Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reality TV

I should know better than to watch medical dramas. I surely should know to avoid medical dramas about sick babies. It wasn't a reality show. It wasn't even a character-driven drama. It was an old episode of House. It was more about the medical mystery than the hope-fear-loss-saving. But there were still trigger points for me.

A baby actually dies in this episode. Chase doesn't want to stop shocking the baby, but House calls it. Time of death . . . They don't actually say that, or maybe they just refrain when one of the parents is standing right there. I've watched too many medical shows and movies. When Henry died, I kept waiting for somebody to make it official: Time of death . . . but they never said it.

Cameron takes pity on parents staring through glass at their sick baby. "Imagine not being able to hold your own baby." There were two days at the beginning of Henry's life when I didn't get to hold him, and far too many when he was too unstable or too connected to machines to pick up. And then of course there are all the days since December 17, 2007.

And then there were the times I did get to hold him, hold him down, hold him still while they tried desperately to find a vein they could get blood from. I remember him, red faced, tears running down his face, and absolute silence because the tubes in his throat didn't allow him to scream. My poor little pincushion.

We have two seasons of House on DVD, and I will probably continue to watch them, but perhaps I'll skip the ones that mention sick kids in the episode description. It hits far too close to home.


  1. This happened to me when I watched an old episode of Grey's Anatomy when they had an episode on a stillbirth. I shouldn't have watched it, but at the same time I couldn't look away.
    Sorry for all the pain it brought to the surface.
    Thinking of you and Henry.

  2. It took me a long time to watch house again after Jordan was born and then died. I missed this episode... and I AM SO THANKFUL!

    None of us should know what it looks like to see our babies traumatised and suffering... and not be able to cry. It breaks us.


  3. I can't watch Grey's Anatomy at all anymore. Just seeing the rooms with the hospital beds and the white coats and the IV tubes is too much for me. I remember so well when we first took Hudson to the ER and she kept reaching for me from the bed but I couldn't pick her up because they were working on getting IVs in, etc. Little did I know I would never be able to pick up her up in a conscious state again. I'm so sorry that you have to be traumatized by these images, Sara, so sorry that you had to hold your sweet boy down to be poked, so sorry that he is not in your arms now. So sorry.

  4. so sorry you ran into this - and really, that you have any kind of personal experience with medical trauma at all... :( i am a huge hugh laurie fan from way back but i can't watch house at all, even though it is so good. i stick to jeeves and wooster. xo

  5. Ugh. I hope the rest of the DVD is more enjoyable than painful. I started avoiding medical dramas in the first year after Teddy's death, but I did catch this episode of House and remember sitting frozen, unable to change the channel, unable to turn off the tv.

    I now watch Parenthood, and, I kid you not, The Vampire Diaries, to get my drama fixes.

  6. An episode of House caught me out once. It involved in utero surgery and the baby was so tiny. A little too close to the bone that one.

    I'm so sorry that Henry had to endure all those painful procedures and that you had to watch it happen. I'm certain that he was comforted by your presence. Sometimes the lack of cries is even more painful to hear than crying. We used to see J with tears running down her face but, like your Henry, she couldn't cry as she had tubes in her throat. It is an awful thing to see.