Finding Comfort in Unlikely Places: TV Medical Dramas
I have a weird secret.
I’m sure it’s not the norm for someone with a chronic illness to enjoy this as much as I do, but it always occupies my free time: I love medical dramas.
They leave me enthralled with their technical and medical jargon, and their portrayal of the human body’s complexity.
It’s not real, I know.
The ways in which TV programs portray illnesses do not always reflect real life, which can lead to confusion. I haven’t found a storyline yet that portrays multiple sclerosis in a realistic manner. I understand this lack of realism, though, because MS involves so many symptoms.
I think production companies probably exaggerate some of the symptoms a particular character has so that the audience can clearly see there is a problem. It might also depend on how familiar an actor is with a particular illness, or whether they have the ability to portray the situation accurately.
In reality, I think MS is too complicated to portray on screen without generating confusion and probably complaints from the MS community.
The most realistic part of many of these storylines, in my opinion, is when a doctor walks into a cubicle, clipboard in hand, and looks over a pair of glasses with a furrowed brow. “You have [name of illness],” the doctor barks at the patient before walking out of the camera shot.
That’s pretty much what happened during my diagnosis eight years ago, except I had an added order to “go home and Google it.”
I don’t watch medical dramas just to see how MS is portrayed, I also pay attention to the other illnesses that are mentioned, and I research them later.
It amazes the people around me how much I love these shows. I love them because I’ve experienced illness and hospitals firsthand. I’ve faced some of the same realities and understand how the characters are feeling.
For a moment, the shows allow me to escape my reality and step into someone else’s. Strangely, and probably selfishly, they make me feel grateful I’m not in the character’s situation.
A medical career always intrigued me when I was growing up. I remember thinking I wanted to be a brain surgeon, because I’m obsessed with the brain and all it does.
But after watching these shows, I think I might have dodged a bullet in terms of my career path. I don’t think I could have coped with the stress and long hours it would have entailed, especially not with my MS fatigue and brain fog.
So, I’ll just continue to live out my fascination with all things medical through TV hospital dramas.
Do you watch hospital dramas on TV? Which are your favorites? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.