Bomb Squad is summoned.
The hospital’s chief yells at everyone at least once, telling them to shape up.
Dr. Meredith Grey, of the show’s title, figures prominently in all story lines. She usually has at least one dream sequence.
Because the show is set in Seattle where it rains a lot, many scenes occur with one or more of the leading characters standing outside, dejected and dripping wet.
Accompanying all surgeries and sexual encounters is a musical score comprised of the edgiest tunes of the day, chosen to underscore and pinpoint the intended feelings of the script just in case you didn’t get it or couldn’t follow Dr. Grey’s final voice-over narration pulling all the loose ends together.
It’s lucky I never saw one episode of this show before my surgery or I never would have set foot in a hospital.
— Andrea Rouda
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.