Fri 14 Jan 2011
Last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was called “Start Me Up.” And it sure got me started. Pardon me for a bit while I crawl up on my soapbox. Because, you see, I think that “Start Me Up” included the biggest gaffe ever made by Grey’s.
And yes, we’re talking about a show where I’ve not missed an episode since it debuted as a mid-season replacement in 2005. That’s more than a little bit sad, if you think about it, but loyalty is so embedded in my makeup that it may be as much vice as virtue. In all of these years, I’ve not seen the GA writers get it as wrong as they did last night – in one particular scene.
I’m talking about the scene where Teddy’s hubby-for-insurance-only, Henry, was under the knife. Thanks to the quickie marriage and the brand new insurance, Henry can now have surgery for a recurring condition he’s suffered from for years that causes repeated tumors. So newly-insured Henry, now Mr. Teddy, is on the OR table while the Chief and Bailey are operating. Right in the middle of the surgery, a medical student, who’s observing, makes a comment and it causes the docs to examine Henry’s interior a little closer. And what do they find?
There’s a big ole cyst on Henry’s pancreas. Not just any cyst, this one is a big cancerous cyst that is about to burst and kill Henry. So what do the good docs do? They call in Teddy, Henry’s wife, a cardiac surgeon herself, to find out how Teddy wants them to handle the monstrous cyst. Does she want it removed? CAKE OR DEATH?
Teddy and Henry, as noted above, are basically strangers. She did a good deed by marrying him to get him insured. Like the cliche says, no good deed goes unpunished and the Chief wants Teddy to crawl. When the Chief demands her decision, Teddy sort of haltingly says they should remove the cyst. Then it’s time for a half-shell buffet featuring Teddy, common sense, and the Grey’s writers good judgment and excellent reputations. Because the Chief tells Teddy – not so fast, girlfrog. You better think about this.
Chief tells Teddy that if the pancreas is removed or mostly removed, it’ll likely make Henry a Type I diabetic. Can Henry handle such a serious, such a volatile disease? Does he have a good family support system? Teddy doesn’t know. Then again, she doesn’t know much about her new hubby. That, of course, was the Chief’s point. Ultimately, she tells them to remove the cyst and Henry survives the surgery.
But let’s back up for a minute. Grey’s writers crafted a scene where they asked if it’s better to be a living Type I diabetic or a dead man with an intact pancreas. WTF??? The Chief, while grilling Teddy, notes that Type I diabetes is a difficult disease to manage, so she should carefully consider whether they should operate or not. Apparently, the Chief thinks that death is easier to manage than Type I diabetes.
Death never seemed like a manageable condition to me.
You see, I’m a Type I diabetic. Millions of living, breathing Americans are Type I diabetics. I’m betting that, like me, every one of them considers Type I preferable to death. Type I diabetes is a condition that can be managed. Outside of some rocking paranormal romance novels, death is pretty much a condition that ends all management.
What makes this even worse is that this scene comes from a show that tries to be oh-so-conscientious about how it portrays G/L/B/TG issues, women’s rights issues and even death penalty issues. Coming from this show this scene looks like a big, obvious, flat-out insult to millions of American diabetics.
Type I diabetes may not look like cake – unless the other choice is death.
There’s not much I’d carry a picket sign for, but if the American Diabetes Association wants to stage a protest over this one, I just might carry a sign.
Mine would read – No, I’m Not Better Off Dead.
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