Thursday, June 03, 2021

Believe Care Invest: House

Okay, I know you’re tired of these, and believe me when I say that I’m tired of them, but the book’s still not done, so I did one last batch, and I figured I might as well share them. I do have future plans for good content for this blog, of various kinds.

It’s network TV so we begin, of course, with a cute young white woman in trouble. A teacher starts speaking nonsense to her classroom, then has a seizure. A few months later she ends up under the “care” of a misanthropic doctor named Gregory House, who refuses to actually talk to her. He meets with his team and they decide to run some tests, but his boss tells him he’s not allowed to run any further tests, because he hasn’t been doing his clinic hours.

Why House might be hard to identify with: He’s even more of an asshole than most TV asshole heroes. About his patient: “The one who can’t talk? I like that part.” He finds out it’s his friend’s cousin, but still responds, “Brain tumor, she’s gonna die. Boring.”

  • Jargon: In response to a list of symptoms: “None of which is even close to dispositive.” Later: “Differential diagnosis, people, if it’s not a tumor what are the suspects?”
  • He has a unique POV, literally: The camera zoom up the patient’s nose.
  • He has mottoes: A team member asks, “Shouldn’t we be speaking to the patient before we start diagnosing?” “Is she a doctor?” “No, but--” “--Everybody lies.” “Dr. House doesn’t like dealing with patients.” “Isn’t treating patients why we became doctors?” “No, treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable.” “So you’re trying to eliminate the humanity from the practice of medicine?” “We don’t talk to them, they can’t lie to us. And we can’t lie to them. Humanity is overrated.”
  • Token items: cane, pill bottle.
  • He’s disabled and self-conscious about it: His first line, as he limps along with a cane: “They all assume that I’m a patient because of this cane.” “So put on a white coat like the rest of us.” “I don’t want them to think I’m a doctor!” “You can see where the administration might have a problem with that attitude.” “People don’t want a sick doctor.”
  • His boss keeps humiliating him: “I was expecting you in my office twenty minutes ago.” “That’s odd, because I had no intention of being in your office twenty minutes ago.” “Your billings are practically non-existent.” “Rough year.” “You ignore requests for consults.” “I call back. Sometimes I misdial.” “You’re six years behind on your obligations to this clinic.” “See, I was right: This doesn’t interest me. It’s five o’clock, I’m going home.” “To what?” He has no snappy answer to that last one.
  • Later, his ability to do tests is taken away, and she’s humiliating him more effectively. He yells at her: “You showed me disrespect. You embarrassed me, and as long as I work here--” “--Is yelling designed to scare me, because I’m not sure what it is I’m supposed to be scared of. More yelling? That’s not scary. That you’re going to hurt me? That’s scary, but I’m pretty sure I can outrun you.”
  • We will eventually find out he has a pain killer addiction.
  • We can see he’s very good at his job, albeit not the “bedside manner” part.
  • His friend says sarcastically, “No wonder you’re such a renowned diagnostician, you don’t need to actually know anything to figure out what’s wrong,” but we can tell he means it about the renowned part.
  • His boss tells him: “Your reputation is still worth something to this hospital.”
Strength / Flaw: Sees the truth / Misanthrope

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